At the beginning of Salone del Mobile 2021, Design Holding unveils D Studio Milan, a new furniture design and lighting showroom to showcase B&B Italia, Maxalto, Azucena, Arclinea, Flos and Louis Poulsen. While the first D Studio has already been inaugurated in Copenhagen, the Milanese D Studio, a brainchild of Massimiliano Locatelli and Piero Lissoni, is conveniently set in Via Durini’s 2,150 sq m space that used to house B&B Italia’s historic store. 

The aim is to propose an innovative approach to retail, where iconic Italian and Scandinavian brands can interact under one roof, and where professionals, customers and design enthusiasts can not only experience the collections, but also select and plan various interiors projects, relying on in-house experts. 

The showroom’s ground floor seen from above with a large white sectional sofa taking the middle space

‘In Milan, there was nothing like this, embracing contemporary furniture, historical pieces, in one sense the present, the future and the past of design,’ says Locatelli. While repurposing the space (a former car showroom designed in 1954 by Sommariva Studio), Locatelli Partners revealed previously hidden features, such as a quiet garden overlooking Via Cerva.

‘The concept for the space is simple: it’s the opposite of what showrooms have traditionally done, representing the house in a static way,’ continues Locatelli. ‘Once used by a car dealer, the space was already open and all we had to do was to take out the supporting structure, leaving brands the freedom to rearrange the showroom in a different ways. Rearranging means keeping a space alive.’ 

D Studio Milan ‘leaves room for emotions’

Lighting displays by Louis Poulsen next to a staircase

Also, Locatelli explains, the showroom connects with its surroundings, with all three levels offering continuity through transparency: ‘The light is certainly the most surprising aspect, the large windows overlooking Via Durini are just stunning and the skylights of the internal courtyard offer an extraordinary natural light.’ There’s also a mezzanine area, and a basement, that ‘doesn’t seem underground at all’, he adds.

The installation and setting, curated by Lissoni & Partners, blends design icons and latest creations, so that the classic ‘Camaleonda’ sofa system designed by Mario Bellini for B&B Italia in 1970 sits alongside Piero Lissoni’s ‘Borea’ sunbed – a 2022 preview; and the spectacular ‘Coordinates’ lighting by Michael Anastassiades for Flos is just windows away from unseen finishes and versions of Verner Panton’s 1971 ‘Panthella’ lamp for Louis Poulsen.

‘The “Camaleonda” is always beautiful, but if you are able to contextualise it, you’ll enrich it with new emotions,’ concludes Locatelli. ‘A showroom nowadays must look for emotions, and this space deliberately leaves room for emotions.’ §

D Studio Milano with staircase leading to the first floor and Gaetano Pesce’s armchairs for B&B Italia on one side
Showroom interior showing green plants and Parentesi by Flos in the back
Interiors of D Studio Milano with high ceilings and two dining tables by Monica Armani for B&B in grey and red
Lighting displays by Michael Anastassiades for Flos