"Il Mercato del Duomo"

Michele De Lucchi for "Il Mercato del Duomo" by Autogrill

by Michele De Lucchi

The Duomo and the Galleria are not only the centre of Milan. They are Milan. They are the symbols that identify Milan worldwide and are the best loved by its citizens.

Built between 1865 and 1880, the elegantly majestic Galleria immediately became the city’s favourite meeting place, surrounded by the finest shops, bars and restaurants.

The Duomo was finished in 1892. The Galleria is paradoxically fifteen  years older.


It was designed by an architect who believed in it with might and main,  throwing his utmost physical and psychic efforts into its realisation and challenging his resilience to the pressure of such a daunting assignment. His name was Giuseppe Mengoni.  He fell from the scaffolding  and never saw his masterpiece completed.


The Galleria has a gigantic glass roof with a large central cupola. It is reminiscent of Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace, built just a few years earlier, in 1851, for the Great Exhibition in London.

Full of light and very welcoming, it must have deeply impressed the population at the time of its inauguration.


Today the Galleria is frequented by the Milanese, tourists and visitors, and is constantly teeming with people talking and eating, strolling and looking. On the corner facing the Duomo, the Galleria now also features a Market.


It is a modern Market, selling the most genuine products from a selection of greengrocery, meat, cheese and fish. All fresh and of local origin. The Market also offers a variety of eateries.

Access to the Market is by escalators, located in a small cloister.

Protruding beneath the tall arches of the porticos are the roots  of a gigantic bronze olive tree.

A monument carved by Adam Lowe of Factum Arte.


The roots are there to say that we all belong to them, because they are roots that penetrate and are nourished by the same earth as ours. And because it is from these historical roots that our knowledge, strength and sense of life are derived.

The small cloister has been rebuilt today in the style of the original building, in keeping with the pattern of solids and voids on the elevation.

On the roof, the transparent awning, which had long been occluded, has been reconstructed.

Giuseppe Mengoni was a neoclassical architect whose architectural compositions combined classical stylistic elements with the technological progress typical of his time, and included the abundant use of glass and decorative cornices designed with plain geometric reliefs.

Access to the Market and its restaurants is provided along this spectacular vertical telescope, with escalators and lifts serving the various floors.

The luminous awning and the flying olive tree attract and prompt people to go up. The view extends across the earth’s crust, beyond the roots and top of the olive tree. Everything invites the eye to look upwards and into the distance.



Michele De Lucchi

Project director

Alberto Bianchi

Project team

Simona Agabio

Greta Corbani

Martina Gasparoli

Federica Iula

Maddalena Molteni



Francesco Faccin

Matteo Di Ciommo



Autogrill S.p.A.



Milano, Italia



2013 - 2015


Sketches by Michele De Lucchi, 2012

Images courtesy Michele De Lucchi's Archive

    • Michele De Lucchi


      Milan / Italy

      Michele De Lucchi was born in 1951 in Ferrara and graduated in architecture in Florence. During the period of radical and experimental architecture he was a prominent figure in movements like Cavart, Alchymia and Memphis. De Lucchi has designed furniture for the most known Italian and European companies. For Olivetti he has been Director of Design from 1992 to 2002 and he developed experimental projects for Compaq Computers, Philips, Siemens and Vitra. He designed and restored buildings in Japan, Germany, Switzerland and in Italy for Enel, Olivetti, Piaggio, Poste Italiane, Telecom Italia. In 1999 he was appointed to renovate some of ENEL's (Italys principal Electricity Company) power plants. For Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Bundesbahn, Enel, Poste Italine, Telecom Italia, Hera, Intesa Sanpaolo and other Italian and foreign banks he has redesigned the service environments and corporate image, introducing technical and aesthetic innovation into organization of their working environments. He designed buildings for museums including the Triennale di Milano, Palazzo delle Esposizioni di Roma, Neues Museum Berlin and the le Gallerie d'Italia Piazza Scala in Milan. In the last years he developed many architectural projects for private and public client in Georgia, that include the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the bridge of Peace in Tbilisi, the Radison Hotel and Public Service Building in Batumi. His professional work has always gone side-by-side with a personal exploration of architecture, design, technology and crafts. In 1990 he founded Produzione Privata, a small-scale production and retail company through which Michele De Lucchi designed products that are made using dedicated artisans and craft techniques. From 2004 he has been using a chain saw to sculpt small wooden houses which create the essentiality of his architectural style. In 2003 the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris has acquired a considerable number of his works. Selections of his products are exhibited in the most important design Museums in Europe, United States and Japan. In 2000 he was appointed Officer of Italian Republic by President Ciampi, for services to design and architecture. In 2001 he has been nominated Professor at the Design and Art Faculty at the University in Venice. In 2006 he received the Honorary Doctorate from Kingston University, for his contribution to “living quality”. In 2008 he has been nominated Professor at the Design Faculty of the Politecnico of Milan and Member of the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca in Rome. In 2009 he received the Golden Fleece Order and in 2010 the Presidential Order of Excellency by President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili.)