Behind closed doors: Milan's modernist hallways

Karl Kolbitz embarks on an photographic journey through Milan’s modernist entrance halls, reflecting that first impressions really do count

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The Independent Culture

The importance of 20th-century Italian design is well documented, but Berlin-based editor Karl Kolbitz presents a fresh take on Milan’s architectural heritage by exploring the often ignored realm of entryways that quietly define the city’s identity.

Kolbitz considers each entrance hall, or ingresso, to be “a piece of punctuation to the architectural accomplishments of the city’s modern history”.

After growing up in the concrete jungle of reunified Berlin, he became intrigued by Milan’s beauty, and developed an interest in the role of architecture on our everyday lives.

These gateways between the public and private space; both joining and separating, neither interior or exterior, are widely discussed in architectural circles, but the entryway also provides a snapshot of people’s everyday lives.

For Kolbitz, “Milan is a city that draws you in, that shows itself while screening itself at the same time. It is at once private, grandiloquent and refined.”

While it may lack the magnificent palaces of Rome or Florence, the discreet charm of the city’s ingressi shine through.

“Every beginning is cheerful; the threshold is the place of expectation,” Goethe once said, and Milan's entry halls do not disappoint. The following photographs, taken by Delfino Sisto Legnani, Paola Pansini and Matthew Billings, take you on a tour of Italy’s fashion capital behind closed doors:

Karl Kolbitz's book, Entryways of Milan, published by Taschen, is available on their website: taschen.com

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