Vetra Building: urban renewal through art

In Milan, a project on multiple levels combines public art, graphic design and architecture. And brings new life to a corner of the city full of beauty but somewhat forgotten

Vetra Passage, Milano, Design Cabaret Typographie
Vetra Passage, Milano, Design Cabaret Typographie

An important step has been taken in the operation of conversion of the former civic tax office at Piazza della Vetra in Milan, facing the so-called “park of the basilicas.” The construction has a new name, Vetra Building, and now contains offices. And an outdoor space has just been opened: the Vetra Passage, previously an unadorned pedestrian walkway connecting the park to Via Wittgens, has become a public art attraction.

From time to time the white walls will host works by leading graphic design studios, in collaboration with students from the fine arts academies and universities of Milan.

X by Patrick Tuttofuoco
X by Patrick Tuttofuoco

The project organized by AXA IM Alts (the company that has carried out the refurbishing of the Vetra Building since 2016), based on an idea and the art direction of Artribune Produzioni, curated by Helga Marsala, in partnership with the architecture firm Il Prisma and NABA, Nuova Accademia Belle Arti, becomes the next phase after the luminous installation X by the artist Patrick Tuttofuoco, placed on the façade of the building in November 2021.

The first protagonists of the renewal of Vetra Passage are the graphic designers of Cabaret Typographie, who will focus on the graphic design of the first volume of a series on the initiative, printed by Bonvini 1909.

ABCrowel, poster – Design Cabaret Typographie
Coexistence, poster – Design cabaret Typographie

Operating in Milan and Paris, the graphic designers have organized a workshop to establish dialogue with a group of students in the three-year program of Painting and Visual Arts of NABA. The themes and stimuli emerging from this discussion have led to the creation of fiberglass wallpaper produced by the wallcovering brand beWall: 50 square meters of surface, to clad the Vetra Passage in the months to come.

Based on geometric patterns interpreted in a lively color combination, the project gives the neighborhood a totally new look for this gathering and meeting place, to benefit not only the local context, but also all the inhabitants of Milan passing through the area.