Spotlight on design, fashion and wines at the old tollgates that have come back to life At Piazza Cinque Giornate, the MTV Lombardy wine shop that will toast Expo 2015

23/01/2015 A house of creativity, where exhibitions and meetings are organized, even for young stylists, and a wine shop featuring wines from Milan and the Lombardy region. It will take place in the two former tollgates in the city squares, Piazza XXIV Maggio and in Piazza Cinque Giornate, which the City had invited to tender envisioning them as showcases of all things Italian and an Expo info point

The City’s future plan for the two former toll gates is to give the space to two associations that will have to open their worksites as soon as possible in order to be ready in time for Expo. One of the goals of invitation to tender to transform the old gates into “showcases of the top in Milan products” was also that: not only to bring the tollgates back to life with public activities, stands and events, but also to have info points for tourists in 2015 for the Fair and for the Expo calendar of events.

In Piazza Cinque Giornate, the long-abandoned 140 square meters of space will be come back to life as a wine shop, the first of its kind, featuring wines from Milan and the Lombardy region. In the center of the renovated Piazza XXIV Maggio, two floors will open as a house of creativity: design, fashion, architecture, photography, a “cultural container” where exhibitions and meetings will be organized and where young designers from schools can display their creations.

The tollgates in Piazza Cinque Giornate will come back to life. The abandoned historical building will take on a new life as a wine shop featuring wines from Milan and Lombardy where the best in regional winemaking can be tasted and where it will also be possible to participate in courses and seminars about wine and wine tasting. The project, sponsored by Movimento Turismo del Vino Lombardia, the non-profit association that organizes “Open Cellars” and other wine-culture events, is expecting to have the tollgate restored and open within a few months in time for Expo. “The idea,” explains Carlo Pietrasanta, Movimento Turismo del Vino Lombardia President, “is one of becoming the place that safeguards the typical product of Lombardy.”

A few months ago, Palazzo Marino’s invitation to tender for the free use of the tollgates in Piazza Cinque Giornate, Piazza XXIV Maggio and Piazzale Principessa Clotilde for three years was, in fact, a call to restore the tollgates, which at one time marked the confines of the city and served to control traffic and collect tolls, in time for the Fair entrusting the job to business and professionals who were ready to restructure them.

The first call did not go well. Last summer, Palazzo Marino called for proposals to find a group of businesses and professionals that were able to invest in the restructuring of the three central spaces in exchange for free access for three years: 140 square meters of the south tollgate in Piazza Cinque Giornate, 314 square meters in Piazza XXIV Maggio (west side) and the twin gates (140 square meters in total) in Piazzale Principessa Clotilde. The invitation to tender closed without a winner due to a technicality in the original call to tender.

In November, a second attempt was made with the same guidelines and this time two of the three buildings found new tenants. The MAT Milano Altri Talenti was chosen for the address in Darsena (a three-year plan, the other for the Expo year: the City has drawn up an agreement with the Lega to return its political party office there as it had to be moved for this project).

The project: to make that place a showcase for products that are made in Italy and that is open every day of the week where design and art exhibitions, as well as meetings with architects and leaders in the fashion industry will be organized. The ties with businesses would also permit a further step: to bring Expo tourists to the places where products are made. The winning project for Piazza Cinque Giornate went to Movimento Turismo del Vino Lombardia, a non-profit association which has organized the “Open Cellars” event for years and which will make local products known through guided tastings, courses, and evening events in collaboration with restaurants in addition to local producers of pastries and biscuits, cheese, and salami.