Looking for magic in Milan? You might want to visit the surreal pop-up city built from cardboard boxes, adhesive tape and zip ties by Argentinian-born contemporary artist Daniel González. His “Pop-up Building Milan” installation resembling children's books is a fantastic fable for adults as well. Hidden in the traditional Milanese patio of Marselleria, this work of art reinterprets monumental landmarks of the city by means of simple shapes, naive construction techniques and simple materials.
After his first two pop-up design experiments in Rotterdam and New York City, Daniel González went to Italy to showcase this fresh site-specific installation. His new work nicely plays down to the snobbish Milan, well-known in the world as the capital of classy design and sophisticated architecture, by light-heartedly covering the old walls of Marselleria art space with roughly cut and childish cartons illustrating a fairytale about Milan’s architectural history.
While the installation pays heed to some of the city’s best known design icons such as Velasca and Pirelli Towers and le Fabbriche di Lambrate, many surprising cultural references are mixed up in this work as well.
Besides graphic hints inspired by local buildings, one can find – between the lines – allusions to Bernini’s ephemeral Baroque architecture, to Japanese kirigami cut-and-fold paper practice, as well as enigmatic mandalas powered by electric engines. Indeed, “Pop-up Building Milan” is not a static façade. It is literally rotating and revolving, a moving “melting pot” of numerous cultural excerpts. It is a wonderful realm that grows three-dimensionally.
How long will this animated architecture remain standing? Will the open-air cardboard city survive the rainy weeks of Fall in Milan until the end of October, when the show is finally scheduled to end? The answer lies in the air. After all, contrasting the alluring idea of “they lived happy ever after” with the actual frailty and transiency of our daily dreams appears to be a big part of what González’s installation strives to convey. It is up to us, then, to hear it or not – like magic.
Images via Maria Novozhilova for Inhabitat