Introducing an exclusive new collection produced in collaboration with Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano.
Our Duomo di Milano collection highlights an architectural design presented by Paolo Cesa Bianchi (1840–1920) for the decoration of the interior vaults of the Milan Cathedral. This special design allows us to discover the human ingenuity that went into the Cathedral’s creation and explore a unique piece of Italian history.
The Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) tells a story of faith and artistic expression that spans the centuries. With dizzyingly spires and ornate sculptural decorations, its instantly recognizable façade represents a unique and peculiar style.
Our Duomo di Milano Collection is a special release in partnership with Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano, an institution that has been safeguarding and restoring the Duomo for more than 630 years.
“The Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano is the historic body responsible for the conservation and enhancement of the Cathedral. Established in 1387 by Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Lord of Milan, for the design and construction of the monument, it has been working for over 630 years in the conservation and restoration of the Cathedral, in the activity of custody and service to the liturgical activity and in the enhancement of its assets, providing for the procurement of the resources necessary for its maintenance.” – Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano
Though located in Italy, the Duomo di Milano represents many cultural and artistic traditions within its walls. With architects and artists from all across Europe invited to work on the project over the years, the cathedral offers a living testament to human imagination, innovation and collaboration.
During the more than six centuries it took to complete, various architects, sculptors, artists and engineers contributed their unique visions to the construction program of the Cathedral, managed by the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo. The result was an impressive and completely singular piece of architecture that blended the international Gothic style with the "Lombard aesthetic" or "Lombard gothic style".
“This runs parallel to our mission as a brand – our releases are meant to stir people’s imaginations and encourage in them a belief in their own abilities. At the same time, it is an iconic structure that’s been a part of Milan for centuries. Thanks to this partnership we created a product that lets our brand’s audience connect with the city’s glory.” – Olessia Makarenia, Paperblanks Licensing Manager
The concept for this collaborative collection came directly from our Italian market, with our internal sales team relishing the opportunity to work with such an important institution. It was a natural fit for both our brand and for the mission of Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano, as these products offer an opportunity for architecture lovers from around the world to take home a piece of Milanese history.
“Both the city and the Duomo attract a lot of tourists from all around the world – this collaboration means that while visitors to the city can pick up a fine accessory to remember their travels by, they can also discover Paperblanks and take this discovery back home. As for the loyal fans of our brand, they are accustomed to Paperblanks designs that feature and celebrate material culture of different countries, including architecture. So, this collaborative project should feel to them like a fairly natural development, and the only surprise they hopefully will experience is of a pleasant kind – where Paperblanks manages yet again to surpass their expectations.” – Olessia Makarenia, Licensing Manager
We wanted to make an impact with our first release, showcasing the story of the Duomo di Milano in a new way. For this design, we chose to focus on architectural details and highlight the contributions of those many architects and engineers who worked on the project.
Our cover reproduces part of an original drawing preserved in the Archive of the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo by Paolo Cesa Bianchi (1840–1920), an architect who submitted a series of proposals for the decoration of the vaults of the Milan Cathedral. He presented this particular piece in 1877, following his appointment as engineer-architect of the Fabbrica del Duomo in Milan, a position he held until 1912. The intricate details of the imitation marble symbolize the closeness to heaven one feels within the Cathedral.
Photo Credit: Original drawing by Paolo Cesa Bianchi (1840–1920), courtesy of © Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano (licensed by R.T.I.)
There is endless creative inspiration to be found within the history of the Duomo, and this marks just the beginning of our partnership. It is an honour to work together to bring this example of sublime architectural vision to new eyes.
“It was a pleasure to work with this partner because they fully trusted our expertise and sense of style to develop a design that would match and represent the beauty and grandeur of the Cathedral. The next stage will be to get our release out in the world, and it will be exciting to receive support from an engaged partner such as Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano.” – Olessia Makarenia, Licensing Manager
Our first design in this collection is Vault of the Milan Cathedral. These hardcover journals, bookmarks and pencil cases reproduce an element of Paolo Cesa Bianchi’s submission that centres around the use of arabesques and his creation of a faux relief arborescence over a golden background.Although this project was never realised, it is thanks to the Archive of the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo’s work preserving the history of the cathedral that we can discover the unfinished works and inspirations of architects like Cesa Bianchi, and imagine the various versions of the Duomo that were never completed.