10 Days. 5 continents. Day 4

Join my camera and I as we explore what the greatest degree on Earth might look like. I’m meeting brilliant minds, going behind-the-scenes at some of the world’s coolest brands and discovering some amazing places to study. Day 4 began in Milan.

The first thing I noticed about the breakfast buffet is that a quarter of it was just cakes and pastries. We arrived at Domus Academy at 9.30am to meet with Angela. Angela is the Marketing and Communication Specialist at Domus, and is such a sweet and bubbly lady.

Domus shares a campus with NABA, which is another Laureate school. Domus is a small prestigious and highly regarded school for postgraduate studies, it offers limited places for only the highest calibre of students. NABA is also a prestigious school, but much larger than Domus and offers undergraduate programs.

Angela took us to our first appointment which was to film a class in action. The class was run by a lecturer called Fernando G. Alberti, and the class was called “Entrepreneurship, creativity and (open) innovation”. We were very grateful to be able to experience this class, and on this day the students were presenting their assignments to the class. The theme of the presentations was the ‘power of creating a shared experience’.

The two girls that were presenting first opened with a quote from famous chef Ferran Adria:

“I prefer to spend my money on a bottle of champagne at the Ritz in Paris than on a pair of shoes. I’ll always remember the champagne, I’ll never remember the shoes.”

Following this quote, they discussed how Adria had used experiences in his cooking and restaurants to provide a unique and powerful offering to his clientele. Adria has been labeled “the Salvador Dali­ of the kitchen” by Gourmet Magazine.

They spoke about the practical experience of dining at El Bulli – an innovative restaurant specialising in molecular gastronomy where they focus on building an impressive catalogue of food. Restaurant Magazine judged elBulli to be Number One on its Top 50 list of the world’s best restaurants for a record five times. The catalogue is very detailed with macro photos and intimate details about the dish. Adria’s unique method was to provide ongoing hands-on training to continuously educate and develop his team of chefs, and his ultimate goal is to surprise and enchant his guests. Fernando likened him to a ‘director of an orchestra.’ I thought that was a really cool way of looking at a head chefs role.

I was mesmerised by this class and didn’t quite want to leave. We had a schedule to keep to though, so we excused ourselves and snuck out the back of the classroom. We were ready to meet our next tour guide Silvia Signorelli, she has two roles with Laureate, firstly she is the international student liaison and also the student experience manager for Domus and NABA and has worked with Domus for 15 years, and NABA for 5 years.

Silvia is a kind and gentle lady who was very patient and welcoming with us and very supportive of our project. She offered to take us on a tour through the campus and help us to get the footage we were after. In the Domus campus, there are a number of car models made out of clay (although it looked a lot like chocolate!).

Silvia explained that students who are studying the Master of Car and Automation Design work on major projects in collaboration with companies such as Audi and Volkswagen to work on design briefs for car designs. She explained that the academy works very closely with Audi to decide a brief that will be mutually beneficial to the company as well as the student learning outcomes. This collaboration with companies provides for unique learning opportunities and building networks. Silvia was proud to acknowledge that the industry see Domus as a multicultural thinking and design lab.

At 10.30am a fire drill was scheduled to take place, so while we were wandering around the campus the students were emptying out into the courtyard. We used this opportunity to do a flythrough of the campus while it was mostly empty.

I was super excited to explore some of the common areas of Domus and NABA which included a Textile lab, Knitting lab, jewellery lab, dyeing and printing labs, and a 3D design lab. WHAT AN AWESOME PLACE! Sign me up!

While we were waiting for the students to come back to class we went to The Corner which is the campus cafeteria. It was a modern and bustling place for students to meet for coffee or lunch. I don’t normally drink coffee, but I decided to do my best to be a local as much as possible on this trip, and Italians really don’t drink much tea.

On the wall inside the cafeteria there is a large display of students artwork including this very professional concept wall for “The family Cargo E-Bikes” showing some of the students incredible bike designs.

We went into the textile laboratory and met with 4 students. All of them were different nationalities, Russian, American, Indian and Cambodian. Silvia tells me that there are 70-80 nationalities on campus at the moment, mainly from Europe, Asia, America and South America.

The fashion students were so welcoming and they invited me in for a demonstration of what they are currently working on.

Alicia Pinckney from the USA was stitching together a knitted mens jumper. She was ready to reinforce the seams around the cuffs of the sleeves and so proceeded to stitch the area with the overlocker. Then I had a go while she carefully guided me through the process of using an overlocker. Then Ekaterina Okhotnikova from Russia showed us the garment that she has designed from scratch. In preparing to produce the floor length elegant coat, she had done various types of sketches and even a digital mock up using scanned images of the fabric she was planning to use. She asked me to help her to pin the pattern pieces to the mannequin so that she could see if her pattern pieces were fitting correctly together.

At 2.30pm the students were invited to a special guest lecture offered by Italo Rota – Domus Academy Scientific director (spoken in Italian with English translation). It was great to meet Italo. He has an incredible history as a leading architectural designer. He explained to me that he was wearing Swiss Army prisoner pants, with genuine holes from digging the trenches (I think that’s what I understood).

We said goodbye to Angela and made our way into the city where we were to see some of the main city sights. Starting at the Arco Della Pace, (the Arch of Peace), we wandered past a big statue of a middle finger which is located outside one of the main banks. We took a photo for a laugh. Then headed to the Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) in time for sunset. It was such a spectacular building located in the main square surrounded by the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele and the Royal Palace of Milan. The area was bustling and it had a great vibe. A man was feeding the pigeons and trying to get us to do it as well. I thought he was using this tactic to pick pockets while you are distracted by the pigeons. So we headed away and into the Galleria, a beautifully decorated shopping mall similar to the QVB with all the big Italian designer brands.

I loved exploring this area, there were wonderful buskers on every corner, and food trucks selling hot chestnuts. I took a wander through the cathedral which was just stunning and provided a quiet haven from the outside bustle.

A spectacular day and an action packed time in Milan, we headed home to bed zonked and prepared for a 3am wake-up for our mission to Glion. For updates visit the Torrens Facebook page.