Vincent Van Duysen brings Milanese elegance to Molteni&C|Dada’s new London flagship
A design heavyweight arrives on London’s Brompton Road in the form of Molteni&C | Dada’s latest flagship shop. Spanning five windows stretching over a prime corner spot across from the V&A, this latest locale offers up a refined backdrop to showcase the Italian brand’s sophisticated designs. Dreamed up by creative director Vincent Van Duysen, the new flagship pulls from Molteni&C | Dada’s long history as a stalwart of Milanese style. Following long-standing locations in Fitzrovia and Covent Garden, Brompton Road clocks in as their third destination in the city.
‘The Molteni&C | Dada stores have to follow the same principle as my architecture,’ explains Van Duysen of his process in arriving at the shop’s design, ‘pure, getting to the core, while achieving an authenticity. The store is in synergy with the architecture, the location surrounding it and the brand interacting with it.’
Hand sketch by Vincent Van Duysen of the new Molteni&C showroom on Brompton Road
Made up of 700 sq m spread over two storeys, the shop’s upper level is articulated by a series of imposing arches left in situ from the original architecture, a typical Knightsbridge-area home. Van Duysen then washed the plaster walls with a sober palette of roughly stuccoed grey, diffusing the space with a staid Milanese elegance that brings to mind the city’s stone-lined streets. Laid out like a lush apartment covering kitchen, living room and bedroom concepts, projects including the ‘VDD’ kitchen, the ‘Gliss Master’ wardrobe system and collections by Jean Nouvel and Patricia Urquiola, all sit pride-of-place in the shop’s vast picture windows.
Inside the showroom with a view of Brompton Road
‘We use noble materials,’ explains Van Duysen of the sublime interiors, ‘[they] refer to the earth tones and colour palettes that are reflected in the frescoes of northern Italy.’ This reference carries seamlessly through from Molteni&C | Dada’s New York flagship, newly opened in May. Both locations speak largely with the same vocabulary, drawing on opulent materials like marble-travertine and richly hued walnut sourced from the brand’s northern Italian home base.
A grand walnut wood staircase leads to the shop’s lower floor, an intimate space that makes excellent use of a series of small, structural alcoves and striking spotlighting to create a series of mise-en-scènes showing off some of the brand’s most celebrated collections. Here, Gio Ponti’s covetable ‘D.156.3’ armchairs, part of Molteni&C | Dada’s heritage collection, sit alongside a ‘Turner’ sofa in grey and Foster + Partners sleek ‘AVA’ bookcase.
Adding an ounce of colour amongst all the tranquillity, Milanese art curator Caroline Corbetta devised a selection of contemporary paintings for the flagship, part of The Collector’s House project that launched last year at Salone del Mobile. Six budding painters from Rome’s Galleria Operativa were chosen to line the walls, lending an experimental flourish to the well-polished space. §