A project worth remembering, a month after the end of Milan Design Week

A multidisciplinary space and a pastry shop – located in one of the most multicultural areas of Milan – hosted a project combining art, design, architecture, and photography. 

In the same way Milan Design Week – especially during the Fuorisalone – thrives on previews and anticipations, the system that survives the design world’s longest week also thrives on postponements and post-scripts, reports of special things that have left a special memory.

Some events become noteworthy by word of mouth, by exclusivity of the value of what they want to communicate and cherish, without the need for ouster. Therefore, you must go looking for them in seemingly hidden places.

One of the trends seen at this Fuorisalone was the opening of private interiors to visitors. On the one hand, the opening of the usual large central aristocratic palaces – now totally uninhabited or where the history of the residence itself disappears behind large luxurious fittings. On the other, that of small, more or less special apartments, where a designer is presented in close relationship with living.

The simplest way to do so – as art often teaches – is through the artist’s residency. The artist is invited not only to reflect on a theme or discipline but is called upon to inhabit that space, to work out in the field, live, some solutions that he or she then exhibits to the public.

This is the solution by Musterzimmer (demonstration room, pilot room, where to exhibit models and prototypes) in which three authors, with all their peculiarities, met and shared their ideas on architecture, design, photography, and art, since the chosen place is called Studio di Pittura, a new multidisciplinary space in one of the most multicultural areas of Milan.

Studio di Pittura is a project conceived by Gianmaria Sforza. It is a space for sharing and experimenting, opening to possible collaborations, synergies, and opportunities. This special location is a small private studio on the penthouse floor of an early 20th century apartment building, whose octagonal shape and domed section makes it a privileged corner, silent and well-lit, among the rooftops of the city.

Austrian designer Klemens Schillinger was invited to inaugurate this new cultural, design and artistic activity – which has the good taste of enlightened patronage – in collaboration with photographer Louis De Belle.

Schillinger temporarily appropriated the space, inhabited it, and modified it by inserting objects made for the occasion that he displayed to visitors daily. This emerging designer is already producing interesting projects but for the first time appeared on the Milan scene. In fact, he made all special objects for the Design Week – always the result of a design reflection, where an idea, an innovation, an original solution is never missing, recalling the most interesting tradition of the inventor designer.

However, in a ‘single-enviromental’ space – as Gio Ponti would call it – you see furniture and furnishing accessories that create an entrance hall, a reading area, a central living area, one side designated for a bed, and another that houses shelving for storing useful or special things, as well as a small terrace equipped for open-air living.

Ordered and distributed like the elements of a symphony orchestra in a small theater that is also a stage, we find some truly surprising objects, sometimes glaringly obvious as solutions of a technical and aesthetic need.

In the Studio di Pittura we see the unpublished, large-format photographic works by Louis De Belle as an integral part of the installation. They were chosen from the shots of a careful, curious, and sophisticated exploration of the neighborhood north of Piazza Loreto (so-called NoLo). Among the shots there is the large photo Governo Provvisorio, which depicts an iconic detail of a housing building in the square of the same name dedicated to the institution that governed Milan during the Five Days, leading to its liberation from the Austrians.

On the other hand, in the famous pastry shop, Pasticceria G. Cova – a few steps away from the entrance of the building and a synergistic environment to make meetings more convivial and give each other daily appointments – there was another part of the set-up. Here Schillinger put on display other objects he designed including the XD Chair, ironically accompanied by a photo of a one-piece plastic chair with a Vienna straw insert, found immortalized on the sidewalks of the neighborhood and used by street artisans to advertise their knowledge as straw makers and chair restorers.

Compared to the numbers attending the Fuori Salone del Mobile, perhaps the number of visitors who were able to enjoy this exhibition and design experience is limited but certainly not the result.

The Musterzimmer shows not only intelligent objects but also that design is above all a project discipline that proposes solutions that are first and foremost new, original, authorial, and therefore memorable.

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