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An ode to the Modernist entryways of Milan

In a new book Entryways of Milan, editor Karl Kolbitz takes us over the thresholds of 144 of the city’s most dazzling entrance halls. Restrained façades give way to sumptuous examples of Italian Modernism, replete with bold colours and geometric murals. In this short essay for The Spaces, Kolbitz muses on the meaning of the architectural welcome.

An entrance has a double meaning: on the one hand it is a protective barrier, and on the other it is an inviting gesture. It choreographs bodies as they enter and exit a building.

The entryway is always theatrical, a proscenium to that which it stands to announce, sometimes quietly, sometimes loudly.

Achille Luigi Ferraresi. 1952–57 Sconce by Velini. Ceramic door handles by Ceramica San Paolo, Venezia. Floor: Botticino limestone and Verona Rosso limestone (c) Paola Pansini
Achille Luigi Ferraresi, 1952–57.  Photography: Paola Pansini

No where is this more apparent than in Milan, where appearances are of utmost importance and first impressions count. What is most striking about these liminal spaces – where inside and outside are in constant dialogue – is the sheer diversity of their designs: no two entrances look the same.

This is achieved through the imagination of their architects, but also through the refined craftsmanship and tradition of stone masons, blacksmiths, ceramists and carpenters, among many others. The contribution of designers and artists lead to the ingressi being spaces of synthesis, with each entryway acting as a Gesamtkunstwerk.

Entryways of Milan is published by Taschen and is out now

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