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This sumptuous coffee table book features an eclectic mix of images, recipes and stories, celebrating the art of life - Milan style.
This sumptuous coffee table book features an eclectic mix of images, recipes and stories, celebrating the art of life - Milan style.
73 backers pledged $10,076 to help bring this project to life.

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$10,076

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I want to thank you all those who have contributed to helping us achieve the initial funding goal! This incredible support will see the books printed and bound by the finest artisans in Italy, which is the greatest result I could have hoped for. Additional funds will help us promote the project globally so like-minded people hear about the book.

Our campaign runs for an additional two weeks, so this is the last opportunity to put in your early bird book order! By ordering via Kickstarter, you will be among the first in the world to own a copy of the book. 

I'm so honored by your support and again wish to acknowledge everyone who has backed the project, and all the incredible collaborators who have put their time and energy into bringing this book to life- most notably, the amazing graphic designers Emilio Roccioletti, Rosanna DiRisio and Gabriella Tedesco of ERD Design in Melbourne.

                                                              ************

BACKGROUND

Photographer, Robyn Lea, followed a childhood dream that took her from a tiny regional Australian town to the mysterious hidden world of Milan. Like a modern-day Alice in Wonderland, she made many discoveries, met wildly inspiring artists, writers, designers, curators and chefs and gained entry to parts of the city that often elude visitors and residents alike. In documenting her findings she created this book, Milan: Discovering Food, Fashion and Family in a Private City, which invites the reader into private homes, courtyards, kitchens and artists’ studios. Adopting a sophisticated and contemporary design, Melbourne graphic studio, ERD, collaborated with Robyn to produce this rare glimpse of the ongoing ‘creative renaissance’ of this mercurial city.

ABOUT THE BOOK 

IN THE WORDS OF PHOTOGRAPHER & AUTHOR, ROBYN LEA

I moved to Milan as an outsider at the age of eighteen, more than 20 years ago, to pursue my dream of becoming a photographer. 

I began as a photographer’s assistant to Jacqui James, working in her studio in the canal district. When I arrived I found the city grey, private and utterly impenetrable. At the time, I did not realize that Milan’s creative heart could be found tucked away in courtyards, behind gated streetscapes, and inside buildings with nondescript facades. 

Over time, I became privy to snippets of information; whisperings about vast and magnificent internal courtyard gardens, palace ballrooms covered in paintings by Tiepolo and Michelangelo, artists’ studios and hidden fashion showrooms where gowns by Ferré, Ferretti, and Ferragamo were regularly showcased. The more stories I heard, the more I was driven to discover these secrets for myself and document them with my camera. I filled my visual diaries with drawings and stories of what I had seen and experienced. I was not to know it back then, but these diaries and images later created the foundation for my book. 

Woven through the pages of the book you will find my favorite recipes, collected from the city’s most talented chefs, interiors and images of iconic gowns and historic jewelry pieces. You will also find personal stories and drawings from my visual diaries. There are portraits of important creators and innovators such as Barnaba Fornasetti, Carla Sozzani, Antonio Marras and Donatella Pellini in their private spaces, alongside portraits of people with no public profile - but who became like family to me and showed me how to navigate the varied social rituals of the Milanese. 

Many of the most moving experiences I've had in Milan revolve around simple rituals - whether that is tasting biscotti fresh from Signora Maulucci's oven (above), or having photographed my mentor, Gabriele Mucchi, while he sat doing a painting in his rooftop studio (below). Other shoots required dogged persistence, such as shooting the La Scala Theatre's costume and set building department, which had been a dream of mine for fifteen years - I was finally granted access to shoot behind-the-scenes there in 2009. Documenting the artisans at work and photographing costumes worn by stars such as Maria Callas and Rudolf Nureyev was an incredible privilege.

I've always been very drawn to documenting the workspaces of artists. This was particularly the case in the studio of the late architect, Achille Castiglione. I was captivated by his pin-boards, full of letters and cards he had received from some of the twentieth century's greatest creative minds.

The single philosophy that links these stories and images is my personal, and at times lonely, journey to the cultural heart of this city. I like to think of the publication as an eclectic ‘art of living’ book, encapsulating the subtle nuances of many creative perspectives. 

TIMELINE

Finished art has been completed and we plan to complete the printing of the book by mid 2013, with binding of the limited edition occurring in batches of five books. The first project rewards will be available in June 2013, and the last completed by December 2013 (see individual rewards for specifics).

YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO THIS PROJECT

I am self-publishing this book along with the talented graphic design team, ERD, in Melbourne - CEO, Emilio Roccioletti, Creative Director, Rosanna DiRisio and Senior Designer, Gabby Tedesco. As first-generation Australians born to Italian migrants, ERD instantly understood the complexities and challenges of uncovering a new culture and finding a way to flourish within it. As such, they understood my journey and the effort it took to make it feel like home. "We were immediately captivated by the dream-like quality of her imagery, and inspired by her courageous efforts to realize her dream," they recall.

Together, we are planning to produce both a standard hardcover and limited edition (shown above - which will feature an exposed spine - to be hand bound with ribbon and thread by an artisan in her Milan studio), to be printed in Italy.

The photographs for this book are already complete, the design is finished and the stories and recipes collated and edited. The Italian paper stocks have been chosen and the bookbinding has been tested and refined. Now all we need to do is complete the printing of the book, in Italy with master printers, Fontegrafica, and get them out to the world. 

$7K is the minimum amount we are hoping to raise, which will assist us in partially funding the printing of the standard edition. We sincerely hope to surpass this funding goal. Any additional funds raised in our Kickstarter campaign will aid covering the costs of the limited edition version of the book and help contribute to the promotion of the publication. 

I would love you to feel a part of this creative journey and be one of the first people to receive a signed copy of the book, or enjoy one of the other associated rewards listed here. Any contribution large or small is enormously appreciated and I hope that you will be inspired, as I have been, by the hidden treasures of Milan. 

KEY CONTRIBUTORS TO THE PROJECT 

FORNASETTI: Designer, Barnaba Fornasetti, wrote the foreword to the book. Several years ago Barnaba invited me to shoot in his private home and studio, photograph his father Piero’s archives and his personal collections. I also did Barnaba’s portrait in his private courtyard garden, and wove stories about her favorite Fornasetti designs through the book’s pages. 

CEO at ERD, EMILIO ROCCIOLETTI: Emilio Roccioletti has spearheaded the drive to create this book in his studio. A cultured man whose passions range from beautiful interiors, exceptional cuisine, fine Italian suits and the world's best paper stocks, Emilio was the perfect person to partner with Robyn on this book. So attached to the beauty and meaning of this project, Emilio spent hours on planes back and forth to Milan to plan and oversee all aspects of the book's production. Working closely with master printers Fontegrafica and artisan book binder Cristina Balbiano d'Aramengo in Milan, Emilio's desire to create the most beautiful book possible has been an essential aspect of this project's success.

CREATIVE DIRECTOR at ERD, ROSANNA DI RISIO: Rosanna has been fundamental in defining the look, feel and overall design of the book. Like ERD CEO Emilio Roccioletti, she has dedicated much of her time over the past year to the creation of this book. Her commitment and uncompromising approach ensured that the book was completed without veering off course. A true creative visionary, Rosanna has an artist's heart and a head for seeing a complex project to its maturity.

SENIOR DESIGNER at ERD, GABRIELLA TEDESCO: ERD assignedGabriella Tedesco to the graphic design of the book. She worked closely with them to see through the design process, applying her incredible talent across every page. Like Emilio and Rosanna, Gabriella is also of Italian heritage so she was able to bring a special understanding of the Italian culture to the project. In the early days of the process, Gabriella came to Robyn's house and pored through her visual diaries, letters, photos and even her wardrobe to gather the textures, drawings and memorabilia that she needed to create the beautiful layering seen in the book's pages. She discovered beautiful letters written to Robyn from her Italian mentor (the late artist Gabriele Mucchi), drawings Robyn had done of her day-to-day life in Milan, antique lace and fabric Robyn given to her by artistic friends Sara and John Benn and old receipts, recipes and invitations to events attended in Milan.

BEC COLE: Fashion stylist, Bec Cole, worked alongside Robyn for some of the most dramatic and beautiful shoots in the book. With over 15 years of experience, and a deep love of ‘alta moda’ (high fashion), Bec was able to choose timeless and iconic pieces from the showrooms of Robyn’s favorite designers in Milan. From the Gianfranco Ferré Foundation’s showroom of archival gowns, to Gucci, Bulgari and Luisa Beccaria, Bec’s eye bought an additional level of artistry to many of the book’s images. 

JENNIFER BRADBURN: Makeup artist, Jennifer Bradburn, began working with Robyn in her early days as a photographer in Milan, almost 20 years ago. Both Jennifer and Robyn worked hard to establish their careers in the city, both making it to the top of their respective fields. Jennifer works on some of the most interesting campaigns in Italy, for brands such as Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino. Her creative partnership with Robyn for all the fashion shots in the book documents their creative collaboration. The images also are testament to an enduring friendship where they have provided support for each others dreams. In addition, Jennifer's husband, Antonio Manna, lent his incredible talent as a hair stylist on many of the shoots.

CATHERINE MALADY - PRODUCTION & CREATIVE CONSULTANT: Catherine Malady has been an essential part of the Milan book crew from the beginning of the project. Her incredible visual skills and deep understanding of contemporary design culture ensured that the contribution she made to this project was multi-faceted and key to its success. Catherine's background as the Creative Director of POD, 'Point of Difference' in Australia and respected retail trend blogger provided another angle through which to consider the material in the book. POD is a creative consultancy specialising in the development of retail concepts, brand strategy, visual communications and merchandising solutions. 

ALICE ADAMS: Italy-based food stylist, Alice Adams, worked on the book’s 16 delicious recipes. Alice interviewed chefs in Milan, and translated and tested Robyn's favorite Milanese recipes. Early in her career, Alice established her own boutique catering company in Melbourne and soon found herself being approached to prepare and style dishes for editorial food shoots. Her passion for food and culture soon led her to Italy, where she absorbed the secrets of Italian cooking, bringing this knowledge to faithfully interpreting the recipes in Robyn’s book. 

MELISSA GADSDEN: Fashion stylist, Melissa Gadsden, worked with Robyn on one of her first ‘alta moda’ shoots in Milan. Together they created the cover for the book, shooting at dawn in the Piazza del Duomo, with a model in a priceless Gianfranco Ferré archival gown. Melissa’s talents include creating her own garments for shoots and interpreting any brief in a creative way. 

MIREILLE COMSTOCK: Milan-based fashion stylist, Mireille Comstock, worked with Robyn on one of her most exciting fashion series shot in a hidden palace in Milan. Mireille sourced incredible pieces from designers such as Etro, Missoni, D&G, Sharra Pagano and Frankie Morello. Mireille brings a passion for not only the established designers, but for upcoming and interesting names, ensuring that the new crop of creators are also represented in the book. 

MARINA CUKERIC: Marina Cukeric is Robyn's New York based producer and creates the organisational backbone of the project. From fielding designer and PR enquiries, organising the book launch events in four cities and co-ordinating shoots, Marina is an essential part of the team. "Helping Robyn bring her beautiful creative work to fruition has been amazing. Her story and her work is beyond inspiring and I feel this book, which combines food, fashion and her personal journey, is set to be incredibly beautiful and unique."

EMILIA MORETTI: Milan-based producer Emilia Moretti was a key member of the production team, keeping the shoot schedules on track in Milan, and ensuring Robyn focused more of her attention on the creative and less on the logistics.

KIM BEAR: Melbourne-based writer and editor assisted in the crafting of the text, advising on the structure and flow. 

MORE ABOUT ROBYN LEA

Further to her career in Milan, Robyn has shot extensively worldwide, with her work featured on important online sites and in publications such as Vogue Italia, Vogue Living, Gourmet Traveler, Harper’s Bazaar, Time, The British Airways Magazine, GCasa (La Repubblica Magazine), Velvet, La Maison Française, Wall Street International, as well as the Qantas Magazine and the Financial Review Magazine. Robyn has photographed many celebrated contemporary figures including Willem Dafoe, Claudia Schiffer, Sarah Murdoch, Isabel Lucas and most recently, Russian supermodel and artist Sasha Pivovarova and photographer Igor Vishnyakov. 

Robyn Lea seen here with with fashion stylist, Bec Cole, and other crew members preparing a shot.
Robyn Lea seen here with with fashion stylist, Bec Cole, and other crew members preparing a shot.

MORE ABOUT ROBYN LEA - WRITTEN WORK

Robyn is also a writer and her editorial stories have been published in four languages. Her features include: a story about the life and work of Jackson Pollock and his wife Lee Krasner; an ‘at home’ feature with artist Ross Bleckner (who lives in Truman Capote’s former home in the Hamptons); a series of stories about Château Bosgouet and owners, Jane and Peter Webster in France; a feature on photographer Amy Arbus (daughter of celebrated artist Diane Arbus) and stories about the work of contemporary American furniture designer Todd Hase. 

The beautiful Château Bosgouet where Robyn shot Jane Webster's book, "French Ties," along with a series of editorial stories.
The beautiful Château Bosgouet where Robyn shot Jane Webster's book, "French Ties," along with a series of editorial stories.

MORE ABOUT ROBYN LEA - DIRECTING WORK

Robyn is also an award-winning director of TV commercials. Having worked with Australian production company EXIT FILMS before relocating to New York in 2011, she shot high profile international campaigns for major agencies such as Grey, Lowe Hunt, Clemenger BBDO, M&C Saatchi and George Patterson Y&R. Most recently, Robyn was commissioned by Peroni Nastro Azzurro to direct a short film about their collaboration with fashion designer, Antonio Berardi. The film debuted exclusively on Vogue Italia.

MORE ABOUT ROBYN LEA - EXHIBITIONS

Robyn’s images have also been exhibited around the world including a current traveling show, which launched at the Bangkok Design Fair in 2011 and is now in Milan. Her work has featured in countless group exhibitions and has had ten solo shows to her name. Exhibition venues include the Powerhouse Contemporary Art Museum in Sydney, Parliament House Melbourne, the St. Petersburg State Library in Russia, the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, the Alliance Francaise Gallery, the Moscow Museum, the University of Melbourne and Bangkok Design Week among others.  

"Tibet in Exile," a solo exhibition by Robyn Lea which coincided with the Dalai Lama's visit to Australia and was shown at Parliment House, Victoria.
"Tibet in Exile," a solo exhibition by Robyn Lea which coincided with the Dalai Lama's visit to Australia and was shown at Parliment House, Victoria.

IMAGE & VIDEO CREDITS

Styling: Bec Cole for Coco Productions; Melissa Gadsden; Mireille Comstock

Production & Creative Consultant: Catherine Malady

Recipe Research, Translation & Testing: Alice Adams

Makeup: Jennifer Bradburn for Face to Face Agency

Hair: Antonio Manna for Toni & Guy

Models: Anca Tiribeja, Fashion Model Management Milan; Ingrid Feitosa, 2Morrow Models; Vanessa, Chadwick Models

Wardrobe: Alberta Ferretti; Albino; Madam Virtue & Co.; Bulgari; Missoni; Gianfranco Ferrè archival couture, Sharra Pagano Milano

Recipes: Savini fresh biscotti in a box; Scampi and vegetable soup from ‘Ristorante Le Noir’ at the Gray Hotel; Spaghetti Pomodoro con caprini freschi from ‘lI Ristorante’ at the Bulgari Hotel; Home made ice-cream cones from Lula Cioccolato

Locations: Seven Stars Galleria Hotel; Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II; the Bagatti Valsecchi family's private courtyard (not open to the public); Palazzo Clerici; Palazzo Litta: photo by Robyn Lea under licence from the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - Direzione Regionale Beni Culturali e Paesaggistici della Lombardia (Italy); Savini; 10 Corso Como; Fornasetti’s house (Glass showcase in Piero Fornasetti objects); the Gray Hotel; Piazza Del Duomo, the Bulgari Hotel; Driade furniture and design pieces: ‘Charlie’ sofa + armchair by Peter Emrys-Roberts; ‘Lisa’ armchair by Laudani & Romanelli; ‘Fratello’ low table by Enzo Mari; ‘Norma and Apollonio’ suspension lamps by Borek Sipek; ‘Clay’, ‘Connor’ and ‘Colbert’ reversible bookcases by Antonia Astori.

Featured portraits: Barnaba Fornasetti, Carla Sozzani, Signora Maulucci, Gabriele Mucchi

Video Music: ‘Welcome To The Hotel’ by Winston Giles

Graphic elements: Historic Lelond illustration sourced from ‘The Stapleton Collection’, London; Personal signature as graphic overlay by Niccolo Paganini, October 1813 (courtesy: akg-images)

Risks and challenges

We believe the project is extremely low risk, with the only possible difficulty being around the dates of delivering the books to backers worldwide.

These dates may be influenced and changed by third parties - predominantly logistics - given the books will be freighted from Italy to America, and sent on from there. We are working to ensure the delivery dates for the books will be as promised in the rewards, and will advise immediately if anything does change.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    An email three-page PDF of Robyn Lea’s photography techniques that she learned in the studios of Milan. In the PDF, you will be privy to techniques and ideas Robyn discovered through years of assisting photographers in Milan, then shooting herself in the fashion capital and around the world. Includes tips on lighting for portraiture, getting the best from your subject, and fundamental tools for approaching any shoot. A valuable lesson for all photography enthusiasts!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    An emailed PDF list of ‘Robyn Lea’s Best Milan’ by book author, photographer and Milan insider Robyn Lea, including her favorite shops, restaurants, galleries and secret pockets of the city known to a limited few.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Early bird book. Your own copy of the hardcover standard edition of the Milan book, signed by Robyn Lea (standard postage included USA only).

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    Pledge $440 or more About $440

    A 2-hour skype call with Robyn Lea, to get advice on your photography, art or short film project. Plus a signed standard edition of the Milan book.

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    Pledge $550 or more About $550

    Choose your favorite photograph from the book or Robyn’s website and Robyn will send you a signed and dated photographic print on archival paper to hang in your home or office. Approx image size 8 x 10 inches. Includes postage in the USA.

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    Pledge $900 or more About $900

    A one-day photography workshop (9-5pm) with Robyn Lea in either Milan, New York, London or Melbourne. This workshop is suitable for keen hobbyists, secondary school students who dream of becoming photographers or enthusiasts keen to learn about lighting and some creative secrets from a professional. You will learn the fundamental principles of creative image making, along with many of the secret techniques Robyn learned in the studios of Milan. You will also be provided with a 10-page PDF document summarizing the key learning points for your records. Includes lunch.

    Choose one of the following dates:
    Milan (June 22nd), New York (September 21st) or Melbourne (August 10th).

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    Signed copy of the Limited Edition version of the Milan book which is hand bound with string and ribbon in Italy, has a die-cut leather cover, and is presented in a hand made fabric bag.

    The book will couriered to you if within the US, and will be insured for international deliveries, tracking etc.

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    Pledge $2,400 or more About $2,400

    A personal one-day photography workshop with Robyn Lea (one student only) in her New York or Melbourne studio. In this workshop, the student will be given tailored photography advice and guidance. Essentially, the day will be designed around the student’s level of knowledge and goals. The perfect gift for a special birthday or for a potential budding photographer.

    Estimated delivery: Robyn’s New York studio (flexible dates), or a photographic studio or Melbourne in August 2013.

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    Pledge $3,800 or more About $3,800

    A private fitting in Milan, New York or Melbourne with one of Robyn’s favourite European designers. Enjoy an aperitivo, glean personal style tips from the designer and be measured for a very special custom made dress. Partake in this amazing ritual with a girlfriend (cost additional), and share the memories for life.

    Estimated delivery: Fitting dates to be mutually agreed, delivery of dress approx 8 weeks later.

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    Pledge $7,000 or more About $7,000

    A portrait sitting with you, your family, or a special friend by Robyn Lea in her NY or Melbourne studio. Shot in black and white, this is a rare opportunity to have your portrait done by an acclaimed international photographer whose work has graced the cover of magazines and been exhibited globally. Includes a DVD of 5 high-resolution tif files from the shoot to do whatever you want with. (No nudes, pornography or ‘glamour’ shots!).

    Estimated delivery: Melbourne August 2013 or New York September/October 2013

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Funding period

- (32 days)