short visit to milan -> part three: expo 2015

the third post is dedicated to the largest event milan hosted this year (or maybe ever): expo 2015.
even though i was quite tired from wandering the streets of milan and visiting the fondazione prada, i decided to go for the evening visit. i am still planing on going again to expo (i have purchased tickets well in advance), but i didn’t want to miss a chance to see how is it.

i was sad to discover that major number of pavilions were closed (or very crowded) by the time i got there, so i managed to see only a couple of them. however, i decided to prepare my top 5 list – for now, at least. i may write a longer entry after i spend a full day at expo.

5. brazil – “feeding the world with solutions”

brazilians use network, as a metaphor for flexibility, fluidity and decentralization in order to demonstrate the relationship and integration of different topics which need to be combined in order to provide food for world’s ever growing population.
in their exhibition space, brazil offers visitors a view of all the possibilities being explored and implemented to increase and diversify food production, satisfying food demands around the world and using advanced technologies in a way that is truly sustainable… while having fun!

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4. malaysia – “towards a sustainable food ecosystem”

malaysia pavilion takes the shape of four seeds. the curves of the design and the weaving patterns on the structure reflect the versatility and dynamism of the nation. the design drew inspiration from the humble rainforest seed. the seed, a symbol of growth, signifies a beginning of a journey, and the potential within.
okay, maybe i am being a little bit biased here.. having spent very important part of my life in malaysia, i tend to be very nostalgic.

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3. uae – “food for thought – shaping and sharing the future”

uae explore challenges that arise in feeding the planet, particularly in the interwoven topics of land, food, energy and water.
uae pavilion is created by a series of tall rippled walls. these impressive 12-meter structures evoke both the narrow self-shaded streets of the uae’s historic settlements and the magnificent open sand dunes of its deserts. too bad the pavilion was already closed when i arrived, but i am definitely getting in the next time!

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2. austria – “breathe.austria”

with the moto “breathe.austria” austrians underline that air is an essential component to the health of food and humans and it is an indicator of ecological balance. the pavilion creates a small scale austrian forest that provides 62.5 kilograms of fresh oxygen every hour, without filters or conditioners, which is enough for 1,800 people in an ideal climate, providing wellness and absorbing CO2.

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i thought this pavilion to be very different from the others (and i’m not saying that only because i live in austria now). it was so refreshing.. in every possible sense.

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1. united kingdom – “grown in britain and northern ireland”

under the theme “grown in britain and northern ireland” wishes to raise global awareness of and provide innovative solutions to one of the most pressing challenges of our time – how to feed and sustain an expected rise in the world’s population to nine billion by 2050.

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the uk pavilion chose to follow the journey of the honey bee to highlight the role of pollination in the global food chain and ecosystem. it also describes how the exchange of ideas, skills and knowledge is an essential part of human activity and future.

this pavilion blew my mind. it is true work of a genius.

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so, that’s my top 5. what did you think of pavilions at expo2015? and, more importantly, which ones would you recommend for the second tour?

short visit to milan -> part two: fondazione prada

even though i was planning on publishing this post several days after my first post on the short visit to milan, my computer had other plans.. it had simply decided to stop working :( it took us some time to find the new one.. however, i am back.. finally!

the second post is about fondazione prada, which opened in the humble neighborhood of largo isarco, only two streets away from my former apartment. of course, i couldn’t miss the chance to visit the newest contemporary art museum in milan, as well as my ex-hood :)

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the museum itself is a former distillery, dating back to the 1910s. the transformation lead to an architectural configuration that combines pre-existing buildings with three new structures. the result is a campus of post-industrial and new spaces with the inner courtyard, open to the city.

the following buildings make part of a museum and they each host different exhibitions: haunted house, podium, cisterna (tank), deposito (warehouse), nord (north) and sud (south), with other facilities such as biblioteca (library), bar and cinema.

i started my tour in the haunted house, the golden building which immediately captured my attention. this building also belonged to the old distillery; however, its structure was reinforced, while its external surface was glided. the interior is as interesting as the exterior, its large windows create a strong relationship with the surrounding, yet the sequence and size of single rooms preserve the intimacy of the inner space. haunted house hosts permanent exhibition of robert gober and louise bourgeois.

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my next stop was the cinema, where i watched a never shown documentary “roman polanski: my inspirations”, featuring a film review of movies that have inspired his work: citizen kane (1941), great expectations (1946), odd man out (1947), hamlet (1948), the bicycle thieves (1948) and 8 1/2 (1963).

then i went to what would become my favorite part of the museum – podium. it hosted a very interesting exhibition: serial classic – multiplying art in greece and rome, which aimed to represent and revive lost originals with an empty pedestals, on which are placed summaries of the ancient sources describing them. i have taken picture of several replicas along with their descriptions: praxiteles’s sartyr, myron’s discobolus and scopas’s pothoi.

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what i loved the most about this exhibition is how they managed to combine the art of classical period with the contemporary art and how they made me think they truly belong together.

the following three exhibitions would not capture my attention as the first three, but they are still worth mentioning: in part (which took place in the northern part of the museum: nord), an introduction (in the southern part: sud) and deposito.

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and finally, there’s bar luce, the lovely café, designed by wes anderson (director of “grand budapest hotel”). the café itself reminds of galleria vittorio emanuele, one of milan’s landmarks, especially with its vaulted ceiling and the motifs on the upper section of the wall.

when i went to the café, i was truly sad it was not open at least a couple of months earlier, so i could get my morning coffee and breakfast here.

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and then, i took a walk around the museum. great museums can be found all around the world, but an architectural piece like fondazione prada are only a few.

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short visit to milan -> part one: mercato metropolitano

last week i managed to organize a short trip to milan, the city where i lived for the past seven years. i had some administrative stuff to settle, but also i wanted to see what’s new in town.

although i moved only two months ago, a lot of things happened in that short period and there were yet again a lot of things to explore. aside from expo2015, brand new museum, fondazione prada, was opened in my ex-neighborhood, so i decided to pay a visit to it. but my very first stop was mercato metropolitano, a lovely marketplace in porta genova area.

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therefore, i dedicate the first post (out of planned three) to mercato metropolitano – “a place where you may buy and taste good food under the stars”. it is located in the former train depot of porta genova. an area of 15.000 sq.m. in the famous neighborhoods of tortona and navigli district was rearranged and made into this amazing marketplace. the farmers’ market itself is a part of project “expoincitta” (expo in the city), dedicated to promotion of the city of milan during the world fair.

even though the existance of mercato metropolitano is intended only during the expo, i.e. from may 1st to october 31st, there’s a hope that this area (which is so atypical for milan!), would remain open even after the expo ends.

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as soon as i arrived to mercato metropolitano, i got instantly reminded of queen victoria market in melbourne, about which i have already written on my blog. since qvm (short for queen victoria market) was one of my favorite places in melbourne, i had no doubt i would love mercato metropolitano. i loved the idea of a place with a laid back atmosphere, full of people who are chatting over a coffee or a brunch,  live music & plenty of street food stalls. oh, and herbs and vegetables planted all around the market complete this wonderful journey.

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an then i thought.. what a great way to reclaim an abandoned area into a market with clean stalls selling everything from appetizers to desserts, through breads, cheeses, salads and meats.

numerous food stalls offer variety of fresh and organic food, starting from locally grown fruits & vegetables. then, there’s a bakery offering freshly baked bread, focaccia and piadina. if you happen to be up to the real meal, don’t worry – there’s plenty of choice of pasta, fish and meat. of course, coffee and ice cream are inevitable (and my favorite!) part of any meal.

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so, if you happen to go to milan (until 31st october), do not miss this place. the address is via valenza 2, and it is easily accessible by foot from navigli & darsena. it is open daily until midnight (workdays) / 2am (weekends).

fuorisalone 2015 – my farewell with milan

just like my first outing in vienna was in truly viennese style (summer night concert), my farewell with milan was also in style: salone del mobile / or milan design week, where i used to go almost every year. i wrote about it also on my blog (in 2013 and in 2014). usually i would visit the exhibitions within the city, such as zona tortona, ventura lambrate or brera design distinct. in the recent years the “fuorisalone” (meaning: the exhibitions outside of the exhibition fair) became even more popular, so that the entire city was actually a part of it.

on saturday we decided to go to the zona tortona, one of the first “fuorisalone” districts in milan. on the way there we passed through the navigli district, which was as cute & lively as always.

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in the zona tortona itself, there were plenty interesting designs.. i was more curious than usual, since i was looking for an inspiration for our apartment..

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of course, it is always useful to know what countries are the largest.. especially, if you want to visit them by bike – for example, the fancy one in the following picture :)

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trees & green in general were well combined with the exhibition..

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they managed to revitalize even some of the old buildings in the area.. with mirrors! of course, we played with them a bit..

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tomorrow we decided to go next door, to cascina cuccagna – one of my very favorite places in milan. initially we planned on going to ventura lambrate, but we had a lot of packing to do, since i was leaving the day after.

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this venue had the best thing of them all – the lovely terrace, where everyone could just lie around (& sunbathe even!). the lazy bags were of special kind, of course.. biodegradable and what not.

then we made friends with two little girls! they both told me what their favorite colors are, who their best friends are, etc. we had so much fun with them!

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only couple of weeks ago, the following photo was published on cascina cuccagna’s facebook page. i liked it a lot, and when i zoomed it to see it in detail, i saw familiar faces! it’s us! and our little friends!

do you see us? we’re practically in the middle of the photo.

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it is such a beautiful photo! it captures the essence of that lovely day!

(rainy) venice and its lagoon, no. 394 / moment of happiness #2

venice and its lagoon have been on the unesco heritage site list since 1987. criteria behind its nomination are many, the most important one being the fact that it is a unique artistic achievement. the city is laid out onto 118 small islands and seems to float on the water’s surface. furthermore, the entire city is an extraordinary architectural masterpiece in which even the smallest building contains works by some of the world’s greatest artists such as titian, tintoretto, veronese and many others. the city itself also symbolizes the struggle of its people against the elements of nature.

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i have visited venice several times and on different occasions, the last time was last saturday with my husband. having bought our tickets well in advance, we had no other choice than to “enjoy” venice under the heavy rain. we sure did our best – during the massive showers we went for lunch, for a coffee, and so on. however, our feet were still wet all day.

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i have to admit, i was not a huge fan of venice at first. in my view, it was too crowded and too touristy, especially if you went to piazza san marco and ponte rialto. this time though, we decided to take some of the back routes, carefully avoiding people (the rain helped with that, as well!) and finally managed to see venice the way it was supposed to be seen: unique, artistic, but also decadent.

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the above picture shows a view of the santa maria della salute from the ponte dell’accademia. after enjoying the view, we crossed the bridge and went to the island of santa maria della salute to get a closer view.

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we spent the remaining part of the afternoon on that island, walking around and enjoying the views of the islands of san giorgio maggiore and la giudecca, as well as the company of very few people who decided to follow the same route. we also took a few pictures of some of the details we had found in this part of town.

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we truly enjoyed ourselves.
even though it was raining almost all day long, and we missed the train on the way back (so we had to spend another hour at the train station), it was really one of those days we will remember for a long time. the following photo shows the most sincere smiles we are able to give.

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cascina cuccagna – an oasis in milan

cascina cuccagna (cuccagna farmhouse) is one of those places where you can simply forget that you are actually in a gray, noisy and always busy milan. a true oasis – where you may enjoy all the things you are missing while in a city like milan – green, peace and tranquility.

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i’ve been to cascina cuccagna for the first time during the milan design week (salone del mobile) in april this year, when i visited an exhibition of furniture following the sustainable production concept (such as indastriadesign, about which i wrote before on my blog).

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ever since then, i kept on coming back to cascina cuccagna. was it for their lovely garden, where the children are more than welcome to play and run freely, or for the garden with veggies which are actually used in their restaurant? maybe it is simply the atmosphere – you may come here and sit in the garden, without even ordering the food. you may bring your book, or – even better – a friend, and enjoy this lovely ambient.

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if you decide to eat – there is a restaurant “un posto a milano”, with wide choice of organic meals, which are being changed constantly, depending on the current supplies. the water is on the house, it comes from the aqueduct of milan. the ambient is cool and simple. just the way i like it.

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if you haven’t noticed by now – i strongly recommend this place to all of you coming to milan and looking for a nice and cosy place with relaxed atmosphere and good food. for more details, visit their website: http://www.cuccagna.org/

cortili aperti a milano

once a year gardens and courtyards in milan are open for public. that special day happened to be last sunday – 25.5. since i had nothing planned anyway, i thought i could give them a look.

even though i live in milan for six years, i’ve never managed to catch that one day. i still remember reading about these courtyards, couple of years ago when i read a book “mrs dalloway”. one of the characters, lucrezia smith, was milanese.. and she used to say how much she longed for “gardens of milan”. and i made a promise to myself that i will see them one day.

most of the courtyards were in via borgonuovo and in via fiori oscuri (street of dark flowers). and that’s where i visited these two lovely gardens.

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the courtyards were beautiful, but i have to say i’ve expected more. maybe because i was reading about them and planning to see them for a long while. a lot of gardens were only partially open, keeping some part closed for public. however, it was nice to see milan inside-out & to witness the presence of both light & dark flowers in this (so-called) industrial town.

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la grande bellezza / the great beauty

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“finisce sempre così. con la morte. prima, però, c’è stata la vita, nascosta sotto il bla, bla, bla, bla, bla.
è tutto sedimentato sotto il chiacchiericcio e il rumore. il silenzio e il sentimento. l’emozione e la paura. gli sparuti incostanti sprazzi di bellezza. e poi lo squallore disgraziato e l’uomo miserabile. tutto sepolto dalla coperta dell’imbarazzo dello stare al mondo. bla, bla, bla, bla.
altrove, c’è l’altrove. io non mi occupo dell’altrove.
dunque, che questo romanzo abbia inizio. in fondo, è solo un trucco. sì, è solo un trucco.”

e con queste parole finisce il film “la grande bellezza”, quali in un certo senso riasumono il messaggio del film.

la prima cosa che colpisce è la mancanza di una trama definita. la manzanza che alla fine lascia lo spazio per la caratterizzazione dei singoli personaggi. ci porta a concentrarsi sui contenuti, più o meno nascosta, che emerge dalla raccolta di relazioni e situazioni umane, dal rumore e silenzio.

a me, personalmente, è piaciuto molto. per le emozioni che aveva trasmesso, per la particolarità della narrazione, ma soprattutto, per sua onestà. mi ha ricordato quanto è importante concentrarsi sulla bellezza che ci circonda e che si trova dentro di noi.

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“this is how it always ends. with death. but first there was life. hidden beneath the blah, blah, blah, blah.
it is all settled beneath the chitter chatter and the noise. silence and sentiment. emotion and fear. the haggard, inconstant flashes of beauty. and then the wretched squalor and miserble humanity. all burried under the cover of the embarrasment of being in the world. Blah, blah, blah.
beyond there is what lies beyond. i don’t deal with what lies beyond.
therefore, let this novel begin. after all, it’s just a trick. yes, it’s just a trick.”

the movie “the great beauty” ends with these words, which in some way summarize the film’s message.

what is striking about this movie is the lack of a defined plot, which in some way leaves the space to highlight the individual characters. it also focuses on content, more or less hidden, emerging from the collection of human relationships and situations, from the noise to the silence.

i liked it a lot.. no, i loved it! i loved it for many reasons, for the emotions which struck me right from the beginning, for its particular way of narration, but most of all, for its honesty. it reminded me on the importance of beauty; and that we should search for the beauty surrounding us as well as for the beauty inside of us.

mount etna, no.1427 (NOT visited)

mount etna, the highest mediterranean island mountain and the most active stratovolcano in the world, entered unesco heritage sites’ list just last year. it is site on the eastern coast of sicily, which i visited in july 2011.

at the time i did not want to visit mount etna, even though the other party (i.e. my hubby) was highly interested to pay a visit to this extraordinary site. do i have to say how much i regret for not going?

however, we did manage to see it – from the airplane, from the city of taormina, and even to feel its dust on us, in catania. we took a lot of pictures (whew!), and now i think it’s time to share them, in order to celebrate mount etna’s entering on unesco heritage sites’ list.

our first stop was catania, the city so close to the mount etna that made volcano omnipresent in the city, its dust is all over this quite grey city, whose buildings are mainly lava-built. also, the main street is called via etnea and on piazza del duomo (or the main square) there was a statue of an elephant carrying an egyptian obelisk. according to the legend, the elephant is city’s protection from volcano eruptions.

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the second place where we’ve got the opportunity to enjoy the view of mount etna was the lovely city of taormina, famed for its splendid scenery, beautiful beaches and historic sites. the most important historic site in taormina is teatro greco (or greek theatre), built in the 3rd century AD, by the island’s first occupiers, the greeks. the view from the greek theatre was particularly beautiful.

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the last photo was taken as the airplane was taking off. we know taking photos is forbidden during the take-off, but we simply couldn’t resist.

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i guess we should consider going again to this region & visiting mount etna, right?

ps. all the photos were taken by tarik (of course!)

about the shoes..

just like with design and architecture, i am kind of person who is into fashion.
not that i’m trendy (and likely to buy whatever is “in” at the certain moment), but i don’t mind spending even higher amount of money for something i really find beautiful and interesting.

this kind of thinking got me into buying these shoes!

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avec modération is an italian fashion brand, founded in firenze in the year 2000, with an aim to create colorful and unique shoes which will last for a long period of time.. and which will be still (and always) be in style.. their main product are slippers and sandals.

the last, capsule collection, explodes with color! there are slippers in red, yellow, green, pink.. and even in different patterns – zebra & tiger one. their pony fur slippers totally won me over, especially when i found them in purple (one of my favorite colors!)

and this is me, wearing my avec modération shoes:

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ps. all the information may be found at: http://www.avec-moderation.com/