Milan: this must be the place

Milan is the protagonist: with its Design Week, but also with its lifestyle. 28 new openings, including showrooms, flagship stores, galleries, restaurants and fashion boutiques. Here's what's happening in the city

Gucci, Milano © Ferroluce e Alea

They say it has always been beautiful, just a little hidden. Perhaps this was true at one time, but no longer, Milan no longer hides its virtues, on the contrary, it continues to surprise. Lively and open to change, it always has an open door for those who promise innovation, proving once again to be the most attractive city for designer labels and more: the Kering group has bought the building in Via Monte Napoleone 8 for 1.3 billion euros.

Zanotta, Milano – photo © Simone Barberis

Milan and its famous neighbourhoods, because, as in the past (the names of the streets remind us: via Orefici, via degli Spadari), it is still better to go to Corso Monforte for those who make lamps, while those who make furniture end up in via Durini. And it is here, at number 25/27, in this street with the highest concentration of design bigwigs, that Zanotta has just arrived (70 candles this year) with a two-storey, 500 square metre flagship store designed by Calvi Brambilla, the brand’s art director. But design in the city has always gone hand in hand with fashion, so it is worth visiting Bershka (Corso Vittorio Emanuele), which has just been transformed by OMA. Pink monoliths, metallic accents and techno details: in the former cinema, the immersive space blends the real and the virtual to personalise the shopping experience.

Talenti, Milano

A few steps further and the atmosphere changes: in Via Cino del Duca 2, inside the 15th-century Casa Parravicini, two new additions: carpets by GT Design and wallpapers by Spaghetti Wall, which shares the space with Ferroluce and Alea. A little further on, in a historic building at Corso Monforte 16, Il Fanale, a lighting company, has opened its doors in collaboration with Bross Italia. Before entering via Manzoni, however, you must pass the baroque portal by Francesco Maria Richini (famous for the courtyard of the Ca’ Granda, now the State University) and enter the new Quadrilatero square, built inside the former archbishop’s seminary. Here, at number 11 Corso Venezia, the elegant colonnade houses the Hotel Portrait Milano, the new Rumore (a tribute to Raffaella Carrà), a glamorous American bar with a huge glittering ball on the ceiling signed by Humbert & Poyet, and the Antonia boutique (designed by Vincenzo De Cotiis). Not far away, close to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, is Kave Home, at Via Santa Margherita 10, which is divided into three floors like a house.

Illulian, Milano
Trattoria del Ciumbia, Milano – photo Paola Pansini

Via Manzoni, the heart of neoclassical Milan, is increasingly becoming a design hub with three major openings. Talenti, celebrating its 20th anniversary, opens at number 11. Designed by Ludovica Serafini and Roberto Palomba, the 500-square-metre space has a neutral look, ideally divided into micro-environments to best showcase the products. At the age of 38, Davide Groppi is shining his light in a big way, with over 200 square metres on two levels, with a layout designed with studio 967arch. Illulian, the historic rug brand, has just had a makeover of its showroom, giving it the feel of a modern art gallery. And the Idea Group, which specialises in bathroom furnishings, opens the doors of “Spazio Milano” at Via Manzoni 43 to share its idea of wellness. From furniture to fashion: at Via Spiga 42, you can find Marsèll, a 400 m2 store on two levels that aims to create a dialogue with different forms of art and culture; in addition to the reopening of Chanel (Via Monte Napoleone 7), you can find the historic Gucci (at 5/7), which has just been restyled in a minimalist key with designer furniture and modern and contemporary art (there are also authentic works by Lucio Fontana) in a layout that will change periodically.

Project room, 10 Corso Como, Milano – photo © Alessandro saletta

With over 260 events and 193 permanent showrooms, the Brera district continues to grow. Starting from via Fatebenefratelli 9, where the new flagship store of Delvis Unlimited, a furniture brand between art and design, is located. Another new arrival is Studio V-ZUG at Piazza San Marco 4 (the first flagship store in Italy for the Swiss household appliances brand), designed by Elisa Ossino. Change of scenery: at 32 Via Fiori Chiari, the Trattoria del Ciumbia (wow, in Milanese), designed by Dimorestudio, offers a contemporary take on Milanese taverns. Not far away, at number 28, Liu Jo Living has given itself a makeover with pleated backdrops to show off its furnishings. Dornbracht, which has chosen Via Palermo 19A for its bathroom collections, also promises an immersive experience with two 260-square-metre levels. The latest top address: the restaurant Gloria (Via Tivoli 3), eclectic but with a homely, welcoming touch reminiscent of the clubs of the 1960s.

Mirador, Milano

You only need to look at the map to see how difficult it is to bridge the gap. But to discover more of the city’s novelties, you have to head for Piazza Gae Aulenti. Here you will find an old Milanese splendour, 10 Corso Como, with a new look, the result of the work of the interdisciplinary agency 2050+, founded by Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli. A stone’s throw away, at 8 Via Melchiorre Gioia, Capital Collection, in collaboration with Italamp, also opens the doors of gioiAtelier. In the Stazione Centrale area, a little relaxation is a must, and at 25 Via Alfredo Cappellini you can find Moebius Sperimentale, a new place that combines a cocktail bar and a gourmet osteria. Also in the northern part of the city, in the Maciachini district, is Paola Lenti’s first flagship store in Milan, a 4,000 square metre space in a former industrial complex converted into bio-ecological architecture. Moving on to Porta Vittoria, FRAGILE, a gallery dedicated to historical and contemporary design, opens its new space at Via Simone D’Orsenigo 27. Also at Via Fontana 16 (Cinque Giornate district), the BKV Fine Art gallery opens its doors. Three impressive floors with works from Roman times to the Second World War.

Vertigo, Milano

Another change of direction at Via Cappuccio 18 (Cinque Vie, in the old town centre), where Horm and Karpeta have opened a joint showroom. From design to hospitality: at Via San Calocero 8 (near Porta Genova station) is the Sogni restaurant, designed by storagemilano: three dining rooms: the ‘refectory’, the ‘veranda’ and the ‘gallery’. And to end the day, two panoramic terraces: the Mirador, at the Hotel 21 House of Stories (Via Ascanio Sforza, 7), with a sky bar overlooking the pool and a gourmet restaurant, and Vertigo, at the Hotel nhow Milano, (Tortona 35), with an optical floor and an incredible infinity pool.