Milan Christmas City Park. Scattered all over the centre of Milan, 101 stylized Christmas trees, created in recyclable plastic and decorated by artists, designers, stylist and creative people. The initiative is called Christmas City Park and adheres to the United Nations Environment Program (UREP), Plants for the Planet, a global campaign aimed at planting at least a billion trees all over the world. When the event closes on January 6 there will be a silent auction, which aims to collect funds for environmental support and sustainable urban development. Seen here Elio Fiorucci’s In Love with Santa Claus, which was appropriately placed on the Galleria Passarella, where in 1967 he opened the first Fiorucci department store. You can see Piazza San Babila in the background.
Via della Spiga by night. I must say that the fashionable Via della Spiga home to the worlds luxury boutiques looked very discreet dressed in white lights.
Detail. The Christmas tree at the top of Via della Spiga on the corner of Corso Venezia. Though the Town Hall made an effort to decorate Milan for the holidays, the Italians have never really felt the holiday spirit.
Cova. Another of my favorite places in Milan for coffee and gourmand shopping is Cova on the trendy Via Montenaopleone. They also make the best Panettone, Italian Christmas cake. The pastry shop and tearoom was founded in 1817. Seen in the window, one of the many panettoni covered in marzipan, this one depicting a Father Christmas on a see saw with an “unusual” type of dog or animal
Red Christmas flowers - Aspesi. Aspesi on the Via Montenapoleone is one of a few boutiques that sells fresh flowers. Another unusual spot where you can buy fresh flowers is in the Fioraio Bianchi Caffe on the Piazza Mirabella in Brera.
Detail. In Aspesi, you can also buy amusing objects or toys, like these old fashioned snow globes.
White Christmas flowers. I bought this bunch of white hyacinths in Piazza San Babila. I loved they way the “florist” put them together with magnolia leaves. A very unusual and chic composition.
Lula. Here is the detail of the window of Lula Cioccolato, it is my all time favorite chocolate shop. The panettone in the window is a hollow chocolate panettone, the inside “walls” are covered in just the right ratio of chocolate and whole hazelnuts to make it irresistible. There is also a silver surprise gift inside and it comes in an elegant white square box tied with a red ribbon and a porte bonheur. Another seasonal chocolate gift is the Christmas tree box, which can be filed with the most delicious, and unusual chocolates.
Detail. This product is nicknamed “Overdose” and it’s a 2.5 Kilo jar of Crema Gianduia, or hazelnut chocolate cream, it is to be eaten by the spoonful. It’s wicked!
The Triennale of Milan – The new Design Museum opening. At Last a museum in the world capital of design dedicated to design itself. Situated in a section of The Triennale, the Design Museum can be reached by a bamboo bridge especially designed by Michele de Lucchi, who also designed the museum space. The inaugural show is entitled The Obsessions of Italian Design and can be seen until April 2009. The exhibition was conceived and designed by Italo Rota and English film director, Peter Greenaway. The opening night was packed with about four thousand people, very difficult to see the exhibition, but great fun socially.
Seen in the Design Museum. One of the hundred pieces on show is this legendary Ettore Sottsass bookcase, designed for Memphis in 1981.
Seen at the Design Museum opening - The President. The President of The Triennale, Davide Rampello describes the space “Unique in it’s kind in Italy, The DesignMuseum will change its contents every year. The only stable thing is the desire to give the public information about Italian design and about it’s social importance.”
Seen at the Design Museum opening - The designers. Alberto Meda’s Titania lamp for Luceplan is one of the hundred objects exhibited in the show. Denis Santachiara is known for his work on the borders between art and design.
Seen at the Design Museum opening – The professor and the designer. Professor and architect, Arturo Dell’Acqua Bellavitis, not only lectures in design at Milan Polytechnic but is also the vice-president of the Triennale. In March next year, provocateur designer, Fabio Novembre, will have a retrospective of his designs at the Rotonda della Besana.
Seen at the Design Museum opening – The architect and the artist. Architect, Paolo Lomazzi and artist Diego Esposito were among the 4,000 guests at the opening of the Design Musuem.
The Agora Theatre. The Agora Theatre was designed by Italo Rota. It is situated in the heart of the museum. It is lined in wood and the lighting system is composed of fifty-two monitors.
Seen at the Design Museum opening – The Architects.Italo Rota and Franco Raggi stand face to face for my photo. Italo conceived and designed the inaugural exhibition entitled, The Obessions of Italian Design, with Peter Greenaway.
Seen at the Design Museum opening - The expat architect. British award-winning industrial designer, George Sowden, has lived in Italy since 1971. He started his career in Italy working for Olivetti and later was part of Sottsass’s Memphis Group.
Seen at the Design Museum opening – The fashion designers. Tai and Rosita Missoni, with their grandson, Francesco can often bee seen at art and design openings. They like to keep in touch and be inspired by everything that is creative.
Seen at the Design Museum opening – The design couple. Nicoletta and Andrea Branzi. The distinguished architect Andrea Branzi is the Design Museum’s Scientific Director. Nicoletta Branzi, is well known in her own right as an artist, researcher and designer, her best internationally known client is Muji.
Seen at the Design Museum opening – The publisher and the designer.L’Europeo magazine publisher, Michela Vecchiato and designer Paola Coin. The Europeo dedicated a whole issue to Italian design in honor of the new Design Museum opening. Paola's table-top designs are produced under the name Paola C.
Seen at the Design Museum opening – The entrepreneur and his children. Ernesto Gismondi, president of the internationally successful Artemide Group, which produces the best designed Italian lamps, was seen with his three children; Carolina, the student, Michele, the a merchant banker and Valentina the lawyer.
Seen at the Design Museum opening - The anchorman.Anchorman, Alessandro Cecchi Paone brushing up on design history.
Seen at the Design Museum opening – The artist. Guido Venturiniwas a very talented designer and made up the King Kong design duo, with Stefano Giovannoni, but his love of art took precedence and now he concentrates mostly on his paintings.
Seen at the Design Museum opening – The socialite.Marta Marzotto is often seen at the most mundane openings. Her wit and glamour match the size of the fantastic jewelry she designs. Note the size of these emeralds.
Palazzo Dona delle Rose – A Private concert. A private classical Indian music concert was held, by candlelight, in the salone of the piano nobile of Palazzo Dona delle Rose. It was the last stop of the maestri Purbayan Chatterjee, sitar and Anindo Chatterjee, tabla European tour. The music was hypnotizing and very sexy, and the venue very romantic. Anindo is in a class by himself born with rhythm in his soul and in his fingers, he often plays with Ravi Shankar. Whereas, according to Matt Hall of The Telegraph, London “Purbayan’s virtuosity and mercurial invention are nothing short of astounding.” An evening to remember.
Seen at the concert. In the main salone on the piano nobile, our host, Count Nicolo Dona delle Rose poses with his ancestor, Count Leonardo, who built the palazzo in 1605, and later became Doge. The palazzo is the only palazzo left in Venice that still belongs to the same family.
Seen at the concert. Artist and designer, Laura Di Santillana with Maestro tabla player Anindo Chatterjee. George Harrison said about him “Anindo Chatterjee’s brilliant tabla does both a percussive and harmonic service to the music.”
Seen at the dinner. Viola Romani Adami designs jewelry and also sings in a band called Best, which stands for Blue Eyed Soul Team; the band plays only sixties music. Needless to say, Viola is wearing her own jewelry, the rings are called India and Carnival, “I always name my pieces.” she explained.
Seen at the dinner. Attractive applied arts expert, Fiammetta Fazio, works in Venice for Finarte auction house. She is wearing a pair of earrings that Viola Romani Adami made especially for her. Viola called the pair “archeologia”.
The Family Setter. Misty was waiting patiently for the guests to finish their late dinner to be taken out for his midnight “walkies” by Count Nicolo.
The dinner. An improvised delicious curry dinner was offered to the guests after the concert in the Palazzo’s pale pink and green stuccoed dinning room.
Contessnally tip: click on the photo to see a bigger image.
The Hostess. As many of the guests came for the concert in San Marco from out of town and from over the “pond”. The day after, Franca Coin gave a classic Italian-style luncheon, for one hundred guests, in her home, on the piano nobile, in Palazzo Barbaro, overlooking the Grand Canal. The gracious hostess gave each guest a porte bonheur, an Indian chain made out of little stuffed fabric birds strung together with bells and beads.
Detail. Keep it simple. Carpaccio, grilled vegetable, seafood salad, mozzarella and baby tomatoes, were all part of a light, healthy and dietetic and much appreciated menu.
Note. How the forks are laid out in rows.
Detail. I love, not only the way the napkins “fan” out, but also the exquisite lace on these fine linen napkins.
The Deserts. Keep it simple. Franca’s mother handed down the recipes for these delicous homemade crostate to Franca’s cook. Needless to say, the jam that goes into the tarts is homemade too.
Detail. Note how the pineapple is beautifully cut and presented. So chic.
Aperitif. Keep it simple. And, make sure to include non-alcoholic drinks for your guests. When you are having a big party get plenty of help.
Note: How each type of glass, sits separately on it’s own tray.
The Orchids. One hundred orchids get the best view of the Grand Canal and the sunshine from the double windows. And, they also come in handy as centerpieces.
Seen at the Luncheon. One of the hundred guests who flew to Venice from New York especially for Verdi’s Requiem Mass was Tony award-winning Broadway director, choreographer, film director, and performer, Susan Stroman. Having just finished directing and choreographing the Broadway hit musical, Young Frankenstein, Susan was taking a break before going to Seattle to work with the Pacific Northwest Ballet in a new ballet inspired by Dave Brubach’s Take Five hit.
Seen inside San Marco. Octogenarian grande dame Toto Badini Borromeo, who works relentlessly for her children’s charity UVI(UnioneVolontari per l’Infanzia e l’Adolescenza).
Seen inside San Marco. Artist, Fabrizio Plessiand his beautiful wife Carla, the most sought after couple in Venice.
Seen inside San Marco. Vintner, Giovanni Gregoletto and his wife Virginia, donated their Ombra Prosecco wine for the cocktail party held in the Museo Correr prior to the concert, arrive in the Basilica.
Seen inside San Marco. Venice’s most glamorous hotelier, Francesca Bortolotti Possati CEO of The Bauer Hotel.
The Cupola. The proceeds from the concert go towards the restoration of the Cupola ofCreation. The cupola is also known as the Cupola of Angels because in each of the seven segments winged figures are depicted. The Cupola of Creation is the work of Venetian artisans who learnt the art of mosaics from the Byzantines in the XIII Century. Legend has it, that Marco Polo used to go into San Marco and spend hours "reading" the stories told in the spectacular gold mosaics."