The project

Why “La scuola diffusa”?

To move boundaries and learn whilst doing.

The episodes that drove me to reflect upon educational methods and to experiment these with my students have origin, in part, in 1987, as a student of AG Fronzoni, where I had means to appreciate the approach he used in his school-workshop. Albe Steiner in 1967, called on A G Fronzioni to teach in the Umanitaria. From that moment forward, Fronzoni became a dedicated teacher. In 1984, he founded his school-workshop. He put into practice the program he would have liked to apply in the institutions where he had worked until then but couldn’t employ freely given the rigid scholastic requirements in place. Thus he gave birth to a school different to others. To do this he sought inspiration from the renaissance “work-shop”, a place where students went to “learn by doing” under the guidance of a Maestro. In the school-workshop of A G Fronzoni, subject matter was simplified to ensure coherence: bi and tri-dimensional planning, geometrical design, twentieth-century culture involving guided visits of professional studios, show-rooms, exhibitions, manufactures, ateliers – means through which acquaintance was made with both professionals and situations.
We frequently visited the artist Bruno Munari, the photographers Gianni Berengo Gardin and Aldo Ballo, the archetiect Leonardo Mosso, the tailor Zoran. We had personal encounters with the director Bob Wilson and were among the first to visit the contemporary art collection of Panza di Biumo in Villa Litta Menafoglio in Varese. We visited the Venezia Biennale, the cities of Genova, Urbino and Como. We were guided through the workings of companies like Nava Press or artisan laboratories such as the model work-shop of Giovanni Sacchi. We went out to listen to Jazz, we prepared tasty meals on A G Fronzoni’s suggestions, organized parties and went out to discover the best the city had to offer, including its culinary excellences.
The Triennale in Milan was mandatory, as was the Salone del Mobile and the collateral events that began to appear in those very years. There were other pleasant instructive excursions to the theatre “Burri” in Parco Sempione, the “Palazzo delle Stelline” and its connected Leonardo Gardens in Corso Magenta, historical caffès, the false perspective found in the church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro in Via Torino, the courtyards of Milan’s bourgeoisie, counsel estates, the canals… Fronzoni gave us advice on where to buy quality food, the best restaurants, clubs where we could hear jazz, confectionaries, cafés, bookshops, art galleries, clothe shops. He told us of unusual places where we could taste and perceive something new, all apparently uncorrelated but which, given time, proved to be the foundation, the cultural background, from which our education grew. The guiding principle of all these choices was quality.
A G Fronzoni moved the boundaries of the school, he extended them. The school was required to engage with the real world and for the same reason the real world was required to enter into the school. For this reason many classes were held in the school work-shop by cultural or design experts.
In a virtual age where, via the internet, arguments can be widely developed, it is possible that schools must assume a new role. Information based frontal classes can be substituted by the web. There are values such as human and emotional relationships that know no rivals. Perhaps today more adequate material is required. School should become a unique experience, an experience that cannot be assigned to a digital tutor. Schools can and should become both a physical and symbolic place to share stimuli and passions that reflect the heritage and the logistics of the school but, that at the same time, goes beyond to spread, and in accordance with the coordinated choices with the educational program, in the city, and area.

Why Milan?

City of laboratories and intellectual workshops

Design, fashion, culture. In Milan the very best. Milan’s excellences have conquered globally. These excellences have become a path for students, The scuola diffusa where “Made in Italy” has become the tutor.
Milan, both physically and mentally. Milan is a choice. The person who lives, works, studies in Milan knows what he is looking for, he knows what he can find. Technical resources, a university of knowledge, professional excellence, a growing and ubiquitous laboratory. Milan is a logo. To respond to and use the resources this permanent work-shop offers is not just an opportunity, it is an obligation. Each activity can be an alternative to the classroom, each excellence a master, each encounter an experience that can’t be found elsewhere. The scuola difusa intends to provide an educational path, an occasion to meet, to study and the prestigious Italian approach of giving value to knowledge. Milan is the city of innumerable resources. Students, frequently from abroad, choose to study in Milan because of reasons linked specifically to the city’s identity. Studying in Milan is different to studying in Rome, Venice, Florence, Paris or London because Milan is collectively known and synonymous with “Made in Italy”, design, fashion, quality production, Italian artisans and good taste. Therefore, by giving the correct importance to the peculiarities of this city, the students come into contact with the very identity that guided them when choosing their educational path – perhaps guided only then by an essence, an unconscious taste of that identity, but that led them in their choice of the same.