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Lavori in Corso

A pop-up exhibition inside a construction site tell the stories around Corso Italia 23, an office building in the center of Milan that is about to change forever.


Role: Editor and curator
Client: Allianz Real Estate
Year: 2019

In 2019, Allianz Real Estate started redeveloping their historical headquarters in Corso Italia 23, right in the centre of Milan, originally designed in the late fifties by masters of Italian architecture Gio Ponti and Piero Portaluppi.

The building will be transformed by global architecture firm Skidmore Owings & Merrill  (SOM) into a state-of-the-art, sustainable work campus and a new focal point for an otherwise sleepy neighbourhood. London-based design agency Something More Near were in charge of branding the project.

Invited by Something More Near to join them as a strategist, I spent a few months researching on the ground: first I ran a workshop with six Milan-based professionals to figure out the future of the area, then I conducted 100 interviews with locals to understand their needs. At the same time, we questioned why the building would stand out on the Milan commercial property market.

During the research process, we came across a lot of interesting material about the building, from the original sketches by Gio Ponti to the new renders by SOM, from old pictures of life inside the building to many stories about the neighbourhood and the city.

We chose an editorial approach to launch the redevelopment. We set up a pop-up exhibition inside the building site, to tell the story of the building, the neighbourhood and the city. 

Titled Lavori in Corso –  Italian for work-in-progress – the exhibition featured video-interviews, images, sketches, facts and figures about the past, present and future of Corso Italia 23. It generated more than 100 articles on Italian and international publications, was visited by more than 700 people over the course of four days and ended with a block party that cemented the building as the beating heart of the neighbourhood.

Agency: Something More Near 
Producer: Martina Uderzo
Writer, Translator: Teresa O’Connell
Researcher: Materia Critica
Photo Editor: Sara Guerrini 

The pictures above are by Marina Rosso and Mattia Buffoli.

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