Going to Milan this summer was an absolutely amazing opportunity. The architecture and design over there were incredible to see. I was able to see so many luxury showrooms and gain so much inspiration to add to my future designs. The designs were so varied and different from the ones prevalent in Chattanooga. The innovations, especially in kitchen design, were so ahead of the designs I have ever seen. The most interesting aspect of the designs in Milan, was how the culture of Milan affects the designs. The culture in Milan is very open, trendy, and comfortable.
I am so grateful that I was able to experience the culture of Italy. Everyone was so inviting and very kind. One cafe in particular was very generous. It was down the block from our hotel, and we went nearly every day. The owner opened the cafe just for us on the last night of our stay and bought us pizza. We all took a polaroid, and it is still hanging up behind the register. We were able to talk about politics, national customs, and our lives together and get new perspectives. It was definitely the most memorable night of the trip.
The most fun part of the trip was being able to explore different cities in Italy. We went to Lake Como first. We were able to tour RATTI Textile Center. That tour was the most informative tour of the trip. It was very interesting to see the textile process from start to finish. It was also very cool to see the technology that was used to create textile patterns both digitally and by hand. The amount of technicality and creativity that goes into textile manufacturing was very cool to see. The process of weaving and printing was also very intriguing to see in person.
The next group visit was to Venice. Venice is the most beautiful city I have ever seen. It is amazing that the city is built on water. The gondola ride was so beautiful. After lunch and a walking tour we toured Rubelli Fabrics. The original patterns for the fabrics were so interesting to see. So many famous textiles have been produced through Rubelli Fabrics. My favorite fact from the tour was learning that they collaborated with Harry Potter for fabrics. I wish I would have been able to spend a lot more time in Venice to better experience the city without having to be in a rush.
I went on two day trips to different cities in Italy. First, I went to Alassio. The coast was absolutely gorgeous. The atmosphere was much more laid back than Milan. It was so peaceful there. The second day trip was to Vernazza on the Cinque Terre coast. The water was so clear and blue. I was bale to see a church that was older than the United States.
Overall, this trip was such an enlightening experience. I am so happy that I decided to go on this adventure.
Catherine McConnell (BS Interior Architecture) spent Summer 2022 in Milan, Italy as part of a faculty-led trip linked with a UTC course. Catherine had the following to say about study abroad, “Studying abroad is such an amazing experience. I am so happy that I went.”
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