A furniture retail haven in New York nods to the architecture of Italian palazzos
Although it has a home in almost every port, Molteni & C’s newly opened New York showroom knows no comparison. As the largest of the Molteni Group’s spaces, the Madison Avenue flagship brings Molteni & C, Dada and UniFor together under one roof for the very first, and only, time.
Designed by Vincent Van Duysen, the new jewel in Molteni’s crown brings extra sparkle to an already chic stretch in Manhattan’s NoMad district. Surrounded by furniture and kitchen showrooms, Molteni’s concept to create an elegant Italian home assures that it stands out.
‘From the beginning, we tried to bring a contemporary interpretation of an Italian palazzo to Madison Avenue, with a reference to the company’s Italian heritage,’ says Van Duysen. ‘You feel like you are not in New York anymore. The store transports you to an Italian environment through the use of materials and the mixture of textiles, all based on the perception of a real Italian palazzo. The travertine on the floors and the monumental arcades emphasises the rigorous architectural aspect without forgetting the warm and welcoming environment. Throughout the space, the colour palette refers to old frescos found in the Lombardy region.’
Inside Molteni & C’s newly opened New York showroom
With over 12,500 square feet at its disposal, the flagship boasts four storefront windows and two levels that are connected by an elegant wood-hewn staircase inlaid with travertine marble. Peppered by luscious, glass-enclosed gardens, the space has been carved into areas dedicated to the living room, office, bedroom, kitchen and dining room, which seamlessly transition from one to another at a natural rhythm.
‘The central walnut staircase is the masterpiece of the whole store [and] the most prominent architectural element within the space,’ states Van Duysen, who is also the creative mastermind behind the brand’s memorable booths at Salone del Mobile and several other retail locations. ‘Although the existing retail spaces were very generous in scale, the presence of very large round concrete columns from the tower building above created an extra difficulty since these structural elements were located in very random positions.’
He adds, ‘The challenge was to work around these elements in order to create an interesting flow of different rooms and experiences. In most cases these columns are hidden [but] in some rooms we assumed their presence as part of the design becoming a feature within the space and the result is very interesting.’
In such environs, Molteni not only showcases its newest and most celebrated designs, but also the fruit of its cultural initiatives that also adorn the space. Curator Caroline Corbetta has assembled an assortment of artworks by young artists born in the 1970s and 80s, together with sculptures by Santo Tolone and pop hieroglyphics by Stephen Felton.