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How to open a business in pandemic: Scalo Lambrate in Milan

Interview with the organizers of the urban recovery project that will revive the north-east district

How to open a business in pandemic: Scalo Lambrate in Milan Interview with the organizers of the urban recovery project that will revive the north-east district

The former warehouses of the Lambrate railway station, in Milan, will be in the coming weeks the epicenter of an ambitious urban recovery project that, starting from the creation of a shared social space in the ancient abandoned heart of the neighborhood, will become angry throughout the surrounding area giving a further boost to the recovery of a part of the city so far marginalized. After 2020, the year of Milan Interrupted, the opening of Scalo Lambrate means a fresh start for the city. The huge space of 1,500 square meters has in fact been renovated according to a sustainable work plan, with recovery of waste materials, reduction of consumption and renunciation of the use of plastic materials, and will host an art gallery, a co-working, a radio station, a wellness area and an urban garden. In addition, there will also be a restaurant and bar that will carry the signature of the Roman eco-retrat The Sanctuary, which more than a restaurant is an all-round lifestyle project also expressed through gastronomy. The opening of the venue is set for February 28th, but starting from February 25th there will also be a photographic exhibition by Maurizio Spucches entitled Once upon a time in 2020.

The opening of Scalo Lambrate represents an important step forward in the transformation of Milan into the smart city it wants to be – especially since it is one of the first urban recovery projects to take place following a philosophy of pure sustainability. This project, together with the sustainable skyscrapers that will soon appear on the city skyline, also represents a new perspective for urban architecture, which is getting closer and closer to the philosophy of the circular economy.

To tell us about the project, the editorial staff of nss magazine asked some questions to Fabio Lucarelli, head of the cultural association Formidabile Lambrate who, together with City Hall 3, the Municipality of Milan, The Sanctuary and FS Sistemi Urbani, promoted and followed this urban regeneration project.

Scalo Lambrate is an urban regeneration project that arrives in Milan at the moment of restart after the pandemic. What can such a project do for the city at this juncture? 

It will certainly give a strong signal of recovery and rebirth not only for the Lambrate district. Our project has the ambition to become a cultural and entertainment hub of reference for the entire city. The Formidable association will continue and give new impetus to the regeneration of the suburbs started by Lambrate Design District, perhaps also dictating new rules for the recovery of the city's railway stations.

What are the main challenges of building a fully sustainable urban regeneration project during the pandemic? 

It couldn't be otherwise in a historical period like this. The planet is sending us constant messages of help in this regard. I think Scalo Lambrate can become an example to the city.  Thanks to its space and versatility, Lambrate is among the few districts of Milan that has at its disposal large public and private urban areas that allow to carry out activities in safety. The various areas of the district allow functional flexibility and speed in responding to the various needs dictated by the global Covid contingency.

Your programs revolve around the physical and mental well-being of the human being and the environment. Do you think that after the lockdown the welfare needs of milanese have changed? 

I believe that without a doubt the lockdown has brought out, not only in Milan, but all over the world, primarily the need for continuous and reliable computer accessibility. Having said that, I believe that after months of lockdown the need to connect with the outside world and with nature, has become an essential necessity for achieving psychophysical well-being. Especially for this reason we will encourage the activities for the well-being of the body and mind foreseen in our large outdoor space. There are yoga, mindfulness and meditation courses, botanical workshops for the correct use of medical herbs, restructuring, depurative and osteopathic treatments, emotional dance and of course cooking lessons.

Scalo Lambrate owns a restaurant. In your lifestyle vision, what is the role of gastronomy? 

Scalo Lambrate's kitchen will be curated by the Sanctuary of Rome, our partner in this redevelopment project. It will be characterized, as usual, by the use of high quality ingredients from all over the world, with a Mediterranean touch, thus giving life to a healthy, organic and gourmet cuisine interpreted by their chefs. A contemporary way of eating always attentive to innovative proposals that evolve in step with the society around us.

In your project sustainability and building a community are two concepts that go hand in hand. What is the role of communities in the smart city that Milan aspires to be?

The formidable association's action aims to create a neighborhood community and beyond, transcending geographical limits and bringing individuals together based on a value and cultural system that ideally makes Lambrate a territory bordering New York, Shanghai and Amsterdam. The boundaries of the Smart City go beyond the traditional definitions of urban perimeter. Milan aims to be a city that dialogues on an equal footing with all the cities of the world that share the same characteristics. Digital is and will be a meeting point and exchange.