Each place has a story to tell and that of the Cascina dei Mulini Asciutti designed by Giacomo Tazzini, architect and engineer, pupil of the Canonica, from 1832 to 1836, still has much to reveal inside the Park of the Royal Villa of Monza. Especially to the new generations, who perhaps know less about the past but are also the most empathetic to welcome the demands of the future.
Since 2010 this place has been the seat of the Environmental Education and Sustainability Center (CEAS) managed by the non-profit organization CREDA which carries out courses and training activities for schools, companies and citizens. Beekeeping and baking courses, but also cultural events and initiatives such as exhibitions, meetings, land art installations, concerts and theatrical performances.
You can get there on foot or by bicycle to the monumental complex surrounded by the canal and formed by four symmetrical buildings gravitating over the Cascina with the historical function of Mulino. Its millstones produced quintals and quintals of flour every day until the postwar period thanks to the force of the water of the Lambro river which operated the six blades still visible and moving today. Then, the small oven for baking bread, the bridge positioned in a corner of the courtyard and the two barns, partly used as a granary and a shelter for tools, enrich with images the discovery of the ancient flavors of the settlement that looks to the future. The architect Luigi Ferrario took care of the restoration of the south barn, the oldest one but also remained as Tazzini had imagined it: a valuable building with perimeter walls in stone and exposed brick cut out from a sequence of arches, with a roof with two sloping roofs, the beautiful floors with a wooden frame and the external covering in Piedmontese tiles.
They are about 300 square meters redesigned now, thanks to the substantial co-financing of the Cariplo Foundation, to host on the ground floor the reception of the center of the non-profit organization, a small shop for self-producing organic products, a meeting room / laboratory on the subject of research on green energies and experimental organic crops and on the first floor a large room that will host an innovative Tinkering and Biomimicry laboratory to encourage the development of sustainable technologies inspired by nature, as well as the possibility of hosting temporary exhibitions, science cafes and other cultural events.
“We have reconstructed the historical evolution of the building from the original drawings and in consultation with the Superintendency, after having consolidated and insulated it, we have completely reopened the central space, where the wagons carrying the hay used to enter” explains Luigi Ferrario. “Everything has thus acquired a greater breath underlined by a height that reaches more than eight meters at the top. The insertion of a new streamlined and essential staircase in bent sheet metal - my passion - with the treads of the wooden steps then resolved the connection between the two levels ”, he continues.
“The light fixtures are made of iron that close the windowed arches in the overall transparency of the envelope, the floor is of raw wood with slats, on the first floor already prepared with flexible light points on the ground that interact with the texture of the cleaned and recovered wooden beams. We were able to count on excellent local workers to achieve a quality result in the details ". Now the restoration is finished but the space is empty. Furniture is missing, few beautiful design things. On the ground floor, where the reception of the center is the manifesto of the activities of the non-profit organization, tables, chairs, shelves, display windows of the products on sale. Upstairs, multipurpose seats and a small flexible display system according to the installations declined in the temporary exhibitions. Wanted furniture!