Five corner show windows on Brompton Road, London, at number 245-249, opposite the Victoria & Albert museum and in the heart of the Museum District. This is the new flagship store of Molteni&C|Dada, the third in the City after the store opened in 2008 on Shaftesbury Avenue in Covent Garden and the contract Flagship Store UniFor and Molteni&C in 2018 in Fitzrovia.
The opening, on 22 January starting at 8:30, is a wonderful opportunity for the international press to see the innovations of the Made in Italy group for themselves, from the VVD kitchen to the Paul sofa in green velvet, to the masterpieces of Gio Ponti such as the D.154.2 armchair and the D.655.1 mobile storage unit.
The architectural design is by Vincent Van Duysen, creative director of the Molteni&C and Dada brands since April 2016, for works lasting over a year. The Flemish architect retains the characteristics of the historical space dating back to the late nineteenth century, the first space of the Skandium store, preserving its volumes marked by large arches; but it revolutionises it with rich and very Italian materials, such as travertine marble and walnut wood, brought from Italy and processed by Italian craftsmen. Van Duysen, with special skill, is able to take advantage of even the most irregular spaces, such as niches and corners, to create different scenarios from time to time, the theatrical sets that present the masterpieces of design in a domestic and intimate dimension.
The new Molteni sales point is spread over more than 700 square metres and is articulated on two levels connected by a scenic staircase, covered in walnut with travertine marble steps that reproduce, on a smaller scale, the staircase of the New York flagship store: the ground floor is a wide and bright display window overlooking the street, while the underground level is a more private floor, where the soft lighting caresses and reveals the furniture.
“A beautiful showcase, an international flagship that seeks to be a meeting point not only for architects and retailers, but also for the general public who visit London and approach design for the first time,” says Giulia Molteni, head of marketing and communications of the company bearing her family name. “We already have two flagships oriented to contract design, this is intended to be a point for all design enthusiasts, from the general public to architects, to the millions of people strolling through London and the Museum District.” And she continues: “The English market is very important for us, it is comprised of contract work for 50 percent, especially for kitchens and large furniture supplies in towers and skyscrapers, and the other 50 percent is represented by retail.
London is a trendy city, English taste has changed in recent years and there is a younger clientele that has a fresher taste. And then, London is so international that it is the home to people from all over the world, from Arabs to Americans to Chinese.” An opening at a time that is so complex for the City because of the unknown effects of Brexit that, according to Giulia Molteni, “Will have some effects, but I think very limited ones on our fortunate sector comprised of enthusiasts. We look ahead with courage, an attitude that has always been in our DNA.
London remains an international meeting point, a city so strong that it will never die.” And among the next openings are those of Los Angeles and Shanghai, always with wide-ranging flagship stores.
Although the European market remains very important for Molteni: “The percentages between contract and retail change, but we can say that, in general, in Italy we have a good 20 percent, in Europe 50 percent, the rest is America and Asia, that are in constant growth. In China alone we have 12 stores.”