iSaloni, photo gallery

The story is here.

The photo galley, instead, follows.

Milan Design Week (aka iSaloni) for Dummies

One year ago, it was a cold mid April 2013, I was at the Milan Design Week (also known as “iSaloni”). A few weeks later, I closed my blog. This won’t happen again – but it’s true, one full year is gone and I am still here glorifying this Show (no, it’s more than a Show) as one of the best things that this town is able to produce.

I am not a designer. And I am definitely out of all fashion and design waves flowing around Milan. But I love iSaloni. And I love to take photos, all around. I am a living testimonial of the uniqueness of this exhibition.

Design Week is not just a Show. It’s more. Much more. The real show is in town, not around the fairground. It’s what we call Fuorisalone (@Fuorisalone), which literally means “out of the Show”. In fact, the whole town becomes a fair ground, for five full days. Design firms open temporary showrooms where food and clothes were sold until few days before. The vibrant Milan of the 80s is back. For five days. If you love design or fashion – or simply if you love the beauty – you cannot miss this event.

This year I have visited one of the three main design districts: Brera. One day is too short to visit all others (Tortona+Sarpi; Lambrate+Ventura). I cannot even think to visit the Show or the Museum of Design (@LaTriennale). But that’s enough for this year.

A photo gallery will follow. No words needed. You have to be here. Some live coverage via Twitter. Next year it will be even better, hosted by the Expo (@ExpoMilano2015). You definitely have to be in town next time.

Oh, by the way. Social feeds:

Milan, Eataly

Today (in 57 minutes) Eataly will open its 25th store – one of the largest around the globe. After Manhattan, Rome, Tokyo, Chicago it’s time for Milan’s Eataly Smeraldo (from the name of the theatre whose location is now the new Eataly store). The opening day is a clear choice: March 18th was the beginning of the five days of Milan, a major event in the Revolutionary Year of 1848 (and the barricades, and Radetzky, etc.). So the opening wants to be a sign of Resurgence (Risorgimento). For Italy, Milan and its delicious food (see also the Expo2015‘s theme, next year).

Oh, and by the way, some figures – the four biggest Eataly stores are

  • Rome, 15,800 sqm
  • Chicago, 5,800 sqm
  • Milan Smeraldo, 5,000 sqm
  • Manhattan, 4600 sqm

From the Economist:

Eataly provides its customers with gorgeous surroundings—less combative than at Harrods in London, less oppressively wholesome than at Whole Foods Markets, an American chain—in which they might imagine Gianmaria and Francesca weeding the tomato plants or treading the grapes. Mr Farinetti is selling them a seductive image of Italy itself.

Well done. I will go, soon. You?

(What I see) Getting around Milan

Walking in Milan and getting around doesn’t give me the perception of a city re-born after a 7-years long economic depression. I still see shops closing in areas where it was unthinkable to shut down until a few years ago (BAires). Shops in the centre are half-empty during once busy weekends. Food stores relentlessly lower prices, and it’s not uncommon to see food-related billboards and adverts in town promoting best prices ever. I no longer have to reserve a table at restaurants in most of the once busiest districts – Tortona, Garibaldi, Ticinese. The Milanese movida seems to be definitely over.

Media write about the end of the Italian economic recession. The benefits of the coming EXPO are on the mouth of all (optimistic?) friends I’m talking to. Eataly and few other bold entrepreneurs still invest here; and the openings gain pages and pages on local press. Which I voraciously read, hoping to find real signs of change.

Nevertheless, this is not what my eyes see when I spend some time in town. Milan’s life is not even comparable with towns I am used to visit. London. Dubai. New York the last. It never was. But the gap seems unbridgeable today. It’s like the once economic capital of Bel Paese is slowly descending into Dante’s inferno.

And while I am writing these notes, I just hope to be wrong and to be the only one in town not recognising the so bright signs of a new rise. Because I love this city. I love it so much.

Eataly Smeraldo

Eataly Milan Smeraldo (@EatalySmeraldo) is ready to open its doors next week. Not the first, but the largest store in Italy. Manhattan style, if not better.

Smeraldo was an historical theatre, in town. The venue brings memories and it’s plenty of history for the Milanees. Following its history, the super-store’s themes will be music and food. Eataly opens in the most buzzy district in town, Garibaldi/Porta Nuova.

Latest updates: from Eataly site, from Corriere newspaper site, Scattidigusto press opening, Nicola Farinetti’s tweets (@NicolaFarinetti – the owner), Where Milan (english).

Places in New York

Just a short post to remember a couple of sites visited last week.

Eataly (@Eataly) is a great place to visit. It’s a piece of Italy (large piece: 50,000 sqm) in Manhattan, in the hearth of the Flatiron district. I found here most of the products I see on the shelves of food stores in Milan. With some interesting additions (“Lidia’s marinara” sauce and a series of pseudo-Italian brands not well recognized). I am expecting the new store in Milan (@EatalySmeraldo) replicating the same model.

Sarge’s (@SargesDeli) is a deli. A special deli. House of the best cheesecake in town (which is a challenging statement, considering how good is cheesecake everywhere in NYC). Lonely Planet NYC’s guide comments that “…you should leave space for the pornographically good strawberry cheesecake…“. Once in Sarge’s you can replicate Man vs. Food’s experiences, trying to beat the Monster (the largest sandwich in town).

Photo 09-03-2014 17 12 48

The Blue Note in NYC (@BlueNoteNYC) is the father of all Blue Notes jazz clubs around the world, including the one in Milan (@BlueNoteMilano). Great place for food and live Jazz. Well, mostly for live Jazz. Small venue, less than one third of the club in Milan, you need to reserve in advance and show up at least 30 mins in advance – otherwise you will lose your reservation (as we did).