The Nilufar Depot: function and style meet in Milan’s new treasure trove

The Nilufar Depo
Milan's top design dealer Nina Yashar has opened the doors to her design stash: the Nilufar Depot. The opening coincides with this year's Salone del Mobile. Photography: Ruy Teixeira
(Image credit: Ruy Teixeira)

Nina Yashar is without question Milan's top design dealer and her Nilufar Gallery in Via della Spiga has pulsed as the epicentre of achingly expensive mid-century gems and the hottest contemporary designs for the last 15 years.

But what goes on behind the elegant windows in the small, well-curated rooms of her famous gallery is only a tiny sliver of Yashar's full design stash. The real booty has been stockpiled over the last 30 years in a 1,500 sq m warehouse north of the Garibaldi train station. Up until now, the ex-industrial space was closed to the public and used just for Yashar's own sourcing purposes. But now she is flinging open the doors for the first time to Nilufar Depot: a three-storey treasure trove featuring 3,000 pieces of historic and contemporary design, conceived by many of the young designers that Yashar has championed over the years.

Designed by Milan-based architect Massimiliano Locatelli (whose furniture she has frequently shown in her Via della Spiga gallery), the interior configuration was inspired by Milan's famous Teatro alla Scala. A central cement floored atrium is surrounded by three storeys of black metal balconies in which small furniture scenes are illuminated by neon lights designed by Marco Rizzuto.

The space is imposing, dramatic and yet practical. The configuration permits an easy scan-viewing of the massive stock from below, while curtains made from a techno-plastic material swathe each stall, just like the booths at the famous ballet theatre. 'I don't like décor as an end in itself,' says Yashar. 'Function is what interests me.' The location, which features a stage with a 6m-tall brass curtain designed by artist Leonor Antunes, has been conceived to host exhibitions, art and artists going forward.

The launch event, a dinner which took place last night at the beginning of Salone del Mobile, featured table scenes designed by Martino Gamper, another Nilufar gallery protégé. Each table was adorned with enormous 19th-century napkins, avant-garde glasses and menus signed by the designer.

Opening dinner takes place in the industrial warehouse. Surrounding the cement floored atrium, are three floors of black metal balconies. Throughout the atrium, dinner tables are arranged. Some tables are round, some are long and rectangular.

The opening dinner took place in the cement-floored atrium, around which three floors of black metal balconies contain small furniture scenes, illuminated by Marco Rizzuto. Photography: Lodovico Colli di Felizzano

(Image credit: Lodovico Colli di Felizzano)

To the right, we have a console table in light wood, with a wooden chair in a darker colour, below which is a red carpet.

The collection ranges from features historic pieces as well as contemporary design. Pictured here is a Gio Ponti console table from the 1950s. Photography: Ruy Teixeira

(Image credit: Ruy Teixeira)

Two hexagonal wooden tables with metal legs are to the right, and a white armchair is to the left. Below them is a grey carpet.

The interior configuration was inspired by Milan's famous Teatro alla Scala, the famous ballet theatre. Yashar enlisted Massimiliano Locatelli to design her booth-like spacesHere, two geometric Gio Ponti tables stand in front of Andrea Branzi's Gritti bookcase from 1981. Photography: Ruy Teixeira

(Image credit: Ruy Teixeira)

A closer look at the balconies, on which there are small spaces sectioned that provide different themes with furniture.

Each of the small spaces appears like an individual mise en scène, providing distinctive narratives and themes at every turn. Photography: Lodovico Colli di Felizzano

(Image credit: Lodovico Colli di Felizzano)

A look at the piece that is made of metal in a cube shape with a huge mirror on the far wall, that consists of smaller, rectangular pieces.

Featuring 3,000 pieces, the booty has been stockpiled over the last 30 years. Photography: Ruy Teixeira

(Image credit: Ruy Teixeira)

Lighting installation being set up outside, It consists of round lights balancing between three crossed rounded pipes.

Michael Anastassiades' lighting installation outside the Depot. Photography: Lodovico Colli di Felizzano

(Image credit: Lodovico Colli di Felizzano)

A wooden candelabra stands on metal legs. The wood almost looks like it has an army jacket pattern in neutral tones. On top of it is a candle stick in black and gold, with red candles.

Bethan Laura Wood's 'Shrine' candelabra takes centre stage in this scene, which explores the connection between candles and worship by borrowing references from miniature temples, created as portable altars. Photography: Ruy Teixeira

(Image credit: Ruy Teixeira)

The Moët & Chandon bar with glasses and champagne in the ice bucket. Two serves stand behind the bar.

The Moët & Chandon bar at last the opening dinner. Photography: Lodovico Colli di Felizzano

(Image credit: Lodovico Colli di Felizzano)

INFORMATION

For more information, visit the Nilufar website (opens in new tab)

ADDRESS

Nilufar Depot
Via Lancetti 34
20158 Milan

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JJ Martin