De­sign

Bottega Veneta’s inau­gu­ral home fur­nish­ings store opens in Mi­lan and prom­ises to be a lux­ury re­tail game-changer, writes Stephen Short

Hong Kong Tatler - - Life -

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

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