Founded in 1947 by mid-century architectural gods Ignazio Gardella and Luigi Caccia Dominioni, this sophisticated little shop carries re-editions of classic pieces from the ’50s and ’60s. Known for iconic pieces from crescent-shaped velvet side chairs to sensationally simple brass doorknobs that populate top Milanese homes, Azucena is a humble altar for some of Italy’s most coveted design objects.
Antique, vintage and modern furnishings come together in a large, bright showroom that will inspire even ardent feng shui believers to re-do their entire home or office in the stile Italiano. Owner Garau has impeccable taste and presents jumbles of mixed-style chairs, tables, lamps and carpets in intriguing tableaux.
Unlike its more stylish and sleek design shop counterparts, this is an un-slick warehouse off the beaten track but chocker-block full of mid-century goods. You have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and weed through the selection, but there’s always a gem to be found amongst the loot. Brian Atwood and Alessandro Dell’Acqua’s studios are just around the corner.
What was once an oversized ex-industrial space that kept Milan Design Empress Nina Yashar’s most treasured overflow of design loot is now a full-on, full-sized three-story exhibition and display space spanning 1,500 square metres. Off the beaten track but well worth the trek from the city center, it will satisfy both art and design palettes that appreciate the greats like Gio Ponti and Ettore Sotsass as well as newer stars such as Martino Gamper and Massimiliano Locatelli. More central is Yashar’s beloved mainstay spot on Via Della Spiga 32, with a more limited but still brilliantly curated selection.
If you’re from NYC, you’ve likely heard of Tyler Hays’ handsome, American-made furniture outpost there. His Milan venture, located in 5 Vie, a new creative slice of the city, boasts BDDW’s luxurious wood and leather-detailed furniture, great-looking carpets, kiln-fired ceramics and even handcrafted ping pong tables. Check out the gallery space and the Wait and See fashion boutique on same road.
Fornasetti is stuffed like an Aladdin’s cave, with re-edition booty from the surreal designer’s glittering mid-century career as well as newly designed items from his son Barnaba. There is pattern and product everywhere you look—let yourself get dizzy over the swirling cloud wallpaper, butterfly covered tables and trompe l’oeil umbrella stands.
Il Valore Aggiunto
Managed by two chic Italian sisters, this loft conversion opens onto a quintessentially Milanese courtyard and is full of seductive antique and modern furniture, lamps and decorative objects. It is more private lounge than dusty, over-crowded shop, and the vast selection of textiles could easily keep you busy shopping for the entire day.
Memphis Post Design Gallery
This shop is the Minimalist’s Kryptonite—brimming with brilliantly colored glass pieces from super designer and Memphis leader Ettore Sottsass as well as blindingly-bright furniture from his contemporaries. It feels like a playground but design aficionados will appreciate the extent to which important pieces like the Carlton table and Rivolo chair are celebrated here as re-editions.
Owners Britt Moran and Emiliano Salci have skyrocketed to fame in the last few years, transforming their former home into one of the hottest design galleries in town. Their space in Brera functions as a showroom for their growing line of covetable furniture, which is artfully mixed with mid-century collectibles from the likes of Vico Magistretti and Gio Ponti. Luckily everything you see here is for sale; unluckily, it ain’t cheap.
Vincenzo de Cotiis
One of Milan’s hottest architects (he has designed the Straf Hotel, Antonia boutique, Excelsior department store and T’a Bistrot, among others) recently opened the doors to his high-concept, beautifully executed furniture and lighting designs. This is strictly a gallery environment, so you will see only a few, collector worthy pieces. But it is absolutely worth a visit.
BassamFellows at Exits Gallery
America’s coolest craftsmen, Scott Fellow and Craig Bassam, chose Milan for their first gallery shop dedicated to their modern vision of good old-fashioned timber. You’ll find their signature tractor stools, couches and chairs, as well as their men’s footwear and eyewear. A nice complement are the lights, glassware and metal objects by Produzione Privata, the niche design label operated by neighboring architect Michele de Lucchi.
Milan’s most important design gallery started life as an antique carpet shop back in 1979. Now, with her steady supply of top-grade furniture and lighting pieces by mid-century masters such as Gio Ponti, Achille Castiglioni and Carlo Mollino, owner Nina Yashar has officially become Milan’s empress of design. The price tags are exorbitant, but any aesthete in search of collectibles or inspiration should make haste.
Galleria Luisa delle Piane
Not only is Luisa delle Piane one of Milan’s chicest, most elegant women (we’ll take her entire wardrobe, thank you) but her gallery is one of the city’s best-kept design secrets. Tucked unsuspectingly into Chinatown, the space rotates exciting contemporary designers such as Jaime Hayon, Hella Jongerius and Studio Job, as well as past geniuses like Franco Albini and Ico Parisi. Original, thought-provoking work wrapped in a package of Milanese good taste.
Founded in 1956 as a multi-brand design shop (before that concept existed), De Padova is a Milanese institution. If you’re in the market for excellent desk chairs or outdoor furniture like seriously quality sun loungers and suspension lighting, this is the place. Check out the back room for impeccably designed tabletop gems, such as Ichendorf’s oil and vinegar bottles.
This sprawling wonderland is one woman’s vision: Orlandi handpicks highly conceptual pieces from the hottest new names in contemporary design, which appear throughout a maze of rooms. Upstairs, the tabletop treasures are surprisingly down to earth. During Salone del Mobile, this is the place to be; in the off-season, it’s eerily, nicely quiet. Pop into Marta next door for lunch.