Domus guides at Salone del mobile and Fuorisalone 2019

In search of Milan’s sincerity

Among bocce courts, trattorie and public recreational clubs, an Instagram profile is looking for the sincere soul of Milan.

The Instagram account @postisinceri, opened less than a year ago, is trying to map a part of Milan that is hiding in plain sight, one consisting of "bocce courts, trattorie and public recreational clubs," as stated in the description. It is the overall picture of a city where innovation competes against persistence, where top-down revisionist trends and bottom-up protectionist policies share the same social and urban fabric. We stopped by for a real-life chat with the two creators of the Postisinceri initiative, who prefer to remain anonymous.

What is your background?
We are both in our thirties and live in Milan. We come from two totally different lines of work, but what we do for a living has no relevance for the Instagram account we manage together. We habitually frequent bars, restaurants and night clubs, just like our contemporaries, but last year we decided to experiment with an alternative.    

Why @postisinceri?
Postisinceri originated to share places in Milan that we partially already knew and partially are discovering now. They are alternatives to what would seem to be the predominant rule of Milan's aggregation points: appearances above substance. This is what made us define our spots "sincere" in the deepest meaning of the word: genuine, pure, honest, upfront. In a word, we indicate places that actually "are" instead of "trying to be".    

Which are the parameters you follow for your selection? Is there a prerequisite for being published?
Inexpensive or reasonably priced. Long-standing management. No invasive remodelling. A certain type of patrons. Finally, our incontestable personal taste. But mostly, it's an immediate feeling. There's no studying. Above all, we are looking for people-oriented places, where the barmaid smiles and you can tell she has a positive attitude toward serving you; where the cook takes a liking to you and tells you his life story; where the old man invites you to play cards because they're missing a fourth player; where the bocce fanatic wants to teach you how to play.    

Does sincere design exist?
Yes, but it is not sufficient to make a bar or restaurant a sincere place. Just having retro design, matchboarding on the walls, a briar-root bar-counter, a tariff board with changeable plastic characters and cold fluorescent lighting is not enough. The aesthetics of the sincere place also regard the people who go there and work there. In Milan, we have become accustomed to a certain type of design povero that is artificially inserted into a sophisticated interior. In a sincere place, you would never find intentionally peeled-off plaster. In a sincere place, the 1970s plastic laminate tables have been there since the 1970s.    

When exactly does being conservative become an ethic necessity?
When the cost of progress is equal to the loss of identity and credibility. Therefore, to maintain one's integrity there is no other choice than to refuse standardisation, refuse to sell yourself out in response to a superficial market demand. That said, we do not want people to consider these places to be museum pieces. Quite the opposite. Really sincere places are ones that are still lively, where you can integrate with the people who have been going there forever.    

Milan has always seen itself as a promoter of change, but sometimes the novelty is dangerously shallow and the social policies seem stale. In what way could your Instagram profile contribute to invert this trend?
We want to propose an alternative that is unknown to most of our peers. However, the operation is not without risks. On the one hand, we wish to demonstrate and communicate the affection and pleasure we feel when we frequent these places, and we wish to prevent them closing down. On the other hand, we risk damaging their atmosphere by denaturing it. There is a continuous and difficult compromise between saving them and preserving them.    

How do you imagine your account evolving over time? An archive, a vade-mecum, a network?
Since the start, we attempted to set up the profile as something different to what is generally around when it comes to restaurants and nightlife. We do not want to review the sincere places, or tell you how much they cost and what you can eat. The sincere places are not catalogued or indexed. Just mentioned. This will remain the only intention of the project. We'd like people to try out the places we recommend to gain awareness of the fact that Milan is not solely made up of consumer events, Furniture Fair hype, fashion weeks, and chains opening and closing, but that it has its own identity, which is endangered.

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