Chess pieces have long been a venue for set designers to explore their love of architecture in microcosm, but usually, the pieces all possess the same style. For his Milan chess set, designer Davide Chiesa used 500 years of Milanese architecture as inspiration and distilled it down to something you can 3-D print for yourself.
More specifically, six buildings from Milan have been adapted for the set. There’s the sleek, modern Unicredit tower, designed by César Pelli, as king, and the 140-meter tall Diamant Tower as queen. The 1950s era Torre Velasca plays bishop, the iconic Milan Cathedral as knight, and the famous Sforza Castle, previously home to the Duke of Milan, as rook. Finally, all the pawns have been modeled after Porta Sempione’s Arco della Pace, the entry point to Milan, and a remnant of the city’s old Roman walls.
“The idea for this project came out from my personal experience as interior designer in Milan and my personal history,” Chiesa says. “You have to know that the skyline of this city has dramatically changed in the last five years and finally a skyscraper silhouette appeared in a central part of the city. Where my father once brought me when I was a child–to an old Luna Park–we have a totally new area full of new buildings. Melting the concept of the square part of the city where I live and the memory of my father teaching me to play chess, I decided to put all the buildings on a chess board.”
If you want to own the Milan Chess set, you have a couple options. You can purchase the 3-D print files for around $11 from Cults3D and do the job on your own. But if you’d rather have something more polished, you can purchase the entire set directly from Ideafactory for around $270 dollars. For chess lovers heading to Milan Design Week next year, this might be a way to brush up on both your openings, and your architecture.