Influential curator Rossana Orlandi is often referred to as the „fairy godmother of design”. Rossana Orlandi is the owner of a magical space Spazio Rossana Orlandi - it is part design-shop, part gallery, part sun-dappled courtyard cafe.



MILAN 1.4.2016


Learn the places you really must see during your stay in Milan – regardless of when you happen to be there, although the Milan Design Week (12–17 April) is a very good time to visit the capital of Lombardy.
Museum Triennale di Milano
Viale Emilio Alemagna 6
One of the most important locations in Milan and the very first one visited by journalists from all over the world already on Monday, before the design week begins for good. The museum is full of exhibitions and premieres. I love its interiors and atmosphere. “Exhibitions concerning design, ideas and trends are organized here. You can see all the important icons of design... and then relax on the lawns in a nearby park,” designer Gosia Rygalik remarks, laughing. Entrance paid.

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One of Europe’s biggest trade fair complexes (46,000 sq. m.), commissioned in 2005 and designed by Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas. It stands out owing to a fancy roof outline. The iSaloni fair itself is best visited on the first day, when the place is still calm. All the biggest furniture brands in the world have their premieres here and 300,000 people come to see them. Do you forget what you have seen after going through two of over 20 halls? That is why I photograph novelties and their descriptions using a phone and then analyze them in the privacy of my home. Entrance paid.

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An exclusive district in the city centre where big brands have their showrooms to host events and premieres. I love walking in and out of shops, galleries, craftsmen’s workshops and random tenement houses in which something interesting happens to be taking place due to the celebration of design. While on my way, I sip espresso and savour the best ice cream in the world. Most entrances free of charge.


Spazio Rossana Orlandi
Via Matteo Bandello 14/16
The gallery gathers the avant-garde of international design. People visit it for the unique atmosphere of exhibitions held in every corner of the old tenement house and its yards. It also houses a shop, in which every object has been hand-picked by Rossana Orlandi – Milan’s cult personality and a famous hunter of young talents, always seen in self-designed glasses and with a cigarette. “Spazio is a bit like a concept shop, but during the fair it teems first and foremost with unique art and design. Here you can find works by young designers and artists from all over the world, as well as personalities who are not bound to the artistic world, but want to express themselves in a certain way and Rossana allows them to do it. She excels in finding people who are able to share something with the world. The group of those who began their career in her gallery and are now progressing as artists and designers is already quite big,” says Ada Pulwicki, an interior architect. Entrance free of charge.

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Via San Gregorio 39
A gallery founded two years ago by eccentric curator Claudio Loria. Hand-made furniture, beautiful art and a marvellous place! A must-be-and-see! Entrance free of charge.

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Ventura Lambrate
This is one of the most interesting places of the whole design week and the spring of Milan’s river of talents. The district is full of avant-garde, people and events managed by the Dutch in Milan for a few years. Schools from all over Europe and young designers also present their work here. Fresh ideas literally burst out of each hall. The exhibitions are so numerous that it would be impossible to describe them all here. Simply visit Ventura’s website. Entrance free of charge.

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Bar Basso
Via Plinio 39
A cult meeting place of Milan’s design circles. Self-promotion in full swing and the best parties. “A cult bar visited by crowds every evening despite its location in the suburbs, once empty and now filled by hundreds of designers and people connected with design,” Tomek Rygalik explains. Entrance free of charge; events during the design week – only with invitations.

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10 Corso Como
A one-of-a-kind shop: it has a terrace, is full of greenery and houses a collection of niche brands and an excellent gallery. It has been a cult place for years as it combines design, good food and artistic activity in equal proportions. It is undoubtedly a must-see for people visiting Milan and willing to get to know the city’s atmosphere. Entrance free of charge.

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Villa Necchi Campiglio
Via Manzoni 12
One of the city’s most interesting buildings: an art déco-style villa from 1930s designed by Piero Portaluppi. If you do not manage to see its interiors, do watch a movie entitled “I Am Love” (directed by Luca Guadagnino), in which the villa “plays” the lead role. It also shows loneliness, emptiness and emotional coldness suffered by Emma, the main character excellently portrayed by Tilda Swinton. Entrance paid.

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Zona Tortona
It is a mixture of fairs and presentations. Years ago it used to be one of Milan’s most interesting design locations. Its former freshness, ensured by its founder Giulio Cappellini (a famous talent hunter and trend researcher) and concentrated by him in Superstudio Piu, has evaporated a bit. Still, it is worth visiting to see what Marcel Wanders from the Netherlands has been up to in his enormous hall at Via Savona 56. Entrance paid in Superstudio Piu; in most other galleries – entrance free of charge.

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Naviglio Grande
“I actually recommend the whole zone around Canale Naviglio Grande. This place is close to Tortona, but is often omitted. It seems that if someone finally gets to Zona, they think that they have found Milan’s essence, but this is false. The Naviglio Grande zone is filled with plenty of niche undertakings such as shops and restaurants. Here you will also find Fabricca – one of Milan’s two cult small restaurants serving fantastic pizza in great atmosphere and without requiring you to spend a fortune,” says designer Tomek Rygalik.

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Gio Ponti’s house
Via Dezza 49
Gio Ponti (1891–1979) was a famous Italian architect and designer as well as an editor-in-chief of Domus, a magazine on art and architecture which he founded in 1928 and managed until death (the cult magazine still exists). He acquired fame owing to the Pirelli skyscraper constructed in Milan in 1958, the city’s highest building at the time (127 m), because it had a very innovative form of a ship. Since 1957, Ponti lived in a block of flats that he designed together with all the fittings (see the photo). The building is today considered as an icon of architecture, but its interior is not available to visitors.

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Dolce & Gabbana
Via Goldoni 10
The headquarters of the famous clothing brand were designed by Studio Piuarch, which adjusted two buildings from the 1920s and 1960s to the company’s needs. The building was finished with Namibian white marble, glass and raw steel sheets. Its interior is not available to visitors.

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Velasca skyscraper
Piazza Velasca 3-5
The 99–metre building, which currently symbolizes the birth of modern Italian architecture, was erected in 1954 in the brutalist style. Its silhouette refers to massive medieval fortresses and defence towers typical of Lombardy. It was designed by Gian Luigi Banfi, Lodovico Belgiojoso, Enrico Peressutti and Ernesto Nathan Rogers (BBPR).

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