The urban landscape in the semi industrial area south of the city centre is a world away from the glittering fashion mecca that is Milano and home to Prada’s original flagship store at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. However, it’s a glow of a very different kind that radiates from the neighbourhood of Largo Isarco with the launch of Fondazione Prada earlier this year. Painted in 24 carat gold-leaf, the ‘haunted house’ tower wasn’t hard to spot against the solid grey skyline. Stepping into the curated courtyard, I was instantly struck by the remarkable scale of the project. A truly visionary transformation of this early 20th century gin distillery into the home of Miuccia Prada’s covetable collection. Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas of studio OMA, designed this magnificent space, regenerating old warehousing, brewing silo and original laboratories to house the Prada Collection.
Seven existing buildings and three new structures, cover over 19,000 square metres to provide a harmonious backdrop for art luminaries such as Louise Bourgeois, Robert Gober, Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein, Piero Manzoni, Donald Judd, Damien Hirst and many other incredible artists throughout the vast complex. There’s also a 250-seat cinema, art library and a children’s learning centre. In close collaboration with head curator, Germano Celant and resident curator Salvatore Settis, Miuccia Prada and her husband Patrizio Bertelli have created an outstanding must see to add to the Milano itinerary.
Don’t leave without ordering a delicious anything at all at Bar Luce. Inspired by a 1950s Milanese cafe, this bar was designed by director Wes Anderson. Like venturing onto the set of one of his films, it’s an other-worldly experience in itself. There’s a jukebox, soft pastel formica furniture and an espresso/gelato/panino to tempt even the most art-focused Fondazione fan.
Note on the staff: Ultra chic prison guard-style uniforms aside, the staff are super friendly, generous with their knowledge and speak English fluently, for all who are not fully understanding the artist’s intent in Italian.