Architects and designers are being asked to devise social-distancing devices to allow Milan’s bars, shops and public spaces to reopen safely following the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
Spacers to keep people apart, signs to remind people to distance, and layouts for indoor and outdoor spaces are needed to help the city, which has been in lockdown since 8 March, begin to restart.
The Commune di Milano is including a creative consultation as part of plans to reopen commercial and public spaces.
“We need the imagination of designers, architects and creatives to find solutions capable of reconciling security and social distancing with needs for socialising and conviviality of people and for the use of shops and services,” said councillor for commerce Cristina Tajani.
“What we want to achieve is a register of ideas and projects, aimed particularly at small and medium-sized companies, which facilitate collaboration between private subjects and, in particular, between creatives, designers, planners and traders for the reorganisation of the layout of commercial space.”
The request follows a global call from the UN and the World Health Organisation (WHO) asking creatives to make visual aids to spread health advice during the pandemic.
Dutch studio Shift Architecture Urbanism has already created a model for a food market that allows people to shop while keeping social distancing rules.
Companies, organisations, institutions and freelancers are all invited to submit their ideas, which will be gathered into a digital catalogue for Milanese traders to look at to find solutions for their situations.
The consultation will remain open for the duration of the coronavirus crisis, with the council periodically reviewing the submissions and putting them forward to the guide.
Milan’s promotion agency YesMilano has already created a video to encourage residents to embrace the gradual end of lockdown.
Featuring the Italian and Tunisian rapper Ghali, residents of all ages are shown putting on their face masks and returning to the city centre under the motto “one step at a time”.
Northern Italy, where Milan is located, was particularly badly effected by the coronavirus. Milan was forced to cancel its annual design festival Salone del Mobile, which usually attracts half a million visitors to the city.
But after eight weeks of lockdown, the capital is beginning to reopen.
Some of the city’s covered markets re-opened yesterday, 7 May, to begin selling food again. Factories and construction sites are allowed to reopen, but theatres, shops, gyms and salons are still shut.
To help people commute and exercise, 22 miles of new cycling lanes have been set up on the roads, with plans to temporarily pedestrianise selected neighbourhoods.
Images courtesy of YesMilano.