Labyrinth, vestibule, hallway: there are myriad terms by which to reference a building’s entranceway, and such an array only serves to highlight how distinctly underrated they are. In Italy, they are known as ingressi – an elegant term which mirrors the majesty of Milan’s many exquisite hallways – and they are also the subject of new coffee table book, Karl Kolbitz’ Entryways of Milan, published by Taschen, which launches this month. Goethe once wrote, “Every beginning is cheerful; the threshold is the place of expectation,” and it’s this approach to a hallway as a discreetly powerful and potent space that occupies the book’s approach.
Since the 1500s, Milan has been dubbed the ‘ugly city’ – its 20th century foray into industrialism only furthered the city’s functionalist sensibility towards design. Austere though the metropolis’ exteriors may have been – Milan lacked the ornate, stuccoed decoration of Rome, Naples or Florence – its interiors were indeed resplendent. By the 1950s, Modernism had upgraded Milan’s aristocratic residences, inciting descriptions like ‘paradises on earth,’ or ‘Città Meneghina’ in Italian. Gio Ponti wall sconces, Botticino limestone staircases and Umberto Riva pendant lamps fill these inviting images of hallways and will serve as endless interiors inspiration on this Monday morning. If the emerald, ochre and oxblood tones of Italian Modernism don’t stir you, and the ocean-deep blue of these marble corridors doesn’t set you mentally redecorating your dream home, then there’s just no hope.
Entryways of Milan will be available from April 10, 2017, published by Taschen.