Pelota Space Events

In former times people played pelota (basque racquetball) here. Now this fronton in the heart of Milan’s arty Brera district has become a venue for all kinds of events. With its original identity intact, the 1,200-sqm pelota space offers the city a nice cross between history and modernity and a fine backdrop for exhibitions, parties and presentations.
On the map of historic locations in downtown milan, the pelota space represents a wonderful example of architectural renovation and renewal. Close by corso garibaldi, between the brera academy and the fashion triangle, this site which dates back to 1947 is where people used to come to play pelota, a.k.a. Basque racquetball. As for more recent times, three years of restoration begun in 1998 brought back the original splendor to the place.
The sport per se consists of two teams of players who face off by using a special wicker racquet to hit a rubber ball (the pelota) against a wall. The game requires a large high-ceiling open-space structure with grandstand and bleachers (at the time so betters could be there to watch). When in 1997, fifty years after it first opened, gilmar chairman silvano gerani purchased the fronton he decided on a preservative type of restoration. The full name of the sport – pelota jai alai – means “upbeat high-spirited game” in the basque language, which naturally says a lot about it. Today, thanks to a major renovation and renewal process, this milanese temple of the popular basque sport is again in splendid shape.
The foyer complete with betting counter (now a bar) and the spectator bleachers have the scent of history. Even the big old betting machine, once upon a time a mixed blessing for thousands of betters, has found a new life. The same is true of the ultra high and singularly curved ceiling over the original playing court. And while the mosaic ceramic tiles on the walls are the authentic ones, both the steel beam coverings all along the upper part of the pelota space and the lighting elements by world-class brit designer mark newson are perfectly new.