Opened in February of this year, Milan’s Senato Hotel has quickly established itself as the city’s most sought-after spot for design-savvy travellers. Cannily, its Milanese owners – the entrepreneurial Ranza family – handed over the hotel’s serene stone pool courtyard space to Beirut’s Carwan Gallery during Salone del Mobile last month. The result was a much-talked-about exhibition of work by young designer Sigve Knutson, which kept a steady stream of visitors through its doors.
This summer, the design-minded collaborations continue with the first in a series of annual rooftop installations. Starting in 2017, each year Senato Hotel will hand an up-and-coming designer a carte blanche to revamp its 100 sq m roof terrace into an imaginative city centre oasis in collaboration with an outdoor furniture producer.
‘Hypernature’ by Gian Paolo Venier
Kicking the series off is Milanese designer Gian Paolo Venier who has created a black and white landscape. Titled ‘Hypernature’, the new rooftop setting is created in partnership with MIA Collection – a boutique and family owned outdoor furniture producer based in Athens.
Venier, who has worked closely with Paola Navone for many years in the studio’s interior architecture department, was inspired by greenery in the urban environment as well as the contrasts found in arid landscapes.
‘This installation has been designed with holiday time in mind,’ explains Venier. ‘Holiday for me is soothing and connected to the landscape – wild, dry, windy, with a touch of Mediterranean sea. This use of black and white is what connects landscapes all around the Mediterranean coast. Two colours in particular, black and white; this is something that emerges like a thread all over the coast, and unites all the cultures in those countries.’
Divided up by sections of black and white gravel and subtle levels, the terrace is furnished with a mix of custom-made furniture as well as pieces from Venier’s collections for MIA Collection.
Made from materials such as black-painted teak, wicker and rattan, the furniture has been grouped to create different seating areas that suit a number of different scenarios. Three curvy central loungers can be used for sunbathing or as benches, while teak frame lounge seating and low rattan tables with hammered metal tops provide intimate corners for quiet conversation over drinks. Frayed-edge fabric, that can be found on the sails of the sun shades, on lanterns and even reflected in patterns woven into the rattan, provides a subtle nod to Milan’s fashion district, just a stone’s throw from the hotel.