MILAN CITY GUIDE
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.”