From late July to early September Milan practically closes down as its residents head out of town for the long summer break. Rossanna Orlandi, our favourite Milanese gallerist-cum-retailer has packed everything including her Smeg kitchen sink and set up shop on the Island of Sardinia, a place she insists you will find ‘the best sea in Europe’.
And like any good Italian she has invited her friends along too, creating her own design village around the newly constructed Promenade du Port in Porto Cervo. Alberto Aspesi is doing a roaring trade with a temporary Aspesi outlet full of summer gear (unlike the nearby fashion stores strangely stocked with winter city clothes in grey and black).
London too is represented, with pop-up shops from Tom Dixon and Gallery Fumi who filled three floors with the best of their Shoreditch stock including Bokja’s divine chairs reborn in vintage Lebanese textiles and Les French’s dainty consoles and tables. Society brought their linens, Skira brought books and Mdm provided the culture with a small museum.
Orlandi also brought designers with her, Sebastien Däschle from Berlin installed his fun movable lamps and was standing by to demonstrate, Nacho Carbonell who Orlandi also took to Basel (where she sold the lot to Brad Pitt) and guest of honour Maarten Baas. Baas was given a large space over two floors, upstairs showing his Bouquet de Champagne piece for Ruinart (shown in W*117 and presented in Miami in December) and downstairs a number of Smoke and Clay pieces as well as his Analogue Digital clock from Milan and Basel. Ruinart also provided the champagne, which is particularly good accompanied by pecorino Sardo cheese and local grissini.
Orlandi has filled her own store with all her usual suspects - more Maarten Baas, Raw Edges, Wrong Woods, Piet Hein Eek, Dick van Hoff, Plus Minus Zero and Muuto. Her wares spilled outside, with our favourite outdoor pieces providing seating for the Ruinart champagne Lounge-Shultz, Atelier Oi and Urquiola from B&B Italia, Grcic’s Chair_One from Magis, Navone and Urquiola from Emu and Michele du Lucchi for Alias.
Porto Cervo is Sardinia’s epicentre on the Costa Smeralda or Emerald Coast, constructed in the 1960s and 1970s by the Aga Khan and has since been a magnet for the rich and famous (visible by the quantity and scale of the boats moored in the harbour). It's already known for its shopping - Hermès, Gucci, Pucci etc but this is a new direction entirely.
If you exchanged the big boats for small jets you could easily be in Design Miami. Orlandi makes a good point, that all the well-heeled vistors (even those without houses will need to find 1,850 euro a day for a standard room in the local hotels) have plenty of time to browse and therefore shop.