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FROM FACTORIES TO DESIGN. The evolution of Tortona District.


Zona Tortona is one of the most characteristic neighborhoods of Milan. At the beginning of the twentieth century this quadrilateral of design was the site of factories, artisanal workshops and railing houses inhabited by the workers and their families. The Porta Genova station, which operated as a freight yard, was connected by tracks to the various industrial warehouses that faced via Tortona and supplied daily the necessary materials. Even today there are the remains of some tracks in the adjacent streets to testify the past of the Tortona area. A past that brings this Milanese reality closer to those typical of nineteenth-century industrial London. The taverns, the bowling club and the after work circles animated the whole area. The life of the neighborhood was punctuated by the noise of the factories and by that of the train convoys that transported the goods for the companies.

At the end of the 1960s, the industrial sector went through a crisis that led to the abandonment of factories and the consequent movement of activities away from the city. However, district abandonment is avoided thanks to a new phase of renewal. The large industrial spaces are redeveloped and become the seat of photographic studios, showrooms, ateliers, lofts and fashion houses. The district finds a new life demonstrating its incredible cultural and artistic vocation. An evolution that starts from afar, just from those ancient craft workshops that represented the essence of creativity and that are currently less and less.

The original urban transformation has led to a strong territorial identity of the Tortona area, which by linking its name to important events such as the Milan Design Week and the Fashion Week has made the district famous throughout the world. This cross-section of the city is unique and inimitable as the tradition of the past visible in the typical industrial architecture of the buildings and in the typical houses of railing live alongside modern activities and marketing strategies of the various international brands that populate the neighborhood today.

Torneria Tortona's spaces represent the strongest testimony of this change and at the same time maintain a direct line with the district's artisan past. The locations with the typical high ceilings, the old-fashioned skylights and the ancient workshop of the Traviganti Family, present in the structure, are a mix between the innovation of design, the modernity of new trends, the fashion elegance of clothing and the creative tradition of small workshops. All in one location that has been able to embody the evolution of the Tortona area. Much of the area, once occupied by the workers, is now used for events of any kind in the world of fashion and design, alongside that small creative workshop that has remained unchanged since the 50s to witness how past, present and future they can live together in the same space.