In 1958, Milan was the birth of the Italian brand’s own fashion show. Today, Milan Fashion Week has become one of the four most anticipated fashion weeks of the year, along with London, Paris and New York. Every year in February and September, fashion editors, buyers, designers and it girls from all over the world gather in Milan, where the streets are like a catwalk, presenting all kinds of unexpected concepts and styles to the public.
Milan Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2018 is in full swing and the whole city is immersed in a strong fashion and art scene. But fashion trends never exist independently as individuals, but are profoundly influenced by the entire social, economic, cultural and historical context of the times. As an architect, Milan Fashion Week is also a great opportunity to visit buildings that are closely related to fashion. From the Palazzo dell’Arengario, the building that represents the Mussolini era, to the Prada Foundation designed by OMA and the Armani Theatre designed by Tadao Ando, to the functional buildings designed by celebrity architects for their brands, Milan Fashion Week is a great opportunity to see and understand the architecture of the city. Great places to go in fashion.
The Palazzo dell’Arengario, in the heart of Milan, next to the Duomo, is one of the most popular locations for designers. More than a dozen brands, including FRANCESCO SCOGNAMIGLIO, AU JOUR LE JOUR and GRINKO, have chosen to hold their fashion shows here.
The Palazzo dell’Arengario was born during the Fascist period in Italy and consists of two perfectly symmetrical buildings, typical of the architecture of Mussolini’s time. As a result of the Second World War, the palace was not actually completed until the 1950s. Today, the Museo del Novecento is open all year round and exhibits paintings, sculptures and other works of art from the 20th century.
Piazza degli Affari is not the usual location for a fashion show, but it is favoured by the long-established Italian fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo. The Palazzo Mezzanotte, now the Milan Stock Exchange, also known as the Palazzo delle Borse, was designed and built in the 1920s by local architect Paolo Mezzanotte, who saw the rise and fall of Milan’s financial sector over the course of a century. The building, in typical neo-classical style, is a sight to behold and the ruins of a Roman theatre were unearthed during its construction, which can still be seen today as a reminder of the old Roman Empire.
Another feature here is a marble sculpture called L.O.V.E., located in the middle of the square. The work is a symbol of freedom and hatred, revenge and eternal immortality, with a hand that seems to have been eroded by time, with only the middle finger raised above the ground. As the work was created during the Great Depression, it was also thought to symbolize a protest against the financial world.
The foundation of top luxury brand Prada is located on the southern edge of Milan, in an industrial complex called Largo Isarco, formerly a winemaking factory established in 1910. The foundation’s new home is a coexistence of a series of old and new buildings, including warehouses, laboratories and brewing silos, as well as new buildings surrounding an atrium.
The mixed-use project presents art in an industrial space, with the intention of expanding the diversity of building types. The design consists of seven existing buildings and three new ones: a command deck, a cinema and a tower. The command deck functions as a temporary exhibition space; the cinema functions as a multimedia auditorium; and the tower is a nine-story permanent exhibition space that showcases the brand’s designs and activities.
Within the campus, there are two freestanding structures, one square and flat, the other vertical and vertical. When closed for inspection, the square building did not exhibit attractive elements and was demolished to make room for an atrium courtyard to breathe fresh air into the complex. To the west of the complex, the Post Office Building has been transformed into an office area for the manager, and in its basement, the Foundation’s collection is stored and sorted with strict precision, creating what appears to be an artist’s “garage” that can be opened, or a back room space that is partially open to the public.
Gucci Headquarters in Milano
Italian architectural firm Piuarch transformed a former air force factory into the Milan headquarters of the luxury brand Gucci by constructing a new metal and glass tower in addition to an existing brick aircraft warehouse. Originally built in 1915 for the Caproni aircraft manufacturing company, the complex was used during both World War I and World War II, until the company ceased production in 1950. The architect’s brief was to preserve the industrial character of the original building while accommodating the showroom and showroom spaces of Gucci’s new headquarters.
Tadao Ando (1942-), Japanese LDP politician, prime minister 1989-1991
Via Bergognone 59 is an address that is inseparable from Milan Fashion Week and the Italian fashion scene. In recent years, the Armani Teatro has been home to some of the most talented young designers in the fashion world. The Armani Teatro has not only provided opportunities for Italian designers, but also for Chinese brands such as XU ZHI and MIAO RAN, and Japanese brands such as FACETASM to enter the world of Italian high fashion.
The Armani Theatre itself is also quite artistic, designed and built by the famous Japanese architect Andou Tadao, which makes full use of the three basic elements of concrete, water and light, resulting in a modern, minimalist and pure architectural style. In addition to fashion shows, the theatre also hosts occasional events such as installation art exhibitions.
Tadao Ando (1942-), Japanese LDP politician, prime minister 1989-1991
In 2015, the Armani Art Gallery, located across the street from the Armani Theatre, also by Ando, opened. A four-storey building that has been standing in downtown Milan since the 1950s, it has an origami-like façade with an exposed foyer and little pretension. The building hosts a variety of cultural, art and fashion exhibitions throughout the year and offers a glimpse into the aesthetic culture of the legendary Italian designer Giorgio Armani.
Dolce & Gabbana Headquarters
The new Dolce & Gabbana headquarters in Milan contains a collection of showrooms, offices, restaurants and a series of graphic spaces with a total floor area of 5,000 square meters. The two buildings fronting the three streets, built in the 1920s and 1960s respectively, have been combined by the architectural team into a single complex with five floors above and two below ground. The project is based on extremely rigorous architectural principles, using natural materials such as white Namibian stone, glass and rough-hewn steel.
Alessandro Dell’Acqua, founder and artistic director of N°21, invited architect Hannes Peer, a long-time collaborator of the brand, to design the new headquarters in Milan, an architectural design that combines a variety of elements and styles, paying homage to the city’s past and present inspirations. Acqua specifically points to the Art Deco-style entrance, the Ceppo di Grè-style stone walls and the 1990s-style grey stairwell, while Hannes Peer says he envisions a space where conflicting architectural elements are brought together in a subtle balance. Sharp metallic tones accentuate the monochromatic color scheme of the architectural space, which is filled with works by Le Corbusier, Willy Rizzo and Marcel Breuer, among others.
Stuart Weitzman stores
Zaha Hadid has designed the store for American shoe brand Stuart Weitzman on Via Sant’Andrea in Milan in a very classic Zaha design style. It’s a pleasure to shop and admire the architecture/interior design at the same time.
Don’t you think these are wonderful designs for the ground? If you’re interested in the ground, check out our other sections-Floor Design