By  on December 14, 2004

MILAN — The $1.3 billion Cittá della Moda exhibition project, first envisioned by the late Nicola Trussardi in the Eighties, is finally taking shape after almost 20 years of squabbles and red tape issues.

With a museum and education courses, showrooms, and exhibition spaces for runway shows and presentations, fashion is undoubtedly at the core of the 2.5 million-square-foot project, not far from the center of the city and a few steps away from the fashionable Corso Como. The Cittá della Moda will also help solve the problem of the existing fairgrounds — where part of Milan Fashion Week is currently held — moving to an industrial area outside of the city. As it is unlikely a stilettoed fashion editor will go so far for a show, the Cittá will be an alternative location.

However, fashion is only a part of the plan, which also includes a hotel, office spaces, a new 1.3 million-square-foot park, and a 432,000-square-foot parking lot.

 Manfredi Catella, managing director of Hines Italia, said the fragmentation of the site into 12 different lots and differences among the previous owners were the main stumbling blocks that had to be overcome. Difficulties also stemmed from the complicated network of merging railways, subways and streets. “Hines now owns 86 percent of the land,” said Catella. “The challenge it is facing today is to re-create a link between all these disconnected areas.”

To that end, a 20-foot high platform will connect the different lots and be banned to car traffic. The project, designed by Argentine architect Cesar Pelli, will be completed in the next five to six years.

Beatrice  Trussardi, chief executive officer of the family company who donated her father’s plans to the city, said the museum, called Modam, will not be limited to fashion but will connect all the disciplines that rotate around it.

“It will be more of an experimental hub,” she said.

For the first time, the Milan universities Bocconi, Cattolica and Politecnico will together hold courses for a new masters in fashion degree. The nonprofit buildings, such as the museum, will not be developed by Hines. An international contest will be held next year to assign that part of the project.

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