REIN­VENT­ING A CLAS­SIC

Hong Kong Tatler Homes - - EDITOR'S NOTE -

Pa­per Moon restau­rant, just steps away from the fash­ion hub that is Via Monte Napoleone, is a revered in­sti­tu­tion among fash­ion­istas and creative pro­fes­sion­als. Now the renowned brand, which has estab­lished out­posts in cities rang­ing from Hong Kong to Dubai, has dou­bled down on Mi­lan, open­ing a sec­ond restau­rant, Pa­per Moon Giardino at 12 Via Bagutta.

The ad­di­tion of the word giardino, Ital­ian for gar­den, is fit­ting, given the restau­rant’s pic­turesque court­yard. Hong Kong-based firm AB Con­cept was com­mis­sioned to de­sign the restau­rant, which is des­tined to be­come as iconic as the orig­i­nal.

“Pa­per Moon has been around for al­most three decades and ev­ery­one in Mi­lan knows about it,” says Ed Ng, one of the founders of AB Con­cept. “They are fa­mous for their hearty food and cosy at­mos­phere. Ev­ery­one has a cer­tain im­age when they think of Pa­per Moon and that posed a chal­lenge for us in the be­gin­ning. How­ever, the own­ers, Stefania and Clau­dio, told us they wanted the new restau­rant to take the Pa­per Moon brand to a new level while re­tain­ing its sub­tle char­ac­ter­is­tics—the friendly ser­vice, and food that is not fancy but uses the best in­gre­di­ents.”

The restau­rant is housed in a 200-year-old villa within Palazzo Reina that was formerly the home of the no­ble Luigi Bo­lis Gualdo. “The build­ing, how­ever beau­ti­ful, also posed a slight worry to the own­ers in the be­gin­ning be­cause—and this is very Mi­lanese in think­ing—they were con­cerned that it looked too pala­tial, too showy,” says Ng.

The re­sult is decor that looks con­tem­po­rary but friendly, lux­u­ri­ous but not in­tim­i­dat­ing—as­pects that the team also de­rived from the restau­rant’s ethos for its food.

The lay­out of the restau­rant re­flects its for­mer life as a lux­ury res­i­dence, with the main ar­eas named af­ter the orig­i­nal rooms— the grand salon, par­lour, wine li­brary and, of course, the giardino. AB Con­cept came up with a dif­fer­ent look for each area while stick­ing to an over­all pal­ette of cream and earthy tones. The neu­tral colour scheme pairs well with the ter­razzo tile floor­ing as well as the re­stored arched door­ways, ul­tra-high ceil­ings and orig­i­nal fres­coes.

An un­ex­pected bonus, says Ng, is that one of the neigh­bour­ing build­ings is po­si­tioned just right. “We get this softly dif­fused sun­light through­out the day, which re­ally en­hances the space and makes it com­fort­able,” he says.

While the de­sign work re­spects the tra­di­tional Mi­lanese pref­er­ence for sub­tlety and quiet re­fine­ment, Ng didn’t for­get the restau­rant’s chic clien­tele. “I added a lot of mir­rors be­cause we are, af­ter all, in Mi­lan and in the heart of the fash­ion district—in­evitably it will be­come a place to see and be seen. That was a no-brainer,” he says.” pa­per­moon­restau­rants.com; ab­con­cept.net

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