Milan's best interiors shops

Five spaces that design aficionados must visit in Milan


BY BETHAN RYDER
Bethan Ryder writes on design for titles including The Telegraph Luxury magazine, The Guardian and Elle Décor.

 

 

For the very best style finds, sometimes you need to travel. Milan is one of Europe’s great furniture capitals, home of the annual Salone del Mobile (otherwise known as the Milan furniture fair) every April, but a year-round mecca for interiors lovers. From now until 31 December 2018, for example, the Milan Furniture Design Collection package at Mandarin Oriental, Milan offers personalised interior design advice, a three-hour bespoke city tour to the city’s premier furniture and interior design showrooms, and much more. Here are some of the hot spots that help give the city its towering reputation.

Nilufar Depot

A warehouse rather than shop, Nilufar Depot on Viale Vincenzo Lancetti, 34

opened to much acclaim in 2015 and has been reeling in design lovers ever since. It was previously just a storage facility for Nina Yashar, Milan’s Prada-clad doyenne of 20th- and 21st-century collectables for the past 25 years. She’s sold her audacious blend of rugs, furniture and lighting to a discerning crowd she dubs the illuminati, from her gallery, opposite Lanvin on fashionable Via Della Spiga, since 1989. Now, by appointment, customers can also browse three floors there, too – it feels a little like a giant doll’s house – where Lindsey Adelman lighting, or a Bethan Laura Wood table might sit next to a 1950s Gio Ponti armchair or 16th-century tapestry. Worth visiting for style inspiration alone.

Fornasetti

In 2016, Barnaba Fornasetti, son of Milanese artist, sculptor and interior designer Piero Fornasetti, opened Fornasetti on Corso Venezia, 21/A (corner of Via Senato), a three-floor mono-brand flagship in a historic neoclassical style building in the city’s fashion district. It’s a treasure trove of Fornasetti’s graphic designs – he was incredibly prolific producing thousands of items, including more than 350 ‘theme and variation’ plates featuring his enigmatic muse, the soprano singer Lina Cavalieri. Although he died in 1988, his son has continued to expand the brand, with ventures that include wallpaper collections with Cole & Son and limited-edition furniture pieces, such as lacquered cabinets and chairs. It’s an Instagrammer’s delight, with each room painted a different shade to contrast with the objects on display – don’t miss the gallery of plates. They offer a bespoke design service, too. Good for hand-luggage-portable souvenirs or gifts. Of course, if you’re a Fornasetti fan, you’ll naturally hope to stay in Mandarin Oriental, Milan’s Fornasetti Suite, which features several original, exuberant pieces.   

Rossana Orlandi

During Milan’s annual Design Week, the international press and designers alike always make a pilgrimage to the quiet residential Magenta neighbourhood to browse Rossana Orlandi on Via Matteo Bandello, 14/16. It’s an idyllic spot, a former tie factory transformed into a buzzing creative hub with a leafy open-air courtyard at its heart. Its founder is petite septuagenarian Rossana Orlandi, whose trademark oversized glasses render her quite owl-like, although she’s more of a magpie when it comes to scoping out emerging talent. Look out for Germans Ermičs’s rainbow mirrors, Nika Zupanc’s glamorous furniture, Maarten Baas’s creations, or Piet Hein Eek’s eco-friendly works created from waste tiles or scrapwood. This is the place to come to invest in the design stars of the future, or to discover new brands and collaborations – or just drink a coffee in the restaurant and soak up the scene.

Dimore Gallery

The Brera district is full of design stores, but perhaps one of the most fabulous is Dimore Gallery, located in an 18th-century palazzo just off a courtyard that also houses Boffi and Paola C (also worth a look) on Via Solferino 11. It's like entering a dream world, one conceived by creative partners Britt Moran and Emiliano Salci, whose alchemy of old and new presented in a nostalgic palette of jewel-toned hues never fails to seduce. It’s won them top-tier interiors clients such as Fendi, Bottega Veneta and Frette, not forgetting The Arts Club on London’s Dover Street, for whom they created Leo’s Supper Club. Wander through a series of grand rooms furnished with flamboyant palm prints, silk-fringed slipper chairs, sumptuous velvets and vintage modernist pieces – all presented with a touch of 1970s loucheness. Then channel your inevitable apartment envy into a shopping spree and transport some of their magic home.

Raw

There are two branches of Raw, an intriguing “cabinet de curiositès”, aka concept store, full of “unusual and poetic” objects and homeware sourced by dapper duo, interior designer, Paolo Badesco, and architect, Constantino Affuso. Found at either Corso Magenta 10 or Via Palermo 1, the interior constantly changes, and among the salvaged items – vintage trunks, bird cages, bistro tables and even kitchen sinks – and rare antiques, are also well-known brands such as Astier de Villatte, lighting by DCW éditions and Wall&decò wallpapers. There’s a florist, too. To whet your appetite for your trip to Milan, get a sense of the pair’s design flair from their raw_milano Instagram feed, pet Irish Setters and all.

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