One of the best ways to bring coherence to multiple spaces is by repeating motifs in similar applications. We see this in palatial architecture, interior design, and urban planning (think the Hausmannian boulevards of Paris, or the bridges along Amsterdam’s breathtaking canals). One brilliantly simple example of this rule can be found – of all places – in Milan’s municipal sewer drain covers.
While the individual patterning of these sewer grates change at almost every street corner, the consistent reappearance of steel and bronze provide a sense of bespoke urban luxury, feeling both classical in materiality, and modern in simplicity. Like so much of Milan, these varied assemblies remind us of earlier ages dominated by individual craftsmen, but also bring a crisply contemporary aesthetic to a city whose rich history and passion for design is apparent every time we lift our eyes up from our footpaths.