Festivals and events have always been a great way to attract people to public spaces and create a vibrant and social atmosphere. An important consideration that is sometimes overlooked is how they can be creatively or appropriately integrated into their physical surroundings. A noteworthy example that illustrates this potential is a temporary farmer’s market at the Sforzesco Castle in Milan.
Part of Expo Days, an extensive series of events related to Milan’s upcoming Expo 2015, the Castle hosted a Slow Food market that focused on agriculture and sustainability. At this event the public was able to sample and purchase food products from local farmers and learn about the Slow Food movement.
Perhaps most unique was the spatial experience of this event. Utilizing a space that is otherwise closed off to the public, the Slow Food market took place in the Castle’s former moat. Visitors would walk down to the sunken area and engage various vendors as they navigated around the castle.
Unlike many other historic sites in other parts of the world, the Sforzesco Castle is used as public event space on a regular basis. Other high-profile events that take place here are the Milan Film Festival, the Milan Gelato Festival, and various events during Fashion Week. By utilizing the Castle, an important landmark of the city, events are infused with the historic character and identity of Milan.
The Slow Food market at Castle Sforzesco clearly illustrates the potential for contextual integration of public events as well as the value of utilizing historic features.
All images by the author.
Denim Pascucci is an environmental designer who specializes in the intersection of architecture, landscape, and urban design. Inspired by the social potential of cities and public space, he has travelled extensively and recently completed postgraduate studies in Milan before relocating to Toronto. He is currently a contributing writer for ArchDaily.