Milano Design Week is not just about furniture and products. It is also history and culture. One of the major virtues of the event has been to open up many historic buildings in Milan that are usually off limits, making them into exceptional settings for the span of one week, with the debut of new brands and collections, in a true relationship between design and the city that hosts it.
This is the case of Palazzo Orsini, on Via Borgonuovo, right next to Brera, the long-term headquarters of Armani containing the offices and atelier of the Giorgio Armani Privé haute couture collection. The fashion brand has opened its home to the public for the design week, revealing its large courtyard, magnificent frescoed halls and an evocative secret garden, set up for the occasion with the new creations for 2023 of Armani/Casa.
“My work, in fashion and design, is a constant search for balance, stemming from the choice of the materials and the skills of the hands that make the pieces. Opening the doors of the brand’s long-term headquarters to the public of the Salone del Mobile and unveiling the new Armani/Casa collection in such an intimate place is a way to shed light on this process – says Giorgio Armani. – It is also a way to focus on the variety of the offerings, concentrating on outdoor furnishings this year, along with the material excellence of well-crafted furnishings.”
Crossing the 17th-century courtyard, visitors enter the garden decorated with theatrical wings that echo the neutral colors of the building. This is the stage for the presentation of the first Armani/Casa collection entirely focused on outdoor settings. The products reflect the stylistic canons of the indoor line, and hence the timeless elegance of the brand. The collection includes the Terence sofa and armchair with pouf, the Timothy cot, the large Thomas table for the living area, the Turner and Terry tables, and the Thelma folding director’s chair. All the items are made in solid teak, with simple and pleasingly rounded lines, enhanced by particular engraved decoration that replicates a woven relief pattern. The cushions and upholstered parts are covered in an Armani/Casa jacquard fabric developed to stand up to use in the open air, available in intense solid colors or with stylized palm motifs.
Going up a dramatic staircase, visitors reach the first floor: the Armani Privé atelier has temporarily made room for a display in which the furnishings establish a perfect dialogue with the variegated setting of decorations and frescos. Products in wicker extend the outdoor theme, with weaves envisioned for verandas. One hall is set aside for some of the most refined creations, reissues of iconic pieces made in precious materials, with the same care that goes into Armani’s haute couture. Thus the Sofia chair, the Antoinette coiffeuse and the Camilla desk come back to life in new versions clad in mother-of-pearl mosaic tiles on the entire surface, reflecting the typical oriental influences of the Armani aesthetic.
Photo © Federica Bottoli