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!

the book of my lives / my new life

several months ago i read a book which stuck with me until now, and one i think i would be remembering (& referencing) for a long time.. i waited for the right moment to write about this book on my blog, as part of my little book club. it is aleksandar hemon’s memoir “the book of my lives”. critics praised hemon’s writing style, often comparing him to vladimir nabokov, both for their style and the fact that they both started writing in a foreign language rather late in their lives.

since i am no book critic, i will not focus on such particularities; i liked hemon’s work for other reasons. in this post i will focus on three of them and, finally, reflect further on the last one.

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i liked what he wrote about sarajevo, bosnia & the way people used to be before the war started. he describes sarajevo as “the world capital of gossip”, says that people of sarajevo “hated pretentiousness; it was a form of self-hatred” and later confirms what we all know.. that “there’s no word for “privacy” in bosnian”.

aleksandar hemon managed to describe the outbreak of the war as well, even to us – bosnians. as i wrote several times already, i was only seven years old when the war started and i didn’t manage to comprehend the cause of the war and what would be its outcome. years after the war had ended i understood that nobody could tell as much. as hemon wrote “i have spent time trying to comprehend how everything i had known and loved came violently apart..”. as a person who found himself abroad at the beginning of the war, he was maybe in a better position to see where we were going and where the war would lead us:  “if my mind and my city were the same thing then i was losing my mind.” finally, he wrote: “it was all over. the world had arrived and now we were all waiting to see who would live, who would kill, and who would die”. the outbreak of the war in bosnia was a defining moment in hemon’s life. just like many bosnians, he had to start a new episode: “on may 1, I didn’t fly home. on may 2, the roads out of the city were blocked; the last train (with my parents on it) departed; the longest siege in modern history began. in chicago, i submitted my application for political asylum. the rest is the rest of my life.”

my favorite part of the book was hemon’s return to sarajevo for the first time after the war had ended. or even better, his return to chicago afterwards. he wrote something which defines my feelings towards home: “when i came back from my first visit to sarajevo, in the spring of 1997, the chicago i came back to belonged to me. returning from home, i returned home.”

on 20th april i began my new life.

after seven years living in milan, i moved to vienna. meaning: a new city, a new language and a new life.

i had moved a few times already, for the first time when i was fifteen – i left the town i grew up in and moved to sarajevo. four years later, after i had finished high-school, i went to malaysia where i stayed for another four years. even though moving to malaysia might seem like more of a change, i would say that leaving home when i was fifteen was a defining moment in my life. it meant the change of lifestyle. it meant that i would no longer live with my parents, that i would have more freedom, but it also meant that i would be on my own. after graduation, i moved again. this time closer to home, to italy. unlike with the previous episodes, i didn’t have any idea how long the new episode would last, since it did not involve school or uni. as it turned out, it was the longest one – i had been living in italy for seven years before i decided it was time for me to move on.

so, here i am. at the beginning of a new life. i have to say that all my lives taught me what i had to learn, and all of them were very interesting, exciting and sometimes exhausting. each of my lives brought me a new hometown, a new language and many interesting people to meet.

however, my new life will be slightly different from my previous ones. i will have support – my husband, the reason i am here.

royal exhibition building and carlton gardens, no.1131 [australia #5]

the royal exhibition building and the surrounding carlton gardens were designed and built for the 1880 and 1888 international exhibitions. in 2004 they were inscribed to unesco heritage sites’ list, as the representative of the largest events staged in colonial australia, which helped to introduce the world to australian industry and technology. the royal exhibition building is one of the very few remaining buildings from XIX century world exhibitions.

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the royal exhibition building is constructed of brick and timber, steel and slate and it combines elements from the byzantine, romanesque, lombardic and italian renaissance styles. like the majority of exhibition buildings from that period, its aim was to present material and moral progress through displays of industry from all nations.

the building itself is in the northern part of melbourne, away form the CBD and crowded city spaces. it is also close to brunswick street and fitzroy – former student quarters, now up & coming neighborhoods. while we were in the area, we took a walk and checked out numerous cafés & bars, artisans’ workshops and alternative fashion shops. in this neighborhood you can see melbourne in its true colors.

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while i was admiring the building itself, i couldn’t help thinking how the focus of the world’s interest changed with respect to the XIX century and especially in the last decades. the focus of the world’s exhibitions at that time was mainly achievements related to the industrialization, along with art, science and education.

this year, almost 150 years after the melbourne international exhibition, universal exposition (expo 2015) will be hosted by milan, the city i have been living in for seven years. expo 2015 will be held under the theme “feeding the planet, energy for life”. even though i will not be living in milan during the expo, i plan on visiting it. aside from wanting to see what’s new out there, i would like to explore the link between technology, innovation, culture, traditions and creativity with food and diet. i can say for sure that i would be wondering how these events used to look like in the past, when the focus was totally different. and of course, i will be asking myself what what will be the focus of future world exhibitions.

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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casa valerio

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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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fiori chiari & fiori oscuri

back to the roots – indastriadesign

april is the month of design – at least for those who live in milan, when the city hosts its famous design and furniture fair, salone del mobile.

as written in one of my previous posts, i did not attend many events. but i did manage to visit cascina cuccagna, where an opportunity was given to young designers, especially to those designing and producing environment-friendly and sustainable furniture.

furthermore, i was invited the booth of my friends’s friend, claudio, who proposes sustainable design and recommends to use the furniture used in the past as an inspiration for new designs. may i present to you – indastriadesign & their fantastic pieces!

aprile è il mese del design – almeno per chi vive a milano, quando la città ospita la sua famosa fiera di design, salone del mobile.

come scritto in uno dei miei post precedenti, non ho partecipato molti eventi, ma sono riuscita a visitare cascina cuccagna , dove l’opportunità è stata data ai giovani designer, specialmente a coloro che progettano e producono dei mobili ecologici e sostenibili.

inoltre, sono stata invitata allo stand di un amico della mia amica, claudio, che segue la progettazione sostenibile e propone di utilizzare i mobili usati in passato come fonte di ispirazione per nuovi progetti. vi presento – indastria design & i loro pezzi fantastici!

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abi is a coffee table, with a double scope – three lids, which open the inner container, may be rotated and used as serving trays. there is also a possibility to have the patterns customized!
btw, this piece is my personal favorite!

abi è un tavolino dalla duplice funzione: i tre coperchi infatti, che aprono al contenitore interno, possono essere girati e servire da vassoi con la possibilità di personalizzarli graficamente!
btw, il tavolino è il mio pezzo preferito!

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pregadio hanger – hanger made ​​of birch plywood, is inspired in the form of an ancient ladder used by peasants from the veneto. its name “pregadio” or “pray-to-God” comes from the simple fact that you had to rely on your luck before you climb!
the hanger is designed to be assembled and disassembled easily. the components are interlocked, without the use of screws or glue.

pregadio appendino – appendino in multistrato di betulla tutto ad incastro, è ispirato nella forma a un’antica scala usata dai contadini veneti. il particolare appellativo di “pregadio” deriva dal semplice fatto che bisognava affidarsi alla buona fortuna prima di salirvi!
l’appendino è concepito per essere montato e smontato facilmente. i componenti si assemblano ad incastro, senza l’uso di viti o colla.

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mod is a cube with the pattern which may be customized and assembled differently in order to create different kinds of pieces of furniture.

mod è un cubo personalizzabile con stampa digitale che può essere assemblato creando di volta in volta mobili diversi.

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as previously written, when creating furniture there are plenty patterns to choose from. the figure above shows several examples!

come scritto precedentemente, ci sono tante scelte dei motivi grafici. la figura sopra fa vedere alcuni esempi!

ps. in this post i have shown only several pieces, the ones i liked the most. for more info visit the indastriadesign website – http://www.indastriadesign.it

ps. in questo post ho mostrato solo alcuni pezzi, quelli che hanno attirato la mia attenzione. per ulteriori informazioni, visita il sito web di indastriadesign – http://www.indastriadesign.it

a day in ventura lambrate

salone del mobile 2014, or milan design week, has just ended. truth to be told, i’ve remembered it is that time of the year only last week.. even though it caught me a bit off guard, i did not miss the chance to see what’s new out there.

this year i’ve decided to go to ventura projects in lambrate, former industrial area in milan.
since i’ve been in that area last year as well, i’ve noticed a lot of designs were sort of recycled.
however, what i really liked about this part of salone del mobile is how they used old workshops and factories as an exhibition place.

i will dedicate this post to spaces in ventura lambrate. designs were lovely, but spaces managed to impress me even more (which is not easy!).

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i think you would agree with me that these spaces were totally worth a visit to ventura lambrate.