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Posts tagged ‘Skyline’

Magnificent Milano (Part 6): Stazione Centrale

It’s not often when you leave a city that you start snapping away with your camera, but with the stupendous scale and majesty of its liberty-style architecture, the Stazione Centrale of Milan makes for one hell of a farewell. Inaugurated in 1931, and heavily influenced by the onset of Italy’s Fascist age of might and power, the building pronounces Milan and Italy a true powerhouse of the modern age and a gateway to the advanced engineering which meant that Milan was connected through vast railway tunnels running North through the Alps, and along endless expanses of track traversing the Italian peninsula.

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It’s hard to know where to look. While passengers may be accustomed to concentrating on the departures board, Milan’s central station is itself a masterpiece of art which beckons the viewer to look beyond the travel information and up into the soaring 72 metre height of its great loft ceilings, and over the art deco lines and cubist sculptures which represent, in very Fascist terms, the will of the worker and the strength of Milan as Italy’s industrial capital.

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The station is mightily impressive. You have to traverse three huge entrance porticos before you even reach the 24 platforms, each bigger than the one before and displaying new feats of architectural engineering and decorative brilliance. What can be termed as “halls” are each double the size of your average city train station, and pack their punch in aesthetic excellence and awe-inspiring impact.

It made leaving Milan that sunny blue-sky day all the more difficult, but think how it must impress as a gateway to the city? Whether it be political propaganda or a testament to design, the Stazione Centrale is a true icon of its age, and seeing it was a magnificent end to our Milanese Odyssey. Arrivederci Milano… we will return to revel in your splendour one day soon.

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© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2011-2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Magnificent Milano (Part 4): The Duomo, Rooftop forest

In fashioning the most extravagantly elegantly shaped dresses and forging trends to go bankrupt for, the designers of Milan are merely following in the footsteps of their city forefathers who constructed a Cathedral to wow, inside and out. And while their objective was most certainly achieved in all the most conspicuous of places, they didn’t fall short of embellishing even those sections seen more regularly by the birds than by the faithful down below. For the Duomo’s rooftop is every bit as beautiful as its marble facade and its stunning grandiose interior. In fact to my mind, it’s the icing on the cake, and the cherry on top all rolled into one magnificent exhibition of man’s greatest craftsmanship.

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The roof of the Duomo of Milan is a veritable forest of marble Gothic spires (some 135 in all) topped by perfectly sculpted images of the saints, flowers and gargoyles. These upward thrusts of stone are coupled with gently arching buttresses which support the nave and make the initial approach along one side of the building and up to the central section a real treat of overlapping stone. Once on the very top, you need to have both a head for heights and a steady footing, as you literally walk on the sloping sides of the vaulted ceiling. But if you suffer from vertigo, think of Mary, whose golden statue still looks minuscule, even from the roof, as it soars upwards hundreds of metres into the sky.

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But perhaps the greatest aspect of the roof is the view. Behind the spires and the ancient statues is a city skyline progressing fast with the times. Out of the shadow of modernista palazzos, a vibrant new landscape of skyscrapers and apartment blocks is growing, from Ponti and Pier Lugui Nervi’s iconic Pirelli Tower, to the more recent, twisting form of Zaha Hadid’s Generali Tower or the strangely verdant Bosco Verticale by Stefano Boeri. It’s ancient meets modern, which more or less sums up the character of Milan: A city forging way ahead of many of its ancient Italian cousins, but retaining at its heart one of the most impressive historical buildings of them all: the Duomo.

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© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2011-2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Mallorca Moments: Autumn Skies

There are many who bemoan the onset of autumn, especially those who miss the balmy long light days of summer. But while the summer may provide days of endless sunshine, in the Mediterranean, their clear blue skies are repetitive, no matter how beautiful. Come autumn however, and within the array of the season is a blockbuster of show-stopping sky spectacles. Whether it be by sunrise or sunset, the interplay between cloud and sunlight makes for the most incredible harmonious duet, casting the skies with a panoply of vividly rich colours, from primrose yellow through to a deep blood-rose red.

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The photos on today’s Daily Norm post are just a few of those I have snapped when I have been lucky enough to capture the light of the sun here in Palma, both at the beginning and at the end of the day. For as any photographer will know, these light effects are brief and ephemeral… and more often than not, I have a camera nowhere near me when the very best skies are on show. And how I kick myself at that moment. But with this set, I have at least captured some of the rich tones of the Autumn skies. And as the season has only really just begun, I cannot wait to see more.

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© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at http://www.delacybrown.com

Prague (Part 5): City of a Thousand Spires

They call Prague the city of a thousand spires, and while I’m sure that a thousand may be a slight exaggeration, it’s probably not too far from the truth. For Prague’s skyline is like a venerable jewellery box of glinting treasures: tall spires, small spires, fat spires and ornate spires; cupolas embellished in gold, and turrets laced with ornate iron work. Some are grey and others the warm terracotta which populates most of Prague’s rooftops; but perhaps the most common are those copper spires, whose metal has turned a pleasing shade of aquamarine. Set amongst this sea of variously shaped ornaments are the baroque treasures which yesterday’s post explored; and so in any one square metre of the city, you may have a delicious overlap of a dome, several spires, gold details, copper coloured tiles, a blackened statue, and a slightly cleaner one – in other words a feast for the eyes.

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It is in an attempt to serve that banquet of architectural delicacies up into manageable bite-size pieces that I devote a whole post on today’s Daily Norm to the seductive skyline ofPrague. For while the city at ground level, with its tourist hoards and stag parties may do your head in, keep on looking up and you may well find that Prague fairytale that all the guidebooks have promised you.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2014 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.