The #fondazione #Prada in #Milan is beautiful. Here is why...

Since last May, Milan has a new hot spot for #art and #architecture lovers: the Fondazione Prada.

The new Fondazione, designed by Rem Koolhaas, is exactly what Milan needed: an international (yet not globalized) place where high art is displayed in a straight-forward but very inspiring way, and where contemporary emotions are created through classic sobriety.

There are many reasons why the new Fondazione Prada is so beautiful.

* It is brave - located in the Milan outskirts, it counts only on the quality of its program to attract visitors

* It's very Milanese but also cosmopolitan - it is difficult to figure out what was recently built and what wasn't. Not because the new buildings copy the past. They don't. On the contrary, through modern materials and shapes they create a link to classical proportions and hint to a timeless, elegant sobriety.

* Its architecture suggests a choral approach of design through diversity as if its purpose was (it most probably is) to help the mind opening up. The best way to experience art...

* It creates strong emotions using subtle illusions - what looks like concrete are actually perforated slabs of aluminum foam, the tiles of the courtyard are made of wood, the statues in the Podium are positioned on transparent plexiglass blocks (and, on the first floor, some Cariatides are suggestively suspended in the void).

All of this stuns you – but only if you have the patience to observe it slowly.

And delayed wow effects are oh so much stronger…

The Fondazione Prada café is called Bar Luce and was designed by film director Wes Anderson.

Anderson has re-created the atmosphere of a historical Milanese café of the 50s, using formica tables, ceiling decorations reproducing the Vittorio Emanuele Gallery, perfectly functional juke box and pinballs.

But the real beauty of the bar is all in its position, at the heart of the Fondazione: here, toying with contrasts, it contributes to create the variety and architectural complexity that, according to Koolhaas, is the necessary requirement for an avant-guard cultural institution.

Texts by Laura Traldi, originally published on my Design@Large designlarge-d.blogautore.repubblica.it Images by Laura Traldi and Fondazione Prada

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