Food, and beauty, for all
Thirteen tables designed by big names were auctioned by Sotheby’s last December to help fund a new refectory for the poor in the Greco district of Milan. The dining hall will be open during the first months of EXPO 2015 as a space for meeting and sharing, with 40 of the most famous chefs creating recipes using the surplus of ingredients from EXPO. The idea was conceived by director David Rampello and chef Massimo Bottura who then involved the Diocese of Milan and Caritas Ambrosiana. The Ambrosian Church will continue to run the project after July not just as a refectory, but also a place for cultural events, food education and art throughout the district and the city of Milan.
The restoration and renovation of a former theater annexed to the church of San Martino is entrusted to the Politecnico of Milan and involves the construction of a professional kitchen as well as a large central hall with tables each designed by famous international designers, where the meals will be served. The interior and exterior will be enhanced by the works of prominent contemporary Italian artists, and at the entrance, a portal more than 5 meters high, designed by Mimmo Paladino, will be flanked by a neon sign "No more excuses" (quoting Maurizio Nannucci). Inside, there is a large fresco by Alessandro Cucchi and work by Carlo Benvenuto inspired by the theme of bread.
The new refectory emphasizes the right of every person to live with beauty and dignity. "It will represent - explains Caritas Ambrosina - a space in which the beauty of the act of supplying food and comfort is manifested in an atmosphere enhanced by the best of contemporary Italian art and design. The poor have a right to a dignified life and the Refectory will host them in a ‘good’ and beautiful space: good because it is supportive, but also beautiful because beauty creates relationships and dialogue, as well as emotions.”
The fifteen designers who have designed the tables, which have been produced in a limited edition by Riva1920 are: Mario Bellini, Pierluigi Cerri with Philippe Casens, Aldo Cibic, Antonio Citterio, Michele De Lucchi, Terry Dwan, Giulio Iacchetti, Piero Lissoni, Alessandro Mendini Fabio Novembre, Franco and Matteo Origoni, Italo Rota, Patricia Urquiola.
Photo Credits: Marco Scarpa
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