Rome has history, Florence has the architecture and Milan… well, Milan has design.
And a lot of it, actually.
Whilst other notorious Italian cities may evoke romantic European vibes, Milan reflects a more contemporary Italy; vibrant, fast-paced and edgy. Home to a myriad of design festivals, runways, models and high-end stores, this city is a creative melting pot that ranks high beside cities like Paris, New York and London. But Milan is not only home-base for high-end names in the fashion industry. Interior designers, architects and photographers are constantly emerging from the Milanese art-scene. This, of course, is no surprise when the city hosts some of the most prestigious design courses worldwide.
The following is a selection of three places; somewhere to eat, somewhere to stay and somewhere to shop – all of which encapsulate Milan’s finest designers & why you should know about them.
Not a big design bluff? That’s totally fine, I got you covered. I’ll explain exactly what the hype about these places is!
Somewhere to Stay
Hotel | City Centre | 235 EUR per night | Instagram: @roommatehotels | Best for a fashionable place to stay
In 2020, interior design has been dominated by soft colour and texture – a trend that combines blush pinks with ocres and teals for uplifting visual spaces. There has also been a lot of modern interpretations of Bauhaus furniture, paired with distinguishably trendy and contemporary accents. Whilst these trends are relatively new, Room Mate Hotels, designed by @patricia_urquiola seems to have always made them a staple in her interior design work.
Undeniably vintage, different and brave, the Room Mate hotel – which is actually a chain – boasts of textures and references to it’s Italian context. From Milanese art work displayed in all kinds of fashion, to curated lighting design and ceiling accents; no nook has been forgotten – nothing is accidental. Whilst modern trends like to shy away from risky colour combinations, Room Mate embraces pinks and reds and greens and oranges and browns; a combination which makes the spaces lively and visually enticing.
Not to mention; it would be a very pretty photoshoot backdrop. Wouldn’t you agree?
Somewhere to Eat (And Visit!)
Fondazione Prada & Bar Luce
Bar & Museum | Morivione | $$ | Bar Luce | Best suited for film buffs
Design isn’t really complete without a mention of a gallery, and even more specifically, La Fondazione Prada; a museum that houses art in all it’s shapes, forms and sizes. Designed by world-renowned architect Rem Koolhas, the building is comprised of an old factory remodelled in true Prada fashion. Golden clad buildings, unexpected pops of colour and a diverse arrangement of spaces make this the perfect pit-stop for museum enthusiasts.
Neither is anything fortuitous inside Bar Luce – the name given to Wes Anderson’s collaborative venture into interior design located within the Fondazione Prada premises. Famous for films you have probably heard of and love, such as Hotel Budapest or The Life Aquatic, Anderson has a very distinctive visual style. From refined colour palettes to a clever use of symmetry and positioning, his gift for all things visual does not go unnoticed. And it is this visual brand he has built for himself that also makes Bar Luce quite the something – echoing an Italian 50s feel which practically drags you back in time.
Somewhere to Shop
Showroom and shop | San Vittore | $$$$ |@rossana_orlandi
Best suited for those that have heard the sentence “form over function” before
It is hard to age better than Rossana Orlandi, who even in her 70s remains so current and prominent in the design world. Always impeccably dressed, Orlandi boasts of a talented’s curator eye which has shaped her into the Anna Wintour of design (which basically means, she’s a pretty big deal). Her gallery houses hundreds of visitors during Milan Desing Week, meandering through her reconstructed tie-factory warehouse and discovering whatever designer she has decided to bring out into the spotlight.
Orlandi has a reputation that follows her, and it’s certainly a good one. She has discovered big names in the industry, such as Tom Dixon or Studio Job, and keeps on pleasantly attracting designers who want to become part of the Orlandi family. This mentor-like relationship of Orlandi makes her space all the more attractive; not only is her gallery a place to inspire and view, but to learn and teach the next generation of creatives.
10 Corso Como
Showroom, Restaurant and shop | San Marco | $$$$ | @10corsocomo
Best for lovers of all things quirky
Art, and consequently artists, have been coming up with new typology of spaces for decades. 10 Corso Como is one of these spaces – the sort that fit into such a myriad of categories it’s almost hard to put this place into words. You want to head over if you’re not afraid of maximalism and quirky-ness, embrace colour, or enjoy a hub of beautiful chaos.
Visit the restaurant for state-of-the-art cuisine, meander around the first floor to hunt for unique pieces or spend your time at the upper-floor library. Whatever your tastes for art is, 10 Corso Como will accommodate for it, which makes for a wonderful afternoon activity, irregardless of age.
Wether an experienced designer, or simply someone with an unfaltering interest for creative and visual experiences, Milan might be the Italian stop for you. Colourful, bright and blooming, the city is always offering a myriad of events, galleries and concept stores to cater for different tastes.
So what are you waiting for? Go live, eat and sleep design in Milan!