Untaggable cities was the theme of the second event in the series of meeting promoted by Audi for the Furisalone in Milan. After talking about people, this time the discussion focused on cities. The starting point was Milan which, as pointed out in his introduction by Fabrizio Longo, Audi Italia brand director, “is again the Milan we wanted”.

Audi committed to organize a competition to gather ideas and proposals to look at the future and innovation of the city, and did so in one of the most iconic architectures of Milan, Torre Velasca, restyled and rejuvenated by architect Piero Lissoni.

The panel discussion, chaired by Massimo Russo, co-editor-in-chief of La Stampa, started from the changes under way in cities, where 7/10 of the world population will live in the future, and that will become extraordinary and increasingly complex places, a development that can be faced only through innovation and technology.

“We need a multi-disciplinary approach”, said architect Michelangelo Giombini from Interni, “and this is the reason why this year’s main theme of the Fuorisalone is Open Borders: crossing the boundaries between cultures, skills and lifestyles.

“Citizens are the energy of cities”, underlined Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of the Department of Architecture and Design and R&D Director at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Antonelli mentioned the cities of nodes, i.e. complex networks, where even tense confrontations take place (just think of Occupy Wall Street in New York or the protests in Brazil in autumn), which also “become tools for the progress of urban planning and architecture”.

Asked to talk about urban transformation, architects Piero Lissoni and Stefano Boeri described two “untaggable” projects. The redevelopment of Torre Velasca which, Lissoni explained, is a symbol of the city and therefore requires great caution. “But caution should not mean fear, we cannot bring back time. We must have the courage to relate to our age”.

According to Boeri, architecture must be able to make clean breaks. Milan did it in the past with Torre Velasca, and this is the Milan that represents us. The Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) project, Boeri continued, was an experiment to continue along this direction and it can lead to new developments on a bigger scale: for example forest cities, a controversial proposal that is already raising interest in countries like China.

In the complexity of contemporary cities, cars can contribute to innovation. Fabrizio Longo, AUDI Italia brand director, mentioned this when talking of technologies such as autonomous and semi-autonomous driving, that can give back time and space to people, without ever forgetting comfort and safety.

This was followed by the experience of a creative, Francesco Ragazzi, art director of Moncler. Ragazzi mentioned the example of Los Angeles as a source of food for thought and innovative energy. “I was photographing skateboarders at Venice Beach, contemporary urban outsiders, and I ended up creating a unisex fashion collection in fall 2015, called Palm Angels. “A new brand that came from one of my passions.”

Text by Laura Ragazzola – Photos by Efrem Raimondi


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Piero Lissoni
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Francesco Ragazzi
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Fabrizio Longo
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Paola Antonelli