Bottega Veneta’s inaugural home furnishings store opens in Milan and promises to be a luxury retail game-changer, writes Stephen Short
Bottega Veneta’s inaugural home furnishings store opens in Milan
Once upon a time in the luxury lifestyle retail landscape, an upscale Italian brand called Bottega Veneta opened its inaugural home-furnishing boutique within the Palazzo Gallarati Scotti, an 18th-century townhouse of former aristocratic connection at 5 Via Borgospesso in Milan… and virtually nobody noticed. That was in March.
Our hero and aesthetic prince, Bottega Veneta creative director Tomas Maier, was so discreet that not only were those who covet the brand’s Cabat bags and accessories unaware of the Milan store’s opening, they were also mostly oblivious to the brand’s home connections. Yet Bottega Veneta’s home-furnishing artistry will celebrate its 10th anniversary next year. “We knew we wanted a dedicated space for our furniture in the heart of Milan,” says Maier. “It was just a matter of finding the ideal location. When this incredible palazzo came up, we knew it would be perfect.”
And so it was: stately yet unassuming on the outside, but magnificent and breathtaking on the inside. As Maier evocatively puts it, the store is “like discovering the luxurious lining of a handbag.” The 2,200-square-foot space has high, grandiose ceilings in its rooms, made all the more so by the presence of original frescoes by 18th-century masters Carlo Innocenzo Carlone and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, imposing stone columns and 250-year-old terracotta floor tiles, providing an exceptional setting that honours the space’s existing beauty.
“The contemporary design of Bottega Veneta Home collections plays dramatically against the historic palazzo’s soaring coffered ceilings and remarkable frescoes,” Maier says with pride. “In our Milan Via Borgospesso store, our furniture collection meets Italian tradition. A lot of townhouses in the centre of Milan have unique settings, but we believe it’s important to respect them and find the right balance with our contemporary proposals.” That’s a Bottega Veneta mantra: “It is part of our brand philosophy to try to respect and enhance heritage and historical legacy as much as we can.”
Maier, not unlike Karl Lagerfeld, has a tendency to get his contemporary proposals right, often one step ahead of the competition. Sensing a shift from pure fashion and