10 Days. 5 continents. Day 3

Join me on my journey as I visit 5 different continents to explore what the greatest degree on earth might look like, with the help of some brilliant minds and some of the most successful brands. Day 3 takes us over to Europe, all the way from Malaysia.

We left Malaysia after a super hot afternoon climbing the Batu Caves steps and made the mad dash to the airport. With no time to spare we didn’t have a chance to shower or get changed and due to the rush we checked in our luggage right before we realised that our bags would be transported directly to Milan while we were going to Doha for the night. Oops… Stinky backpackers.

After an overnight stay in Doha, we landed in Milan at 1pm and already we were late to our first appointment by the time we made it through security. We quickly got changed and rushed to the taxi rank. Our taxi took us to our appointment with dotdotdot – a well known Milano design studio. We were met by the friendly face of Marina, an Interior Designer with the company. She welcomed us into their work space and introduced us to the team.

There were about 12 people working that day on various types of design, from CAD drawing, to laser cutting, to wooden furniture design and software design. Their studio was like a theme park for creative people, with tools and machines everywhere, coupled with cool artwork, a vintage jukebox, an industrial kitchen and mirror ball hanging from the ceiling. I was just about ready to move in!

Marina took us to the back workshop where there were two team members preparing a wooden table which would also double as a lightbox for an exhibition that was running the next day. Another man was slicing large pieces of wood with a drop-saw that would later be used as the sides of the table.

Inside, a young design graduate from NABA (another Laureate Institution and sister campus to Domus) was using the laser cutting machine to cut wooden stamps in very fine detail. He explained how he had designed the wooden shapes and intricate engravings with the CAD design program, and then programmed the laser machine to cut the stencils required to build the stamps. I then helped to glue the wooden pieces together to create the stamps into their final unique shapes.

Marina showed us a tiny handmade bicycle that they had created in a limited series for a children’s program. They had been cut from a solid piece of wood and engraved with the child’s name. It was awesome! She then showed us the CAD drawings that were used for the creation of the bicycles. The team were so awesome, they took loads of time explaining to us the different machines and the techniques that were being used in their studio. IMAGE: dotdotdot studio lazer cut wooden bike IMAGE: Getting a CAD demo – wooden bike lazer cut template

What I loved most about this studio, besides the cool toys and vintage artwork, was the industrial kitchen right in the middle of it all. Marina explained that they had installed the kitchen when they moved into the space because it creates a great culture and family feel. It is not uncommon for Laura to whip up a feast and the whole team sit down to lunch together. Sounds like the best workplace hey!?

After leaving dotdotdot, we headed to Domus Academy for a quick campus tour with Laura so we were well equipped with our bearings for filming the following day. Laura was lovely and took us through some of the classrooms and textile rooms. We were really excited about coming back the next day to film while the campus is full of students.

That night we were so tired we decided to call it a night and do our own thing. Neither of us had slept in about 26 hours and did not feeling like making any plans. But… I was starving and didn’t want the night to go to waste so I took a walk down to the local canal, called Naviglio Grande. Typically the canal is lined with cafes, small bars and gelaterias. I wandered for some time past some incredible artwork, some traditional pizzerias, and occasional people paddling in canoes and dragon boats. The town was alive and buzzing with high energy, colour and the aromas of herbs, cheeses and happiness. I loved this city so much! The people are animated and speak loudly and there is such a passion for food and the ‘food experience’.

When in Rome (or Milan), one must try the gelato! Therefore, I embarked on a traditional pizza, a glass of vino and what was a combination of dark chocolate and hazelnut gelato. I’m pretty sure I devoured half a tub of Nutella in the process… For more of my adventures, be sure to follow my journey on Facebook and Instagram.