Wednesday, May 2, 2012 3:49 PM EDT
Continuing HGTV.ca’s special 6-part series on Italian design, as reported from the streets at the heart of the Mediterranean republic’s undisputed design capital. If all roads lead to Rome, all threads lead to Milan…
Named after the 16th-century Palazzo di Brera that houses Milan’s famed pinacoteca, or art gallery, the historic and centrally located Milanese district of Brera is considered the beating heart of the city’s weighty design legacy. It is sometimes referred to as the “Milanese Montmartre,” to which I say, Montmartre is the French Brera.
Brera simply radiates insight and importance. Fashion houses such as Giorgio Armani, Gianfranco Ferré and Missoni jostle here for space with textile, furniture and industrial design companies of international renown. All of them try to outdo one other in the refurbishment of their historic palazzi (mansions), and each of them proudly flaunt, con gran gusto (with great style), their distinctly Milanese idea of taste. Competition, mostly friendly, is always in the air here, as both history and the future collide.
Although other city districts puff up their feathers with flashy salon venues and activity — as we mentioned in Part 1 of this series, the current epicentre of Milan’s dynamic artistic community is the Naviglio, or Canal district — I prefer the quaintness and timeless beauty of this quarter as a stomping ground. During my recent visit to Brera, not only was I able to catch up on the latest in design, but also get a chance to feast my eyes on luxurious and breathtaking mid-century Italian antiques — a specialty of countless galleries in the area.
Tomorrow in “Italian Design Week”: Pirwi — Mexico’s Needle in Milan’s Haystack