The Quadrilatero della Moda - the area between corso Venezia, via Montenapoleone, via Sant'andrea and via della Spiga - has a treasure at its center that few, even among the Milanese, know about.
It is the former Archbishop's Seminary, where in the past future Popes were trained: a place discovered by the world of design on the occasion of two FuoriSaloni (in 2017 and 2018), when for two editions it hosted installations created for the exhibition-events organized by INTERNI.
"It is a strong, powerful, seventeenth-century building, designed in its last guise by Richini and used as an Archbishop's Seminary", explained Michele De Lucchi, author of the regeneration project for Lungarno Collection (hotel management company owned by the Ferragamo family).
“And which will now be a meeting and exchange place for the citizens of Milan”.
A conservative but contemporary recovery
We are in Corso Venezia 11 and the architectural treasure includes the new Portrait Milano, a 5-star luxury hotel, and what everyone now calls the new Piazza del Quadrilatero: 2800 square meters, a new promenade that connects Corso Venezia and Via Sant'Andrea, surrounded by the historic colonnades of the former Archbishop's Palace.
It is on the latter, organized on two floors, that Michele De Lucchi with his AMDL CIRCLE has acted in a conservative perspective, closing part of the upper level with sliding glass panels and giving the city a new designer recovery: with a high philological value but designed for the real life of today's citizens.
“We are so full of history in Italy that we almost feel trapped,” says the architect. “But recovering it, updating it, transforming it into contemporary places is the greatest opportunity we have today in terms of architecture. To bring people closer to their roots but also to give space to everyday expectations".
To recover this heritage of excellence, AMDL CIRCLE had to retrace the tumultuous architectural events of the Seminary.
“The red thread of history is often interrupted and must be mended to reconstruct an aesthetic homogeneity but, above all, the authenticity of everything that architecture has gone through over the centuries”, explained the architect.
The glorious architectural history of the former Archbishop's Palace
Built in 1565, in the middle of the Baroque era, what since December 1 is the new Portrait Milano was a seminar , library, printing house, school.
And now it houses 73 romantic suites, also for families, created by recovering the tradition of the great Milanese residences by Michele Bönan, the Florentine creative who oversaw the interior design of all the hotels in the Lungarno Collection.
Among the great architects who have marked the history of the former Archbishop's Palace are Pellegrino Tibaldi and Fabio Mangone in the 17th century, with the central square courtyard (which measures 56 meters on each side) designed by Aurelio Trezzi.
The complex was then reworked by Francesco Maria Richini, author of the majestic portal, followed by Giambattista Casella who designed the caryatids dedicated to the disciplines of Theology and Philosophy.
A secret place, discovered by great design
However, the former Archbishop's Palace has also been linked to great design for some time now. For ten years, in fact, it was the seat of Mario Bellini's laboratory (from 1980 to 1990).
And, in 2017 and 2018, it was opened to the city thanks to two INTERNI exhibition-events, in both cases with installations for < strong>Audi, on the occasion of two editions of the FuoriSalone.
In 2017, on the occasion of Material Immaterial, the courtyard hosted the Audi City Lab with two installations: the Sonic Pendulum by Yuri Suzuki (a huge pendulum in which artificial intelligence imagined and materialized an endless soundscape); and the luminous interpretation of the baroque entrance portal of the building by Ingo Maurer with Alixel Schmid.
For House in Motion (2018), INTERNI then occupied the cloister of the Archbishop's Seminary with an installation by MAD Architects (also the Audi City Lab) with Artemide lighting.
On that occasion, large tanks filled with water in which the sky and the colonnade were reflected and equipped with nozzles that sprayed puffs of steam created a breathtaking setting thanks to the rings of light, large and small, which towered above the car models of the German brand.
Christmas in Piazza del Quadrilatero?
On the occasion of Christmas, the new promenade that connects Corso Venezia and via Sant'Andrea is occupied by a particular winter layout: 425 fir trees - which will then be used for the reforestation of areas damaged by recent climatic events.
The tallest (14 meters) stands out majestically in the center of the square, while magnolias and perennial herbaceous plants expertly illuminated help to create a magical atmosphere.