"Il Mercato del Duomo"

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

by Michele De Lucchi
7 Love 1963 Visits

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

      Michele De Lucchi


      Milan / Italy

      Michele De Lucchi was born in Ferrara in 1951. After graduating from the School of Architecture in Florence, he worked as a teaching assistant for Adolfo Natalini. At the time, he came into contact with the radical design movement and founded the Cavart group, gaining him notoriety and boosting his future career. He then moved to Milan, where he became friends with Ettore Sottsass, with whom he worked in one of the most representative groups of 1980s post-modernism. The Memphis group was a collective committed to creating a new language by playing with the recovery of 1970s kitsch elements favouring plastic and laminated materials, with a clear bent for rational industrial production. De Lucchi also took part in other significant collective experiences at the time, like Centrokappa and Alchimia. Thanks to Ettore Sottsass, starting in 1979, De Lucchi began his collaboration with Olivetti as a design consultant for Syntesis in Massa. Then, in 1984, he went to Ivrea, becoming the head of the Olivetti design office from 1988 to 2002. In parallel to his work with Olivetti, the architect continued to work independently. He won such prestigious commissions as the design of the Deutsche Bank and Poste Italiane offices, and Intesa San Paolo, for which he was involved in the creation of the bank's credit cards, and the design of the Piazza della Scala office in Milan. In 1989, he received the prestigious Compasso d'Oro award for the Artemide "Tolomeo" lamp - the result of the concept of innovating the classic pantograph table lamp, an object created with a declared technical and functional purpose recalling the imagery of the office and design, making it an elegant and modern furnishing accessory. "Tolomeo" also refers to historic design icons like the FontanArte "Naska Loris" from 1933 and Jac Jacobsen's 1937 "Luxo" - later made famous by the Pixar logo. It was immediately destined to become a best-seller. His collaboration with Artemide led to the creation of many other lamps and the extensive Tolomeo collection. They include Castore, Dioscuri, Ipno, Logico. De Lucchi has also collaborated with Alias, De Padova, Poltrona Frau, Caimi, Glas Italia, iGuzzini, Danese and De Castelli. In 1990, he established his own brand, Produzione Privata, to create furnishing complements and accessories. He did not abandon his activity as a designer, which involved him in exhibition and museum design, for example, for the Neues Museum in Berlin. He also restored the Design Museum at the Triennale in Milan and the former Agip service station in Piazzale Accursio in Milan. Starting in 2017, Michele De Lucchi was editor-in-chief of Domus magazine with an editorial line characterised by a mix of disciplines and content ranging from Design to Philosophy, and the constant investigation of space and objects in relation to human needs.)