San Vittore, space for beauty

San Vittore Prison, Milan Triennale, Maimeri Foundation, Amici della Nave

Redesigning the spaces and functionality of the prison

Action area
Inclusion and Diversity

Co-design, Strategic Design, Identity Design

2020 – 2021

San Vittore Prison

The project

With Spazio alla Bellezza, the redesign of some spaces and their functionality in the Francesco di Cataldo – San Vittore prison in Milan begins.
With this project, we want to transform the daily experience of those who live and work in prison as prisoners, educators, or agents, creating a positive environment for discussion and acceptance.

The challenge

How to redesign the prison spaces so that they become a place of meetings, relationships and sociality for prisoners and agents?

San Vittore - Strategy
San Vittore - Strategy

The strategy

In defining the spaces subject to architectural redesign, we started by evoking beauty as a fundamental right of the person, both the prisoners and the agents, operators, and educators who work inside the walls.
To imagine solutions that meet the needs of the people who live and work in San Vittore, we have followed a “participatory” design approach. We listened to the needs expressed by the actors inside and outside the prison, entering into dialogue with all citizens, inmates and not, and reconnecting the prison to the rest of the city.

San Vittore Prison Strategy

The process

We started by mapping the resources, actors, skills and talents available, followed by one-to-one interviews of 60-75 minutes with inmates, agents, educators, operators and volunteers, inhabitants and workers in the neighbourhood, prison experts and representatives of cultural activities in the area.
In response to the needs that emerged, we have built six project briefs to be delivered to the architectural firms involved, identifying three areas of intervention for the redesign of spaces: communities and living spaces, interaction with the city and recreation and well-being.

San Vittore - Process
San Vittore - Process

The impact

The redesign of some of the living spaces frequented on a daily basis by prisoners and staff enables interaction, spontaneous collaboration, cultural exchange to be initiated, building bonds of trust between people.
Creating a positive and stimulating environment lays the foundations for prisoners to follow paths of introspection and change that are even more effective in decreasing the reoffending rate and increasing the employment rate after the experience in prison.
Bringing San Vittore closer to the city context also allows that positive exchange to be initiated between inside and outside that enables the prison to recover its real centrality within the city of Milan.

The official website of the case

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    See how
    it went

    TEDx Modena – New Futures Design has been the occasion to share Spazio Alla Bellezza with the outside world and to talk about social innovation in a complex context such as the prison one. We talked about how human-centered design allowed us to activate a regeneration process starting properly from the people and the relationships that inhabit the prison space. Watch the video to discover more.