Brera District

Officina22 is at the center of the area including the Castello Sforzesco, the Brera neighborhood and the Garibaldi– Isola area, new point of reference for the contemporary Milan.

An area that has always been the center of arts and culture, and that today represents the integration between history and modernity in an architectural context in constant evolution and renewal, always in the outmost respect for the historic and artistic heritage of the city.

The neighborhood of Brera, today reference point for Italian fashion and design, is an area that around the early 800s represented the “New City” project by architect and urbanist Giovanni Antonio Antolini.

A bit of history…


Napoleon and the winds of revolution

In his original project, Foro Bonaparte was the heart and symbol of a moment of renewal beginning in the 1800s. Milan would have soon seen for itself this spirit of the enlightenment and a new political and social model based on the values of bourgeois democracy.

After arriving to Italy to “liberate it” from Austria-Hungary, in 1805 Napoleon declares Milan as the capital of the new Italian Republic, inspired by the values of the French revolution.

Antolini and the new city

Architect Giovanni Antonio Antolini celebrated this special moment with the great urban project of Foro Bonaparte, in neoclassical style, expression of a formal renewal interpreting the new revolutionary ideals.

Antolini projected the “Foro” as the center and the starting point of a new capital city, envisioning all of its essential functions: the square became a “Foro”, delimited by buildings and a colonnade to fulfill the main needs of an active society.


From Milan to Monza

By number 22, along the arch of Foro Bonaparte, the first tram line built in Italy – going from Milan to Monza- ran.

From the day of its inauguration – July 8th, 1876- to the year of its closing -1966-, people could get on the tram from Piazza del Duomo in Milan and get off in front of Villa Reale in Monza, a 15-kilometer ride, thanks to the use of horses

Per i primi 24 anni al traino delle grandi carrozze si sono alternate generazioni di volenterosi e pazienti cavalli: una forza motrice forse non velocissima, ma economica, inesauribile e, diremmo oggi, ecologica.

In 1900, this tram line received electric power, thus replacing the horses.


In the market between via delle Erbe and via della Frutta

Not many people know that during the second half of the 800s, the area corresponding to today’s building on Foro Bonaparte 22 was completely occupied by the Milan indoors market, a landmark for grocery shopping of the Milan of the time.

For this reason, many of the streets surrounding the area were named after the products sold, such as “Via delle Erbe” (probably the location where vegetables where sold) or “Via della Frutta” (after the selling of fruits) today replaced by the construction of the building Foro Bonaparte 21.


Light comes to the Foro

1884 was the year of electrical lighting in Milan.
Public spaces were lit in Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Scala. A first experiment soon after followed by the expansion of electrical lighting across the whole city.

In 1927 Foro Bonaparte received its electric street lighting system.