The latest project, that of the Foundation created in the aftermath of the tragic death of his sister Alessandra, begins with a quote from Dostoevsky: “Humanity can live without bread, but only without beauty we could no longer live, because there would be no nothing more to do in the world ». After all, Beauty and Aesthetics have always been the bread of Stefano Zecchi, philosopher, writer and for decades a professor at the University of Milan. The basic idea, the statute states, arises from the ever more pressing need to promote a culture that in all sectors – in respect of mankind, democracy and internationality – underlines the value of beauty in the contemporary world. its link with the different fields of knowledge. Research, teaching, training and communication are the areas favored by Zecchi to carry on what he considers a Copernican revolution in a world that is increasingly barbaric and uneducated in listening and contemplation. The recipients are the world of work, businesses, young people, the world of culture and politics.
Professor Zecchi, can beauty help recovery after this year and a half of blackout?
«In beauty we find the quality of being and to start again we must commit ourselves to building beautiful things, that is projects that have a profound meaning and stimulate discussion, aggregation and growth. Today we live in a society based on the quantity and speed of information, but the beauty does not lie in the quantity but in the quality of the contents ».
Before Covid, Milan was a hotbed of projects in the area: from mobility to social housing, from the City of Science in the former Expo area, to the level of the railway stations. Is there beauty in this?
“Milan is fortunate to have a cultural and entrepreneurial reality that goes on on its own and could easily do without the public administration. But it is a city that in recent years has dried up and knelt on a pragmatic feeling tied to business alone; so the projects go ahead in no particular order without a governance that puts the different souls of the city on the net and makes them talk. Investing in the culture of beauty means investing in dialogue, and not opening museums or reorganizing art galleries. The point is that, once upon a time, this feeling existed in Milan all right “.
After Expo, Milan has become a tourist city that has brought thousands of foreigners; Is there no beauty in this?
«It depends on how this phenomenon is managed. Expo was certainly a great success, but the administrators who today are wearing it forget that at the time of the juntas Albertini and Moratti opposed that project in every way. Pisapia was against it, and the left also put a spoke in the wheel of projects in the area of the former Varesine. Even today in the city I see the absence of a political coordination of energies and resources, but only demagogic interventions driven by a pauperistic ideology. The historic center? It is abandoned to depopulation and neglect and the much waved peripheries are, for those who live there, realities devoid of beauty and security ».
Your Foundation is carrying out a project renamed «Contemporary Venus», what is it about?
«It is a teaching project, seminars and conferences that involves the Accademia del Lusso in Milan, an institution that deals with higher education in an innovative and creative way. We asked the students for a series of projects with the Association of via Spiga to make the city and the world aware of the history and beauty of this via del Quadrilatero which, before being a crossroads for fashion brands, was a street of art shops, artisan workshops and historic restaurants ».
What will the students do?
«In September in via Spiga there will be a parade of their design projects and high craftsmanship, sartorial garments created by students in the name of sustainable beauty. There will be lectures and a conference. In October, a new initiative will see the shops in via Spiga host exhibitions of designer mannequins created once again by students. They are symbolic initiatives aimed at giving back to the city a historical street that over the decades has become depopulated and depersonalized ».
You have been the protagonist of 60 years of Milanese culture. Do you have dreams or regrets?
«It saddens me to note that culture in Milan has experienced far more fertile periods than today. The basic problem remains the lack of dialogue that would allow the city to be a true world excellence; we have nine universities that run in no particular order, dozens of musical institutions that do not speak to each other, even in the scientific field there is a lack of institutions that found research with care “.
And design, fashion, don’t they bring beauty?
“Much more could be done, just think of the absence of real museums that tell about them. This year the Compasso d’Oro museum was presented, which looks like a replica of the Triennale. For Milan I still have the dream of a large universal and multimedia library as it was in Umberto Eco’s project, a reality that is at the center of the discussion and development of the city in the direction of true beauty ».