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Italian Designers, Architects Rally for Stefano Boeri

Ten days after Milan’s Councilor for Culture, Design and Fashion was shown the door, a clutch of high-powered industry figures have come to his defense.

DESIGNERS RALLY FOR BOERI: Ten days after Milan’s Councilor for Culture, Design and Fashion Stefano Boeri was shown the door, a clutch of high-powered architects and designers have come to his defense. Supporters like Rem Koolhaas, Jean Nouvel, Bjarke Ingels, Zaha Hadid, Ross Lovegrove, Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec and Domus magazine editor-in-chief Joseph Grima sent a letter to Milan Mayor Giuliano Pisapia Thursday asking him to reconsider. The 40-person-strong letter described Boeri’s “unmotivated dismissal” as “inexplicable.” In a phone interview, Boeri, an architect in his own right, said, “We were working extremely hard to develop a new plan for cultural events in Milan. My idea was to incentivize. In May, we planned to have the second edition of Piano City with hundreds of house concerts instead of having one major one. We were planning to do that with fashion too.”

Boeri said his aim was “to try to repeat and translate the format of Milan’s Design Week,” (which has flourished in recent years) to fashion and culture. Last week Italian Vogue’s Franca Sozzani stepped up to offer support. Boeri, who took on the cultural post in June 2011, said he was canned in “a very bad and a very sad way. It was very sudden and not motivated. I didn’t have the time to answer in any way or to prepare a different solution or alternative.”

Having put an exhibition of Anna Piaggi’s fashion collection at Milan’s Fabrico del Vapore in motion, Boeri said he hoped that would go forward. Last month Armani, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana had agreed to help, he said. But it is the big picture that Boeri is focused on. “For me, it is so sad to think about all the time we spent trying to put Milan in an international network. There were plans for projects with the Serpentine Gallery, the Whitney Museum of Art and the Centre Pompidou so you can imagine my disappointment,” Boeri said.