Exhibition | Events

All cities that host great global events reflect on how these occasions can help them talk about themselves.
Creating a brand is more than just making a graphic design to express it, for it is a process that explores the symbolism and creation of an identity. Conveying an identity means examining its historical development and telling a story that can bring out its true symbolic heritage. Milan is taking the opportunity offered by Expo 2015 to renovate its public brand identity and to give contemporary relevance to the story it has to tell.
The construction of the brand is not just about telling a story, for it is also based on how the city is perceived by its inhabitants; it involves the image of the city in the minds of Italians and of people around the world, and how the city is positioned in international city image and reputation rankings.

The Programme

An initial policy seminar in July 2012, in the presence of the Mayor of Milan, Giuliano Pisapia, launched the Milan Brand Committee with volunteer members representing society, the professions and the universities, to plan and direct the programme of events.
In 2013 the municipal Tourism, Trade, Marketing and Business department promoted an agreement with La Triennale di Milano to implement a work programme.

The Surveys

Surveys carried out between the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 led to results concerning:

  • The perception of identity among residents, commuters and city users;
  • The perception of the image of the city among Italians and people around the world;
  • Media coverage of the city (also examining foreign press correspondence from Milan)
  • The position of Milan in international rankings of “city image and reputation”.


The Exhibition at La Triennale di Milano

The Milan Brand Committee and La Triennale di Milano put on an exhibition called The Identity of Milan (8 April to 2 June 2014) based on 14 identity-related topics identified by the surveys.
The exhibition display, which was based on the Milan Brand Committee’s indications and policy, was designed by Michele De Lucchi and consisted of the following sections:
-The City Crest
-The Symbolic Heritage of the People
-Icons of Art
-Historic and Modern Buildings
-Key Sites
-Two Hundred Native and Adoptive Milanese
-The Origin of the Name Milan
-21 illustrations commissioned from 6 illustrators added a further dimension to the exhibition.
Julia Binfield, Beppe Giacobbe, Emiliano Ponzi, Guido Scarabottolo, Michele Tranquillini, and Olimpia Zagnoli freely interpreted 14 themes of identity.
These illustrations were reproduced on seven scenic towers, designed by Michele De Lucchi, which were placed in seven city squares between April and June 2014.

Events in the City

From Monday 26 May to Sunday 1 June 2014, the seven places in the city that had the scenic towers designed by Michele De Lucchi were transformed into seven islands of entertainment. These were places where the people of Milan could come together to watch performances that reinterpreted the most characteristic themes of the city.
The seven venues involved were the Arco della Pace, Via Ampere, Piazza Duca D’Aosta, Piazza Gae Aulenti, Piazza San Fedele, Piazzale Teatro Arcimboldi and Parco Solari.
Curated by Fondazione Milano – Teatro Scuola Paolo Grassi, under the direction of Massimo Navone, in collaboration with the Milano Civica Scuola di Musica, Milano Lingue and Milano Scuola di Cinema e Televisione.

26 June 2014 – Phase Two, Broadening the Discussion

A meeting was held at the Shoah Memorial to take stock of what had been accomplished and to move the discussion forward on the theme of the brand: the event was organised by inviting those with objective and subjective reasons for sharing the strategy of the Milan Brand and to keep alive the issue of Milanese identity within the community.

The Districts of Milan and Schools

The Identity of Milan exhibition and the programme of shows put on by the Civica Scuola di Teatro Paolo Grassi became a travelling project for the city, to make known and to discover the city’s faces, stories and developments. The project made it possible to take the history and symbolic heritage of the city to four districts and two schools in four districts, showing how they are perceived in the popular imagination.
The exhibition ran from 17 to 21 October at the Ex Fornace, Alzaia Naviglio Pavese 16, in District 6. From 24 to 28 October it moved to the Cascina Monastero in Via Anselmo da Baggio 55, in District 7, before going to the Auditorium of District 3 in Valvassori Peroni 56 from 31 October to 4 November.
The shows were held on 17 and 18 October at the Ex Fornace, on 24 and 25 October at the Cascina Monastero, and on 31 October at the Auditorium in District 3. A further show was held on 29 November in District 9 at the Biblioteca Affori, Villa Litta.
As well as being shown in various city districts, the project also involved two schools in Milan, the Istituto Comprensivo Bruno Munari and the Istituto Alberghiero Lagrange.