Some of the buildings in Italy are the oldest standing structures in the Western world. Thousands of years of history are sprinkled throughout the country, from the Roman Empire to Medieval cathedrals, Rennaissance palaces, and even Industrial Age rail stations. But that doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been any room for more current creation; and nowhere in Italy is this more true than in Milan, a Northern city widely recognized as a leader in contemporary design.
Davide Chiesa, a practicing interior designer in Milan has had his lifetime to watch this happen:
“You have to know that the skyline of this city has dramatically change in the last five years and finally a skyscraper’s silhouette appeared in the central part of the city. Where once my father brought me when I was a child to the old Luna Park, today we have a totally new area, full of new buildings.”
Change is both exciting and terrifying as we deal with the competing forces of nostalgia and future possibilities. Chiesa’s memories of playing chess with his father in the square could have been seen as being erased by the transformation of the city, but instead, Chiesa chose to integrate the two and explore the layers of time and memory through the creation of a chess set. The very act of creating the chess set is itself a combination of old and new as chess is one of the oldest board games in human history and 3D printing is the arena of the anticipated next innovation.
“The idea that new structures built in the city in the last five years and the existing famous, historical monuments could live together side by side, not only in the physical world but also in a miniature world has been immediately fascinating to me…The exploration of this new land led to the creation of six different chess pieces of a variety of types from skyscrapers to towers to palaces to monuments. In their endless dance, the buildings offer to the observer’s eye the illusion of an urban skyline that is not fixed, but that changes and evolves continuously.”
Each piece is based on a stylized design and has been modified for the square spaces of a chessboard. The King represents the Unicredit Tower and the Queen the Diamant Tower. The bishop slides diagonally across the board as the Velasca Tower while the Knight does his L shaped hop as the Milan Duomo. Appropriately, the rook is the tower of the Sforza Castle and, last but not least, the pawns take the form of the Arco della Pace.
To bring his miniature architectural palimpsest from fantasy to fact, Chiesa turned to the Milan Ideafactor store who were able to produce his pieces on their EOS Formica 110 machine. The sets are available in either the six piece micro version or the full 32 pieces. Chiesa has plans to expand the reach of his irresistible Milanese skyline:
“I’m planning to distribute the chess board here in Milan for the six months of EXPO2015 in shops, museums, and at Expo gates and so on. This project is the first one of a family of three different projects that will also focus on buildings in other parts of Italy as well as around the world (i.e. the Colosseum, the Rialto Bridge, and the Taj Mahal) that will then be edited into five different little skylines of cities on offer as table boards.”
Check out the gallery below of some of the pieces which make up these cleverly designed sets: