Design Field Notes

Design Field Notes

Design Field Notes

Places & Faces

The Fondazione Prada

Stepping above ground from the Metro you would be excused for feeling like you have arrived in the industrial centre of Milan. The suburban landscape is underwhelming and grey. However, walk a little further down the road and you will catch a glimpse of gold leaf detailing contrasting superbly against a stark metal exterior. The Fondazione Prada is a beautiful example of creating a standout design through the use of clever materials and simplicity.

The architects vision for the location was to try and create new buildings within the existing abandoned mill where at times a visitor might be confused about what was new or old. Upon arrival, the first indication that this is not your typical gallery is the neon lights subtly installed above the various doorways indicating what you might find beyond its doors.

It is within one of these buildings that we find Bar Luce, a coffee bar which was designed by Wes Anderson to reference a typical 1950’s Milanese café. Mint and pastel pink vinyl upholstery, terrazzo flooring, timber panelling and an old school juke box all set the scene beautifully. It shouldn’t work – but it just does!

The series of buildings that make up the rest of the site contain a variety of different exhibitions and installations from archives around the world. There is a cinema onsite, as well as a library, bar and museum and it is this combination of many creative elements coming together that makes this a fulfilling way to spend a day in Milan.

Stephanie Sanders

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