Making an entrance: Milan’s sumptuous modernist hallways

Making an entrance: Milan’s sumptuous modernist hallways

Editor and art director Karl Kolbitz first became fascinated with Milan’s everyday architecture as a teenager, when he would regularly visit the city and explore its perimeters by foot. He was in awe of the Milanese magnificence, but later realised that little attention had been paid to its outstanding array of modernist entryways. So he decided to put together a book about them, now published by Taschen, titled Entryways of Milan.

If you were in Milan last week, chances are you will have missed some of the city’s finest designs: over 384 pages, Kolbitz picks out some of the quintessential corridors of the Modern era, revealing a side of the city that is usually concealed from view, unless you happen to live in one of the residential buildings that contain ‘the city’s most hidden treasures’. Among the sumptuous ingressi are Renaissance-inspired tile designs by Gio Ponti, textured glass panels by Trieste-based Fontana Arte, or Milanese studio BBPR’s dramatic rearrangements of the elements of the conventional entrance hall.

Via Gabrio Serbelloni 10, Palazzo Sola-Busca, designed by Aldo Andreani, 1924–30

Rare and local materials are identified by stone experts Angela Ehling and Grazia Signori, such as Carrarra marble, Botticino and Benedetto limestone, or Tivoli travertine, all contributing to the elegance and history of these entrances, part of a post-war period of technological advances in stone cutting, metalwork and ceramics combined with aesthetic innovation.

‘This book wishes to represent for its readers the way in which the ingressi stand as a piece of punctuation to the architectural and design accomplishments of the city’s modern history,’ writes Kolbitz, of his motivation to capture the city as it appears behind closed doors. It is, too, a reflection on the Milanese approach to design, placing prominence on the interior, and the feeling you get when you arrive home. As the book reveals, hallways are perhaps the unknown hallmark of Milanese design.

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