Milan: The International Capital of Design

While Milan is internationally recognized for being many things – a major financial hub, a fashion mecca, a home to centuries at the intersection of art, culture and industry – one aspect that truly makes the city unique is how visible design is. Design is everywhere. It’s consciously integrated and celebrated throughout the city with the new, old and conceptual existing side by side. Just being there feels like an education in design. During our last trip, three very disparate locations illustrated this perfectly: Torre Velasca, the Prada Museum and the home and studio of designer Paola Navone.

DZINE has a very special relationship with designer-architect Piero Lissoni and manufacturer Living Divani, for which Lissoni acts as art director and designer. This past year, Lissoni and Living Divani collaborated to create an inspired installation at the iconic Torre Velasca, which we were eager to visit during our travels.

An early conceptual skyscraper set in the city’s historic center, the Torre Velasca is known – and often criticized for – its top-heavy proportions. Built in 1954 by the BBPR architectural partnership, the design of the building is a modern interpretation of a medieval watchtower, and is used today for both residential and commercial purposes.

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Living Divani and Lissoni took over one of the building’s penthouses and staged a minimal luxury apartment. It showcases Living Divani furniture, a Boffi kitchen, FLOS lighting and offers spectacular views of the surrounding city.

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Another must-see was Milan’s “Fondazione Prada” which we explored with our extended Baxter family. The Prada Museum is an extraordinary permanent exhibition space dedicated to contemporary art and culture that opened in May 2015. The compound was designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and his firm OMA, who transformed what was originally the site of a distillery into a 120,000 square foot cultural institution. The museum is open to the public and features art installations, a bar designed by director Wes Anderson, a film theater and a center for children.

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We had the unique opportunity to visit the apartment of Paola Navone, a celebrated Italian architect, interior designer and decorator, art director and creator. Navone has been a part of Italy’s design elite for the past three decades, and her list of clients includes top brands such as Gervasoni, Armani Home, Driade, Molteni, Baxter, Paola Lenti and Crate & Barrel. Her industrial apartment, located on the top floor of her studio in the bohemian Tortona district of Milan, is colorful and truly eclectic, filled with her inspirations and creations.

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Always interested in the unique and unusual, Navone embellishes her living room floor with inlaid pebbles and grey and blue tiles, on top of which sits a customized Ghost sofa she designed for Gervasoni, along with a collection of her own ceramics for Crate & Barrel.

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A terrace opens up to sprawling views of the city and the rest of her living space is filled with her own furniture and designs.

Next: Celebrating New Milestones in Milan