A new tide of con­fi­dent cre­atives has emerged in Mi­lan, and its fig­ure­heads are draw­ing unique in­spi­ra­tion from the city — but on their own terms.


A new tide of con­fi­dent cre­atives has emerged in Mi­lan, and its fig­ure­heads are draw­ing in­spi­ra­tion from the city

ABru­tal­ist con­crete jun­gle. An in­dus­trial anath­ema to la dolce vita. A city of­ten sniffed at by tourists and even by some Ital­ians. Wel­come to Mi­lan, or at least the Mi­lan you thought you knew. Or per­haps you never re­ally knew it at all. Ear­lier this year, Ger­man ed­i­tor Karl Kol­b­itz re­leased an ex­tra­or­di­nary paean to this of­ten ma­ligned and mis­un­der­stood city. En­ti­tled In­gressi di Milano (En­try­ways of Mi­lan), the art book showed ex­actly that: 144 ex­tra­or­di­nary res­i­den­tial por­tals cel­e­brat­ing some of the best of 20th- cen­tury Ital­ian de­sign — ev­ery­day spa­ces of coloured mar­ble, glass, brass and speck­led ter­razzo. Th­ese func­tional parts of the Mi­lanese land­scape were once over­looked, but with the global re­think of Mod­ernism and Bru­tal­ism, they’re now ad­mired. So, too, is a new gen­er­a­tion of cre­ative vi­sion­ar­ies in­fus­ing Mi­lan with fresh en­ergy, chal­leng­ing the old guard with their in­no­va­tive ideas and ex­u­ber­ant con­fi­dence. Here, we speak to three ma­jor tal­ents who are help­ing to rein­vig­o­rate and rein­vent the city. keep­ing the higher ech­e­lons of in­flu­ence to them­selves. “When I first moved here, I couldn’t find a yoga class — let alone an av­o­cado,” she says. “Oh, how things have changed.” She plays it de­lib­er­ately light­hearted, but her bright de­meanour and even brighter out­fits be­lie the fact that she’s a real player in the re­vival of the city’s for­tunes. A se­ri­ous stu­dent of Mi­lan’s de­sign and fash­ion her­itage, Martin has taken the pat­terns of the past and turned them into a thriv­ing busi­ness (me­dia, cloth­ing, home­wares and events) that is grounded firmly in brand Milano. “There was a mo­ment in the 1980s — think Moschino, early Ar­mani and the Mem­phis crew — I think we’re hav­ing an­other wave like that,” she says. “What is won­der­ful about Mi­lan right now is that it is still rel­a­tively small. There’s a tightknit com­mu­nity of cre­atives, artists, ar­chi­tects and de­sign­ers who are all friends, and once we all worked to­gether and col­lab­o­rated, we re­alised we could change the city quickly.”

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