Design – How is a Milanese design neighbourhood born? Archipanic explores Alpha District, the new design destination inaugurating on September 5 in the west of the city among architectures by Cino Zucchi, Piero Bottoni, Fabio Novembre and more.
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The core of Alpha District is Portello, a neighbourhood best known as a former car-manufacturing area, as it used to house the facilities of Alfa Romeo, Darracq, Citroën, and Fiat. Its epicenter is Piazza Gino Valle [MM5 Portello, Map], the largest square of Milan designed Studio Valle. In Portello, over the decades, architects and landscape designers have been experimenting with unexpected urban paths, but the area is still quite unexplored, even by Milanese people.
The design district also includes several adjacent neighborhoods such as QT8, a late 40s experimental urban project designed by Piero Bottoni, Monte Stella, an artificial hill created using the debris from the buildings that were destroyed during World War II, and until the beginning of Citylife, a shopping and residential area and a park towered by skyscrapers by Arata Isozaki, Zaha Hadid and Daniel Libeskind.
“While other design destinations such as Brera, 5vie or Tortona are managed by communication and marketing agencies, Alfa District is curated and designed by architects,” says Salvatore Ponzo, co-founder of FORO Studio – the architecture firm that conceived and developed the district.
With deep know-how in creating events and installations during Milan Design Week, FORO Studio worked with almost all the major studios and professionals involved in the area’s urban development, starting from visionary developer Ennio Brion. “The concept was born in 2015. Motivated by the deputy mayor of Milan, we created a solid network of professionals to propel urban regeneration harnessing Milan Design Week power,” adds Ponzo.
What to expect this September? “Many of the contents of the inaugural edition are still to be unveiled. What we can anticipate is that most of the most of the events and installations will be entirely free and outdoor.” Piazza Gino Valle will host Cattedrali, an open-air installation and exhibition curated and designed by FORO Studio.
Other highlights include exhibitions and events at Garage Italia [Map] and Casa Milan – the HQs of AC Milan [Map]. Not-to-be-missed also architecture walks around QT8 [Map]. Given the car manufacturing heritage of the area and the presence of many car showrooms, the automotive design will take the central stage as well.
“So far, Fuorisalone took over Milan, expanding from the city centre to the East, keeping the western side of the city unexplored.” Adds Salvatore Ponzo. “We invite Milanese people, international visitors and contemporary architecture lovers at large to discover an unexpected design district full of surprises. See you in Milan this September.”