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Arty manhole covers take over the streets of Milan

Twenty-four of Italy’s most well known fashion brands, among them Versace, Missoni, Etro, Giorgio Armani, Moschino, Valentino, Salvatorre Ferragamo, Prada, Pucci, Trussardi, Iceberg, Alberta Ferretti and Ermenegildo Zegna have taken over the streets of Milan, creating a series of fashionable manhole covers that form part of the “Above the Below — Manhole Cover Art and the Wired City” exhibition. The project is commissioned by the city of Milan, in collaboration with the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana and Metroweb, a Milanese fiber optics company, and its intention is to highlight the invisible network of wires and connections that is hidden underneath the streets of Milan —the city with the most extensive underground network of optical fiber in Europe.

The hand-made covers debuted on February 24 at via Montenapoleone and via S.Andrea, two of Milan’s most glamorous streets, and will remain on display until January 2016. This is the third edition of the manhole cover art exhibitions, following “Over the Under” that featured cast-iron manholes designed by street artists of the likes of Shepard Fairey, Flying Fortress, The London Police, Rendo and Space Invader. This year, apart from the aforementioned fashion designers, the exhibition included two special designs from Alessandro Garofolo and Santi, both students at the Instituto Marangoni in Milan. The designers participated in a contest announced by Metroweb that had as an aim to select two young talents who would best interpret the exhibition’s theme. After January, all manhole covers will be restored and auctioned at Christie’s, with all proceedings going to Oxfam Italia.