Page 1

After the Morgan Library Renzo Piano has done it again: he has chosen the Silver chairs for Il Sole 24 Ore. > 4 A FATEFUL MEETING. In the Bodum guesthouse in Denmark, Danish style is Made in Italy. > 6 MANTIS, THE GENTLE TABLE. Patricia Urquiola believes in emotion: she narrates objects with adjectives usually used to describe people. > 8 THE POSTER. è De Padova 2009. Men and furniture dance, the future order will be impossible to grasp. > 10 ESSENTIAL THEATER. The new offices of Teatro Franco Parenti in Milan are the stage for furnishings designed by Vico Magistretti. > 13 DINNER IS SERVED. The ItaloFrench taste of the MeMo cooking school attracts good architects and good design. > 14 VOYAGE IN THE TEMPLE OF WORDS. De Padova style meets the monumental, solemn rigor of the headquarters of Corriere della Sera in Milan. > 15 PAUL KLEE ZENTRUM. The magical worlds of Paul Klee materialize on the hills. FRAL ARCHITETTURE. An architecture studio in the spaces of a building from the early 1900s. > 16 NO USE TRYING TO ESCAPE. A short story by Marco Ciriello. > 2 PIANO, GLASS AND LIGHT.

NUMBER 0 | JANUARY 2009 | È DepaDova | STRADA PADANA SUPERIORE 280, 20090 VIMODRONE (MI) ITALY | Ph: +39 02 27439795 | FAX: +39 02 27439780 | INFO@DEPADOVA.IT | WWW.DEPADOVA.IT

Where there’s design , there’s De Padova. In the midst of our doings we are caught by folly or stupidity, we can’t always live on planes that fit together, the project tries to connect them, true design is dialogue among parts, dialectic, correct measure, denominator, satisfaction of needs, overcoming awkwardness, the void and the problem. The charm of an idea that takes form.



piano , glass and light T h e r e f r e s h m e n t z o n e o f t h e n e w i l S o l e 2 4 Or e h e a d q u a rt e r s

| photo Paolo Riolzi |


When you work in the historical centre of a city, you should not worry about the lack of freedom, but be grateful for the restrictions that are imposed. Creativity does not need freedom, it needs rules: then it can occasionally be fun to break them.

enzo Piano has done it again. Selecting the Silver chairs by Vico Magistretti. This time for the refreshment zone of the new il Sole 24 Ore facility. As in the Café Mezzanine of Centre George Pompidou, or the cafes of the Morgan Library in New York and the Paul Klee Zentrum in Berne. Before they were black; now they are orange, with an eye on the il Sole 24 Ore logo. Piano and Magistretti, two men who might seem to be separated in every way: by age, career, roots. Yet it is still easy to glimpse something solid that unites them, in their idea of the world and of architecture. Piano says: «Personally, I think my desire to explore uncharted paths goes together perfectly with my acknowledgment of the tradition. Maybe this is a European trait, or maybe it is specifically Italian. There is certainly the inheritance of a humanistic culture». Magistretti said: «My first trip to New York in ‘54 gave me a lot, it gave me head start in coming to terms with a worldview I had only read about. Travel opens your mind, like studying Latin, it helps you to learn that there are very important things, things others are able to do much better, other things that could still be improved: in short, traveling gives you an experience like

production rather than one-offs. Piano, on the subject of the Beaubourg in Paris, has said: «I began to design it forty years ago with Richard Rogers: we wanted to erase the idea of a museum as a static, substantially dead place. We thought of a place for everyone, where people would discuss works, to encourage debate». And the Silver chairs? What do the aluminium and plastic chairs designed by Vico Magistretti for De Padova in 1989 have to do with these currents of thoughts and words? The explanation comes from Magistretti himself. He tells us how the chairs came to life, precisely from thoughts and words: «These are chairs with different variations: with armrests, without armrests. They are made with contemporary materials and technologies. It is a tribute to Thonet, who made a chair with a similar form. I think it is correct to reutilize it, because I have always liked Thonets. But it is no longer in wood, it is made of metal and plastic, there is no more straw. At the same time it is a tribute to other objects you see in the real world: a memory of the baskets used in Japanese markets, in Tokyo, to hold eggs; they have these square holes, which I have always liked a lot, so I have used them for the seat and back of this chair».

Gianni Berengo Gardin

Renzo Piano

going to classical high school». Another shared area of interest, for the two men, is the culture of information and words. Piano has become the international architect of reference for projects involving information and culture. Besides the il Sole 24 Ore headquarters, he has also designed the new building for the New York Times. Another major project is the one for the former Falck area at Sesto San Giovanni: a factory-city transformed into a factory of ideas. Open, transparent, light works of architecture, works that “listen”, as Piano puts it, ready for interaction. And Vico Magistretti? Someone once wrote that he transformed words into design. When he was asked about his work with De Padova he would respond:«Here one works by talking, meeting with people, discussing. Design also means talking together. My work is made of words. It is a dialogue among different kinds of expertise. I chat with those who produce, with workers and upholsterers who know all the technical secrets. The secret of Italian Design is all here, in this close collaboration between production and design». They are both sons of the Bauhaus, different but similar. Vico was for less instead of too much, for subtraction as opposed to accumulation, for mass


IL SOLE 24 ORE Milano, via Monte Rosa 91 Dining hall and cafe Year of construction: 2004 Architecture and interior design: Renzo Piano Building Workshop


Where there’s history, there’s De Padova. You can enter brandishing weapons or on tiptoe, through a window or the page of a notebook, by bicycle or in an old car, you never know when you are inside and truly there, you only discover it later, when the thing is done, and stated by others, the faces of strangers, the words of a faraway woman, or just a phrase on a wall, the same wall as when you were a child.

The Bodum guesthouse in Denmark

a fateful meeting | photo Paolo Riolzi |


estiny always starts from a distance. From knowing how to interpret the signs. The story of Bodum, thirty km from Copenhagen, facing the Baltic, is an example of how an encounter can be a combination of fate, intelligence and energy, and the will to find meaning and connections in things. It all began in the summer of 1955, at piazza Duomo in Milan, when Maddalena De Padova and her husband Fernando changed their vacation plans in response to an elusive but strong intuition. They decided to visit Copenhagen. Something urged them to know the great spaces of northern Europe, Scandinavian design, houses furnished with light, pale objects. In Copenhagen, during the same period, Mr. Peter Bodum, a wholesaler of household goods, had a dream: he wanted to create his own line of prod-

ucts. He approached young designers and graphic artists, got them involved, asked them to create things for him. In 1958 he launched the Santos coffeemaker on the market. It was a success, not only in Denmark, but all over Europe as well: design and technology. Perfect, and for everyone. Then came coffeepots, teapots, salad bowls, glasses, sugar dispensers. Simple, light, transparent objects, in keeping with the tradition of Scandinavian design. That style of furniture design that De Padova, in 1958, had begun to import and market in Italy, creating a little big revolution in Italian homes. In the meantime the Bodum company grew. Since the 1970s Jörgen, Peter’s son, has guided Bodum, together with his sister. They called on Carsten Jörgensen, a teacher at the Danish School of Art in Copenhagen, to create the image and design of Bodum

products. It was the triumph of the philosophy of industrial design dreamed of by Peter Bodum, and it meant success and growth for the company all over the world, with 52 flagship stores. Jörgen Bodum opened offices and shops around the world, but also guesthouses, elegant spaces of hospitality where he can welcome collaborators and organize business meetings. The latest guesthouse is in Hornbæk, a few kilometers from one of the world’s most beautiful modern art museums, the Louisiana. Once again, it was time to furnish a new place. Rooms open to the sea, full of light and simple, linear geometries. Mr. Bodum had a precise idea in mind. He wanted De Padova to add life to those spaces. It was the inevitable fate of a meeting. The curiosity of a trip taken many years ago has led, today, to the house illustrated in these photographs.


BODUM Hornbæk, Denmark Guesthouse Year of construction: 2007 Architecture and interior design: Ronnie Yue with Jörgen Bodum Project area: 300 sq meters






Sleeping car



Where there’s passion , there’s De Padova. There’s the one of prophets, of women or just of those who dream of a better world, it is a fever that sickens and grants joy, not utopia but truth you can glimpse, full of bluster at times, it makes you feel safe where you’re not, makes you rise from certain beds no one would flee, imagine better times, it is present and future together, like a knot, that has a form you think you know but cannot name.

Patr i c i a Ur q u i o l a ta l k s a b o u t h e r l at e s t pr o j e c t f o r D e Pa d o va

mantis , the gentle table | photo Luciano S o ave |

«It’s an object that flies on four legs, a grand gesture that is still gentle… it makes you want to thank it…»


Patricia Urquiola was born in Oviedo, Spain. She studied at the Facultad de Arquitectura de Madrid and took a degree at the Politecnico di Milano in 1989, under the guidance of Achille Castiglioni. In 1991 she began to work at De Padova in the research and development division. It was here that she met Vico Magistretti. Other fundamental steps in her career came in 1994, with the collaboration with Piero Lissoni, and in 1998, with Patrizia Moroso. She opened her design studio in Milan in 2001.

| 6 | NEWS

Patricia Urquiola insists on emotion. It’s part of her character and you can see it in her work. To narrate objects she uses the same adjectives we would usually apply to people. Mantis, for example, the programme of tables she has designed for De Padova, is gentle. Gentle is a recurring term in our conversation: «the new table has sheet-metal legs, a gentle industrial material that has been gently bent. A sturdy central beam in aluminium forms the spine. The top is more slender, with smoothed corners, something like the wing of an airplane». Patricia, how did the idea of designing a meeting table come up? «We met with De Padova precisely with the idea of thinking about this type of product. My relationship with the company is made of memories, recollections and emotions. So during the briefing we recalled that I had helped Vico Magistretti to create Shine, a programme of oval and rectangular tables of different sizes. The challenge was to go one step further». Shine is based on lightness, it’s a table halfway between use in the home and use in the office. What is the key to Mantis? «The structure. I proposed a very large table that could support a top up to 7 meters long, because

that is the limit for tables with only four resting points. I hate to miniaturize tables, at home I have an immense one, at the entrance. Maddalena De Padova once told me: “if you have a small space, put a big table in it”. It’s nice to have a surface on which to put anything, it’s a horizontal bookcase, a point of reference. Mantis was born like that, big, and it was only later, in a second phase, that we resized it. We took it to more natural proportions, so it can truly be used in any space. It will evolve, in the future, also in a version with three resting points. The legs are attached to the central beam and joined together to create an interesting effect». Can you tell us about the passages in the creation of the project? «It was a playful, light job. As we were doing it one of the company engineers said: “let’s jump on the table to see if it stands up”. Design always implies technological research, and Mantis too is a story of many small victories. The technology is innovative, but on first glance the object doesn’t reveal all the research behind it. That’s another thing I have learned from De Padova: for them, technological research is always combined with the theme of memory. There is the taste for craftsmanship, and there is innovation». Is that, perhaps, the secret of true modernity? «Yes. That is how a product becomes timeless, and when it is timeless it can become a great clas-

sic, even if it’s new. Yesterday I walked by the shop windows on corso Venezia, and I saw my Bergère. It looked as if it had always been there. I hope the same thing happens with Mantis. I think it is a true De Padova: this company has given me an imprint, I like the fact that my objects fit in perfectly with De Padova». You are very prolific, but you rarely work on projects for the office. Does Mantis mean that you are moving toward the world of contract? «I tried to avoid making a piece of office furniture. I’m interested in the contrast between different languages, and I think the world of the office needs to become more gentle, softer, to mix the elements. The sort of four-legged magic that is Mantis was created for a meeting room, but I can also imagine it in a country house, where old architecture is combined with industrial overtones». Whom do you have in mind when you design? You’ve always said that you are your own primary client. «Not the primary client, the only client I know. I know what I like. Here again, Maddalena De Padova has taught me: she has always kept her furniture in her own home, precisely to test it. She is concerned about what she offers to others. For me, the fact that she surrounds herself with the objects she produces is a form of honesty». Does this mean you’ll be using Mantis in your studio? «Of course. A big table has the function of creating a sense of community».

patRIcIa uRquIol a My fiRSt tiMe

My real relationship with design began with De Padova,

when I was the assistant of Maddalena De Padova. It was my first job. Maddalena is a woman of great personality, very intelligent, very quick in her thinking and actions. On the other hand, it is part of my nature to break down barriers in relationships. She gave me room, I could express myself freely. I was a bit reckless in these things. Maddalena understood my character very well, and she knew how to use me, in the best sense of the term, because when you’re working there has to be give and take. There were tensions, concerns, but also fun. Maddalena helped me to understand that work, if it accompanies you throughout your life like a friend instead of an obligation, can be marvelous. This was her teaching, and also that of Magistretti and Castiglioni. Another thing I think is brilliant about our relationship: she made editions, but from the start I saw her as an entrepreneur, a producer, an erudite counterpart in short. Someone with whom to establish a dialogue, to discuss projects and create them. And, in fact, today my work is not in the office. It is in relation to companies, it is there that the fun begins.

NEWS | 7 |

Men and objects dance, the future order will be far from possible to grasp. Lukewarm monsters amidst clear objects, men with minds of their own mingled with settled forms, a landscape of sharp contrasts. The only tools of struggle against the spinelessness of the banal, that dominates, methodical, incessantly grinding. Despotic deception that invades, controls you. To escape the vortex your last resort is to set your sights on an impeccable object.


| 8 | poster

poster | 9 |

Where there’s culture , there’s De Padova. It has had servants and captains, inhabited future cities and forgotten places, managed to remain itself in the midst of perpetual change. Its shortcoming has been not to recognize wrongs, involuntary ones. Often it has become a reason for living, even the sole certainty in chaos, for some: a religion, for others an enemy hard to understand. Capable of laying truth bare and analyzing order, it often disappears, just like the clouds. 35 years ago, in Milan: the founding of Salone Pierlombardo, now Teatro Franco Parenti

an essential theater | photo Luciano S o ave |


The project is always a project of life, because objects speak even when we are not using them. So behind every project there is a destiny, a telos that goes beyond the practical function of the object itself.

ess is more. That’s easy to say, today, but just think about the situation in 1973. In those days culture in Milan meant Teatro alla Scala, the Piccolo Teatro, the Triennale, the Società Umanitaria and the Circolo Turati. Five cumbersome giants, seldom interested in coming to grips with the rest of the world and new developments. But something was about to happen, back in 1973. The birth of a different theater. Far from the rhetoric, the bombast, the chandeliers of the cartoons of Giuseppe Novello. And far from the historical center of the city, on via Pier Lombardo, beyond Porta Romana. It was born and desired by a theater group, those “without a parish, vagabonds of spirit and culture”, as Giovanni Testori, one of the founders together with Franco Parenti, Dante Isella, Andrée Ruth Shammah and Gian Maurizio Fercioni, put it. Less is more. Less privileges, less audience, less money. An essential theater. Intense, refined, humble. Salone Pier Lombardo, named for the street where it stands, raised its curtain on 16 January 1973, with Testori’s Ambleto. It would later become Teatro Franco Parenti. But there is still a long story to tell. A writer (Testori), an actor (Parenti), a linguist

Michele De Lucchi

* | 10 | SETTINGS

TEATRO FRANCO PARENTI Milano, via Vasari 15

(Isella), a director (Shammah) and a set designer (Fercioni). Each one with his own dream, but together they decided on programming, tried out pieces, painted sets. They wanted a theater for everyone, for Milan. They were daring. Authors unknown in Italy, reinterpretations of classics, Molière and Shaw, but also La Betia by Ruzante and readings from Porta. The Macbetto and the Adalgisa by Testori. People discovered that there was room in the city for an erudite but not arrogant Milanese character, political but not ideological, open to the new but not frivolous. Theater became possibility, passion, life. The physical and metaphysical place of performances, readings, concerts, films, encounters. «The Pier Lombardo», says former Milan mayor Carlo Tognoli, «immediately represented a new idea of theater». Theater for the city and of the city. The writer Giuseppe Pontiggia remarked: «The Pier Lombardo was a space of freedom, experimentation, renewal, in years when the Piccolo held understandable but also dangerous sway over Milanese theatrical life, also from a creative standpoint». 1983. On the programme: Processo alla cultura (Trial to culture). The audience is so big that the

Offices, cafe, foyer Year of construction: 2007 Architectural design: Michele De Lucchi Interior design: Teatro Franco Parenti Project area: 530 sq meters

event is moved from via Pier Lombardo to the Teatro Lirico for five encounters, coordinated by the philosopher Emanuele Severino. The discussion was on religion, science and philosophy. Themes that were not easy, not popular. Milan responded, to this stimulus and to others. Like the six-day event M.A.F.I.A., also in 1983: talks, films, poetry, documents on the phenomenon of organized crime. People went to Salone Pier Lombardo to talk about and listen to everything. Philippe Daverio confirms: «it is the theater of the community, where people meet and live». 16 January 1998. Celebration of the 25th anniversary. This day marked a turning point. Milan took part, in large numbers, demonstrating its affection for the theater and for Andrée Shammah, who had been left alone at the helm after the death of Parenti and Testori. The theater emerged from via Pier Lombardo and invaded the city, bringing Ondine to Villa Reale, programming shows at the cloisters of the Società Umanitaria and at the Castello Sforzesco. Things were revised. With the desire to go further. The theater became a Foundation and began to design a space for culture. «Freedom is not what we have, but everything we still have to take» (an aphorism from the column Il dito

On these pages, photographs of the entrance and the foyer of Teatro Franco Parenti. In the dressing rooms and offices, De Padova furnishings establish a dialogue with traditional pieces and items found at flea markets.




Where there’s TASTE , there’s De Padova. The spirit of disintegration pervades everything, disarming us, when we believe we obey God we are following the orders of other men. It’s hard to disentangle faith, morals and authority. Taste avoids the slavery of confusion. The material consolation of the useless teaches harmony, accustoms the gaze to seek the efficient and the beautiful. It takes strange forms, often you find it where you would least expect it.

nell’occhio, written by Franco Parenti for L’Avanti, 1958). The space was no longer sufficient, so in 2007 the renovation of the theater began. The expansion project, by Michele De Lucchi under the art direction of Andrée Ruth Shammah, with the collaboration of Gian Maurizio Fercioni for the sets, is developed in four volumes, organized around the Sala Grande. Visible staircases and walkways lead to the theater spaces. An architectural promenade that crosses the foyer and connects the various levels, also in visual terms. But renovating the original home on via Pier Lombardo also meant “refounding” Teatro Franco Parenti. Identity, architectural space and artistic paths are part of a single project that includes the great classics – Aeschylus, Euripides and Shakespeare – reworked in a modern key, alongside the magic-epic-fantastic current, and the contemporary character of the Racconto Italiano. Starting in 2007, as in an open worksite, certain protagonists of today’s culture have brought the new headquarters of Teatro Franco Parenti to life. Amos Oz, Guido Ceronetti and Carlo Cecchi laid invisible stones as steps toward the rebirth of the theater. «One of the great merits of the Pier Lombardo», says Rosellina Archinto, «is that it helped the people of Milan to enter a theater».

inTeRview wiTh andRée RuTh shammah

the sense of duration and my milan


anDRée RUth ShaMMah Theater director and the main force behind Teatro Franco Parenti, Andrée Ruth Shammah is an outstanding figure on the Italian cultural scene. Born in Milan in 1948, of Syrian origin with a cosmopolitan background, she studied in Paris and at the Piccolo Teatro, with Giorgio Strehler and Paolo Grassi. With the seventy productions she has directed – including the memorable trilogy of Ambleto, Macbetto e Edipus and I promessi sposi alla prova – she has managed to introduce decidedly innovative elements in the contemporary theater and Italian culture, opening up perspectives in advance of new orientations, expressions and interpretations, often in contrast with established practices.



hen you enter Teatro Franco Parenti, in the renovated part of the offices, you find the chairs and sofas designed by Vico Magistretti for De Padova. We asked Andrée Ruth Shammah to talk about her encounter with the world of De Padova. «Maddalena De Padova and I are women who think of work as a passion in which to put everything. Maddalena has pursued taste, beauty, certain forms. This is very close to my way of making theater: the pursuit of a form. De Padova has always been ready to evolve, to renew things, through essential elegance. Just think about Magistretti, the man who made the most “table-like” table, the most “chair-like” chair. My theater, too, is very essential, because it has no sets, no ornaments. I too have always sought the essential. I’ve been walking by the De Padova store every day for thirty years now. It is the only shop window that always cheers me up. When it was time to renovate the Theater, to remake the offices, I immediately thought of asking De Padova. In the architectural structure of our Theater the part facing the street is for the offices.

The more internal, nocturnal part is for the dressing rooms, which are very elaborate, romantic, almost Art Nouveau. For me, there was no doubt that the place for concentration, the place of rationality, that leaves space for fantasy, should be furnished by De Padova». Is Milanese character something else you have in common? «It would be great if Milan were a place built on synergies between people, but unfortunately that’s not the case. This should be the main quality of Milan. The Milanese character. Instead everything is a bit random. Very few have the aesthetic continuity of De Padova, just as very few have the continuity I believe I have had. I admired Magistretti very much. In his life and his projects you can see that character of Milan I was talking about, the values, the things that should not be lost. At De Padova there is an identity. And then it is no longer just a company, it becomes a center, a place, a thought, a system of values. This also holds true for a theater. Milan should be the sum of these values. Defining them and recognizing them in our own story and the story of those around us who share these values helps a city to have a memory. It is important to understand why a person can last. If there is a sense of duration in what you do, in the end you achieve a classic character, even in the things you invent. It means that what worked then will also work now and will work tomorrow as well. Instead of turning around and saying: “Not again… I am so sick of this thing”. This is the big difficulty in fashion and design. De Padova has achieved this classic character thanks to duration, over the years, and because of work with the greatest international designers».





T h e M e M o s pa c e , a s c h o o l o f Ita l o - Fr e n c h c u i s i n e

dinner is served | p h o t o R o b e r t o To m a s i |


he great dandy of English literature Oscar Wilde and the “beloved creature” Virginia Woolf had similar ideas about food: the former couldn’t stand people who didn’t take eating seriously, the latter believed that you cannot properly think, love or sleep if you haven’t eaten well. So they would certainly agree with the thinking of des Mets & des Mots, a place of food and words, opened in Milan in the former Richard Ginori factory. MeMo is not just a cooking school, but also a place of passion and culture in which to prepare Italian and French recipes while conversing in both languages. The image of the MeMo space reflects a spirit of professionalism and technology, a strong identity. But in the case of cooking, the atmosphere also has to have something of the home, leaving space for recommendations and conversation, lessons and tast-

DES METS & DES MOTS MeMo Milano, via Morimondo 26 School area and offices Year of construction: 2007 Architecture and interior design: Alessandra Ubertazzi Project area: 200 sq meters


ings. MeMo has chosen elegant, functional, timeless furnishings. The pieces by De Padova respond to just these parameters: Quadrato tables, Cirene chairs, small Dan tables, Pollack chairs. Someone once said that good cooking attracts the good architect, and good design. Just consider the case of Ferran Adrià, who designs his dishes by composing and reassembling their parts. Or that of Jean Nouvel, who has designed the restaurant Les Ombres in Paris, a gastronomic window on the continents, next to his new Musée du Quai Branly. Not to mention, in Milan, Carlo Cracco and Moreno Cedroni, renowned chefs who work with the Triennale: one in the main building, Palazzo dell’Arte, the other at the Bovisa branch. Ladies and gentlemen, dinner is served.

DES METS & DES MOTS Two great culinary traditions for the cooking school and cultural association based in Milan, on via Morimondo, along the Naviglio Grande. The project of renovation of the former industrial zone of Società Ceramica Richard Ginori took nine months, under the direction of the architect Alessandra Ubertazzi. The founders of des Mets & des Mots are Ferdinando Tanara, an Italian in love with France, and Elisabeth Bertolino, Parisian by birth, now residing in Milan. The teachers are not professional chefs but cooking enthusiasts. Every three months the school proposes a new schedule of initiatives, from classes on creative cuisine to lessons on French desserts.


Where there’s information , there’s De Padova. Taking the wrong path nourishes true love, we grow by accumulating mistakes, not through easy victories. It’s hard to get away from logic, because improvisation is an art laborious to learn. Excess leads to crimes, scarcity to slaves, in the middle are the infallible men, whom everyone talks about when they fall. True information has the style of someone who knows how to emerge from a labyrinth without sweating.

I n t h e C o rr i e r e d e l l a S e r a h e a d q u a rt e r s r e n o vat e d b y Gr e g o tt i

voyage in the temple of words | photo Luciano S o ave |


t is not easy to come to terms with a monument, or to enter a temple. The Corriere della Sera is both those things: a civic monument of Milan, and the temple of Italian journalism. “La fabbrica del Corriere della Sera” is the title Vittorio Gregotti gave to the book, in 2006, that narrates his restructuring project for the headquarters of the newspaper on Via Solferino, giving the monument-temple yet another character: that of industry (fabbrica=factory). Via Solferino, via Moscova, via San Marco and via Montebello. The area where renovation work began in 1989 is bordered by these four streets, with buildings from the early 1900s by Luca Beltrami, and more recent parts designed at the end of the 1950s by Alberto Rosselli. Gregotti has written that he wanted his intervention to be one that “did not raise its voice”, implemented “with patience, making silence in order to be able to see small things”. The appropriate approach to a temple-monument-factory. Far from the din of fashion and the idea of overly technological, global communication. Concentrating on the reorganization of spaces with an attitude of respect for a job – journalism – that has radically changed in recent decades. The Milan that continues to buy and read the Corriere della Sera still resembles, to a great extent, its temple-monument: tied to traditions, sober, even Calvinist. But also interested in new things,



RCS MEDIAGROUP Milano, via San Marco 21

Managerial and secretarial offices Year of construction: 2006 Architectural design: Gregotti & Associati Interior design: Franco De Nigris Project area: 1,786 sq meters

RCS CORRIERE DELLA SERA Milano, via Solferino 28

to stimulate production, to create social identity. It is an aspect of the modern Milan that was born in the 1950s. The same period in which De Padova was contributing to educate the tastes of the city’s interior decorating. So today it is almost to be expected that the new managerial offices of Corriere della Sera should be furnished with pieces by De Padova. First of all, the 606, the historic bookcase by the German designer Dieter Rams, created in wood in the 1960s, and transformed twenty years later by De Padova, by rethinking the piece in aluminium. Other spaces feature the Shine collection by Vico Magistretti: white tables with a base in aluminium alloy and cabinets with oak tops. Or the Tools series, designed by Pierluigi Cerri, a system of simple storage units and bookshelves, for infinite combinations. That simplicity, to use the words of Vanni Pasca, design critic and historian, “that does not mean reduction or displayed self-gratifying elegance, but a solution to the complex theme of living in the home and the office, an expression of the taste for inhabiting spaces with nonchalant aplomb.” In the end, the encounter between Corriere della Sera and De Padova was inevitable. After all, wasn’t it George Nelson, the icon of American design, on his way through Milan, who called De Padova “the temple of Italian design”?

Managerial and secretarial offices Year of construction: 2007 Interior design: Franco De Nigris Project area: 300 sq meters


some of ouR conTRacT clienTs A complete listing of our contract clients and our dealers is available by request.

606 u.S.S.


è De padova paul klee zentRum BeRne photo Luciano S o ave

indusTRy and commeRce 1. Barilla [Parma] 2. Bodum [Lucerne, Hornbaek, New york, Shanghai] 3. Disano illuminazione [Dorno (Pavia)] 4. ferrero Spa [Alba (Cuneo)] 5. finmeccanica [Hong Kong, Miami, Moscow, New york, Rome] 6. Mc Kinsey & Company [Milan] 7. Multiplex Pathé Lingotto [turin] 8. Rolex SA [Geneva]

fashion and ac cess oRies 9. Best Company [Carpi (Modena)] 10. Diego della Valle [Ascoli Piceno, Milan] 11. Hugo Boss [Zug] 12. Moschino [Milan] 13. tod’s Spa [Ascoli Piceno, Milan]

Banks, finance, insuRance 14. UBi Banche Popolari [italy] 15. Barclays Private equity [Milan]

Schöngrün reStaurant Year of construction: 2007 architecture and interior design: Renzo Piano Building Workshop Project area: 16.000 sq meters Dealer: Teo Jacob, Berna

16. Santander [Madrid] 17. Starfin [Lugano]

the outskirts of Berne. Where the magical worlds of Paul Klee appear against the backdrop of the hills. evoking the three waves of steel and glass designed by Renzo Piano for the Paul Klee Zentrum. Opened in 2005, the centre contains the bequest of the heirs and the foundation, with over four thousand works by the artist, including small and

large drawings,watercolour sand oil paintings. Sixteen thousand square meters, one thousand and one hundred tons of steel and abundant natural lighting for exhibition spaces, refreshment areas and offices, which Renzo Piano has furnished with the Silver chairs by De Padova, a classic for both indoor and outdoor use.

fRal aRchItettuRe melegnano

c o m m u n i c aT i o n , P u B l i s h i n g 18. De Agostini [Novara]

photo Luciano S o ave

19. Peppermint [Munich] 20. RCS Corriere della Sera [Milan]

An architecture studio, in the spaces of the ground floor and first floor of a building from the early 1900s. Restructuring work was recently completed on the exterior and the internal spaces. the rooms face a charming inner courtyard. Architect Aldo Ruffini has chosen the historical center of Melegnano (Milan) for his studio, which works on civil and industrial architectural projects. He explains his choices as follows: «i was looking for positive symbiosis. i wanted to make the original elements of the building and part of the original furnishings coexist with the rational, clean furnishings required for contemporary work. in

h o T e l s , R e s Ta u R a n T s , c a f e s , c l u B s 21. Café Wien & Restaurant [Kassel] 22. Carlton Hotel [Nuremberg] 23. Cipriani Club Residences [New york] 24. Hotel Chalet del Golf [Puigcerda (Girona)] 25. Hotel Reina Petronilla [Zaragoza] 26. Karnerhof SPA [Lake faak – Austria] 27. Mandarin Hotel [Barcelona] 28. Guastavino’s restaurant [New york] 29. Warmbader thermhotel [Villach – Austria]

P u B l i c a n d P R i vaT e i n s T i T u T i o n s

this sense, the rationality and linear design typical of De Padova convinced me to select certain pieces from the collection». «in other cases i have found myself decorating spaces of a different nature, and often i have resolved conflicts of style using products by De Padova» in fact, in what Ruffini calls the Drafting Room («even though, he says, who draws by hand anymore? At this point all the work is done with computers»), he has put together a series of white tools tables to take advantage of the light. the Work chairs, with orange seats, the light wood floors and white walls all contribute to capture and reflect light. As in the meeting

30. Airport of Palma de Mallorca [Palma de Mallorca] 31. CDi [Milan] 32. Proa foundation [Buenos Aires] 33. Hummer team LtD [Pafos – Cyprus] 34. ifAD [Rome] 35. tourism Port of Palau [Palau (Sassari)] 36. teatro franco Parenti [Milan] 37. tenaris University Residence [Campana – Argentina]

museums and liBRaRies 38. Centre G. Pompidou [Paris] 39. Prado Museum [Madrid] 40. the Morgan Library & Museum [New york]

OfficeS, Drafting rOOm, meeting rOOm Year of construction: 2007 interior design: Aldo Ruffini Project area: 90 sq meters

room, where Ruffini has chosen a large oval Shine table and Silver chairs with white seats, to coexist in harmony with an antique walnut chest of drawers. On the walls, where the offices require bookcases, the choice went to the timeless 606 model by Dieter Rams, a flexible, elegant, light and perfectly symbiotic presence.


t h e b i a n n ua l m a g a z i n e o f

È De padova Strada Padana Super iore, 280. Vimodrone (Mi )

ARt DiReCtORS fRancesca cavazzuTi , maRio Piazza | teXtS 3d PRoduzioni | eDitORiAL COORDiNAtOR didi gnocchi | iNCiPitS AND SHORt StORy maRco ciRiello | GRAPHiC DeSiGN AND L AyOUt 46Xy sTudio | PHOtOGRAPHS Paolo Riolzi , RoBeRTo Tomasi , luciano soave | eDitiNG AND tRANSL AtiON COORDiNAtiON maRTa monaco | tRANSL AtiONS: Piccolo, fReNCH-Régine cavall aRo, SPANiSH-nieves aRRiBas, GeRMAN-gunTheR f. Roeschmann | iLLUStRAtiONS ale+ale | PHOtOLitH aRTicRom, usmaTe (lc) | PRiNtiNG gRafiche mil ani , segRaTe (mi ) | tHANKS tO il sole 24 oRe , mil ano - Bodum, hoRnBÆk - TeaTRo fRanco PaRenTi , mil ano des meTs & des moTs, mil ano - Rcs coRRieRe dell a seRa , mil ano - Renzo Piano Building woRkshoP - RisToRanTe schÖngRÜn, BeRn - Teo jacoB, BeRn - aldo Ruffini , melegnano

NO USe tRyiNG tO eSCAPe I’m Nobody! Who are you? Emily Dickinson | by Marco Cir iello |


was in the rest room at Penn Station in New York,

ears ringing with the PA announcing my train,

when I heard a gunshot

behind me. I turned around, slowly, but nothing was there. Maybe the shot came from

one of the stalls facing the

wall of urinals. A few seconds earlier I had seen two people in front of the mirror, to

my right: a black guy with a garbage man jacket and a blond kid with hair gel. But now there was nobody, and the only certainty came from below: I had pissed on my trousers and shoes. I kept still for a few minutes, really scared, wanting to run far away, unable to move. Then, when I saw that

nothing was happening, I

got up my courage and slowly opened all the doors of the stalls. I don’t know why I didn’t just get out of there.

I felt a strange confidence.

I proceeded cautiously, as in a film: I

leaned against the partition between the stalls, shoved the door open hard

and then pulled back, out of visual

range. Useless precautions. If someone had wanted to eliminate me they

could have done so very easily already.

As I was thinking these right things and doing the wrong ones, at the fifth

door I suddenly found myself looking

at a man who had just blown his brains out. I don’t know how much time

had passed between the shot and my absurd actions, I only know that when I left the rest room to look for help Pennsylvania Station was empty, yes, empty, unbelievable. Completely deserted, like a dream. I remembered a Terry Gilliam film where everyone suddenly starts waltzing, and that would have been OK: with Tom Waits playing the hobo, too. But an empty Penn station was not OK. Either I was in the worst of all nightmares or something outrageous was happening. I went back

to the rest room, and when I looked

in the mirror I didn’t recognize myself: wasted, frightened, lost. And all around:

silence. One truly long instant of

terror interrupted by the splash of the water I had turned on to stick my head under

the flow. Don’t ask me how much

time had passed, I don’t know, I heard no noises, just emptiness. When I surfaced I tore some paper off the towel dispenser on the wall and, drying my head, I went back over to the

guy who had shot himself. He was still there. Blood on the tiles, face in a grimace, hole in the

temple. Like a painting by Bacon, I

stupidly commented out loud, before taking a closer look at the guy. Shoes, jeans, jacket, sweater.

Pretty posh. The face had something

familiar about it. Maybe he was famous? When I looked away, ready to leave, I almost closed the

door, as if to conceal the scene. Did I

want to protect my discovery, or just protect the intimacy of that man, a bit longer, from prying

eyes? I did it without thinking, the door barely ajar as I left. Someone who decides

to end it all at Penn Station wasn’t

all that concerned about privacy. At least I wouldn’t think so. At this time of day

the station should be packed with

people, the rest room swallowing and vomiting men, instead there is just silence,

the station is still empty. Trains

standing still, PA silent, and I am plunged back into my worst nightmare. What is happening in New York? I even took a furtive peek into the ladies’ room, in front: but nothing. Incredible. I saw a man in a uniform, in the distance, heading into a corridor. I took off after him, and no, not even then did I consider running

away. I could have: I was all alone in one of the world’s biggest train stations, the

cop had his back to me, he hadn’t seen me,

but my eyes were still filled with the face of that man, in a pool of blood.

«Even though humanity is strange, it is

ours», my mother would repeat, looking in the mirror on Sunday morning before going to

church. Maybe it was just this phrase buzzing

in my head that kept me from cutting and running. I caught up with the cop and convinced

him to follow me. And no, I didn’t listen to

his voice, my eyes still held the explosion of the head of a man, which would be mine for the

rest of time. I didn’t hear the policeman’s questions, I was thinking about what would come after. And when we reached the rest room I realized that I was much much older than my years, after that afternoon, that this was a falling point, of no return. You can’t know when you are on the wrong side of the river. I repeated to myself, before noticing the red writing on

the wall: To enjoy good health. An absurd phrase, in a

bathroom, without a signature, an epitaph for a suicide. I looked at

the cop and with the tone of a radio announcer I told

him: «don’t worry, we’ve ended up in a story by Paul Auster».

| 16 | ThE STORY

Magazine De Padova