Vulcano | Mercato Agroalimentare Milano

SO.GE.M.I S.p.A. is the joint-stock company which, on behalf of the Municipality of Milan, manages all the wholesale food markets in Milan.

The markets are located in equipped areas adjacent to each other, and they form a single large integrated wholesale distribution centre.

Each of the Milanese markets is a leader in Italy in its own product sector and all together they constitute one of the Europe’s largest wholesalers of agri-food products.

In 2020 Vulcano won the competitive bidding process for the realization of a book, commissioned by SogeMi, with the aim of recounting the know-how and hard work of the Milan food market at night.

A collection of stories of the people who work there, namely the wholesalers (those who sell at the market), SogeMi staff (quality guarantor and manager of the space), third parties involved in the market’s activities and those who buy at the market. Stories and pictures, of course.

All these people meet in one place and breathe it in, hence the idea of the title for the book: “Il respiro del mercato”.

This space, teeming with people at night but not so well known during the day, is a key link in the whole food chain in Milan and the absolute protagonist of this book.

Vulcano, with great teamwork, creativity and synergy, has created this book by focusing on the life of the market, the people who live it and who live their products as an art, bringing beauty and life back to the photographic lens.

The products of the market and the expressions of those who work there combine to create the story of this vital space, so fundamental to the agri-food sector throughout northern Italy.

Vulcano studied the graphic concept (sections, chapters, photos + texts, graphic elements to support the logical development of the contents), the layout templates and everything concerning the realisation of the pages.

All the images of the book used to describe the place, the faces and the products of the market, were taken over the years and collected in an archive, and they have been seen in a different context, so the Vulcano designers organized the photographs in a non-chronological order, mixing images from different stylistic periods together and pairing them up in interesting juxtapositions. That required the retouching of images, too, like crop, scale or editing them.

What was required was a choral and harmonious narrative that would bring out the vibrant and teeming activity and make it known as Milanese excellence.

As an unconventional creative agency, Vulcano has succeeded in creating the book “Il respiro del mercato”, making the vibrancy of this space tangible.

Partner of SogeMi in this creative project, Foody, known all over the world as the mascot of Expo 2015, and emblem of quality, freshness and biodiversity of agri-food products, is now a brand that accompanies SogeMi in all company’s initiatives.

Conceived as a Christmas gift to wholesalers and institutions, this book has an introduction written by the mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala, and the president of SogeMi, Giuseppe Ferrero; that indicates how broad the cultural and institutional scope of the project is.

Giving a voice and a face to the workers who animate this world, is also a way of thanking those who have made this market the largest in Italy and one of the largest on the continent.

In 2021 SogeMi also entrusted Vulcano with the design, conception and set-up of a physical exhibition at its headquarters, specifically on the 1st floor of the Foody Business Centre.

The exhibition spaces include, in addition to the Foody Business Centre, also the membership atrium, and these walls accomodate 50 photographs and 16 sentences from the book “Il respiro del mercato”.

The outfitting represents an exhibition itinerary with scenic elements, images and phrases which aim to involve the visitor in a multisensory way, without however breaking the balance between place and setting.