Though Milan does have several major public spaces— the Piazza del Duomo, Castello Sforzesco, Giardini Pubblici, to name a few—the streets, in general, are characterized by narrow sidewalks lined with massive doors hiding private interior courtyards. Here, there is minimal casual public space; people tend to hang out in the road and against buildings.
Lorenzo Castellini (above), director of Esterni, points out that although this "chaos and mess" may be interesting, the city could benefit from a more considered approach to citizens' relationship with public space. So, for a week's time in and around Zona Tortona, esterni staged (for a second time) The Public Design Festival, providing temporary workspaces, mobile benches, public performances, and a series of parking spaces transformed into public zones, called the Duepercinque competition, described below.
Foundation, a project by Rikkert Paauw, Hein Lagerweij, Anna Brecht and Jet van Zwieten, utilized materials found in Milan's environs or donated by citizens to build a small bar, serving coffee and drinks. Each day, the team released a small newsletter, with brief interviews from people they met while working and the character and source of materials they incorporated into the installation. The result, just before completion, is shown above; download their newsletters here.
Megaphone, designed by Cristiano Cremaschini, is simply that. A giant megaphone mounted on a platform, so that anyone may broadcast their opinion into Milan.
Bevetenetutti: Drink of It, All of You, by Lorenzo de Bartolomeis, Gabriele Diamanti and Filippo Poli, provided a series of faucets for humans, pooches, and birds atop a small astroturf deck. Yes, they worked—I filled up at least a few times.
O2 Park looks like a bizarre saran wrapped trojan horse, but it's actually a park designed by C_uno from Rome. Visitors step underneath the creature, and stick their heads inside to breathe fresh air provided by an oxygen machine and take in a canopy of leaves, branches and light.
Images of more projects can be found below, and in our Milan Design Week Gallery.
Set a Seat by Miro Surka
Into the Flowers by Michal Rucinski, Silvia Ciacci e YellowOffice
Milan Traveler's Pot by Joohno Park, Seungyeun Lee, Jinil Hwang
The Silence Cone by DESIGNO-Patagonia
Even more from the Public Design Festival on Flickr.