THE FOUNDATION OVERLOOKS THE AREA OF MILAN’S OLD LAZZARETTO, IN THE MAZE OF STREETS BETWEEN THE CENTRAL STATION AND PORTA VENEZIA.
Made famous by Manzoni’s The Betrothed (“I promessi sposi”), the Lazzaretto was built between the end of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth century as an asylum for the sick during epidemics: a large building that occupyied a rectangular area currently delimited by Via San Gregorio, Viale Vittorio Veneto, Corso Buenos Aires and, on the west side, Via Lazzaretto – where the Foundation is located at number 15.
The only substantial evidence of the old Lazzaretto still remaining today (together with a group of intact recesses between Via San Gregorio and Viale Tunisia, and some sections of walls that were purchased and taken outside of Milan by the Melzi d’Eril and Bagatti Valsecchi families) is the Church of San Carlo al Lazzaretto, once standing at the center of the imposing complex.
The space in which the Foundation is located was discovered years ago by a woman belonging to the enlightened Milanese bourgeoisie, who bought it to give to Lydia Silvestri, sculptor and student of Marino Marini, who for years made it her atelier. It was a perfect environment, extraordinarily airy and bright, with a history behind it; an ideal space for embracing new energy and ideas.
Renovated to adapt to the idea of a place where creative and productive processes are set in motion, Il Lazzaretto is a modular space that functions like a living organism, in which each part is connected and finely tuned to the others.
The Salon (“Il Salotto”) is the place where Il Lazzaretto builds networks and new collaborations, encouraging the exchange of skills, resources, and the creation of a collaborative community.
The Inner Room (“La Camera d’Aria”) is where the ideas born in the salon are gathered, giving them breath, amplitude and structure. Here, the various proposals are meticulously detailed and the suitable people to be involved are identified.
Finally, the Grand Workshop (“La Grande Officina”), characterized by the presence of the old bridge crane, is the space in which projects are implemented: depending on the occasion, it becomes a film club, exhibition space, workshop, gym, museum, arena. Simply, it is the place in which the proposals, developed in the Inner Room, become operational and are presented to the community.