antoniolupi showroom in Porta Tenaglia

Milan / Italy / 2018

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The antoniolupi showroom in Porta Tenaglia enlarges: the extensive space reworked by Calvi Brambilla for an important presence in an increasingly international city as Milan.


At the crossroads between two choices: Andrea Lupi considers himself when telling us about the project to expand and redefine his showroom in Porta Tenaglia. The first option: the most physiological and natural option was to rethink the space in Porta Tenaglia through the creative and planning resources within the company. The second option: have professionals take the project in hand.


Andrea Lupi has chosen the second option, entrusting the task to Fabio Calvi and Paolo Brambilla, design and interior professionals active on the design and fashion scene since 2006. A choice that Andrea Lupi defines as 'enlightened' in a twofold sense: how the studio has approached the request for collaboration as well as how the project has developed. 


“You do not need us"
At first, Calvi Brambilla responded simply: "You do not need us", but the will of antoniolupi was to go 'beyond' the habitual and to explore a different territory.


Focusing on the particular shape of the space, which is the basis of an elegant tower from the 50s-designed by the architects Baselli and Portaluppi, Calvi and Brambilla decided to work on the architectural box of the showroom.The space that develops in length evokes the sequence of so many bathrooms that, one after the other, offer themselves to the eye to be admired, even from outside of the fourteen full-height windows.



The new ceiling, made up of deliberately irregular architectural vaults and 'hanging' from the dark background, gives depth to the entire showroom. The arches deliberately do not coincide with the spaces nor the windows. A gesture of freedom compared to certain spatial symmetries.


The project was born from a careful observation of the works of the great masters: in this case the inspiration came from the Kılıç Ali Paşa baths built in 1577 by Mimar Sinān, contemporary Ottoman architect of Michelangelo and Palladio. This hamam is part of the imposing complex of the Sultan Suleiman Mosque, called The Magnificent. A place designed centuries ago where you can restore the body and the spirit in a context of peculiar beauty and that over time has also become a place of sociability, perfect to meet, to conclude business and make alliances.


In this, as in many Turkish baths, there is a clear distinction between the lower portion, dedicated to the baths and the fountains for the ablutions, and the upper portion, composed of large vaults and domes full of light: in the same way, in this showroom dedicated to the bathroom, the attention of the designers is focused on the upper part of the architecture, leaving greater freedom of exposure to the floor level, where the products are contextualized.


Traditionally in the hammams, marble is predominant in the lower part, where you get wet, and on the platforms where you receive massages and treatments, while above, the space develops through large vaults animated by the play of light that catch the eye while, below, you are in a Turkish bath. An all-encompassing experience in which physicality meets with spirituality and with the vision of beauty.



Calvi Brambilla focused on the upper part of the space
Based on this concept and the consideration that the antoniolupi products are placed at floor level, Calvi Brambilla focused on the upper part of the space, on the ceilings. The ceiling 'had to' give the project a completeness.
However there is also references to authors of the Modern, from Johnson to Kahn, who have worked, above all in the architecture of museums, on the architecture of the ceilings, as opposed to the works on display.


Details of the exhibition
The space, which with this expansion reaches about 500 square meters, is distinguished by the simplicity of the structural elements and finishes. A choice aimed not to create disturbing effects on products and their contextualization. Preference has been given to sober finishes, to allow a continuous and neutral background, a sort of base on which to work with products and fittings.


Strong connotation
Calvi Brambilla wanted, in agreement with Andrea Lupi, to give the showroom a strong connotation, but without diverting the attention from the products and the spectacular sequence in which they are presented.
The space is bounded by walls finished with large-grained cement plasters, very textured and rough, as if the thickness should be perceived with a single glance.
On the ground a local stone called CEPPO di Grè was used, an irregular-grained gray-blue rubble used for about two millennia in the buildings of Milan and typical of Milanese architecture since Roman times.


The wooden staircase is an element of softness that marks the passage to the lower level of the showroom where there is a work space and area dedicated to the line of the shower heads.
An important new feature regarding the showroom area that with this expansion looks out at the Sempione Park: the wide sidewalk in front of the space will be used exclusively by antoniolupi and will be used to create a green area equipped with benches, seats and a fountain to give relief to humans and animals. A small project of redevelopment and enhancement of urban spaces that antoniolupi 'gives' to the city of Milan.


Preparation and set uo of products by Paola PASTORINI

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    The antoniolupi showroom in Porta Tenaglia enlarges: the extensive space reworked by Calvi Brambilla for an important presence in an increasingly international city as Milan. At the crossroads between two choices: Andrea Lupi considers himself when telling us about the project to expand and redefine his showroom in Porta Tenaglia. The first option: the most physiological and natural option was to rethink the space in Porta Tenaglia through the creative and planning resources within the...

    Project details
    • Year 2018
    • Work finished in 2018
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Showrooms/Shops
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