Spazio Rossana Orlandi is what retail dreams are made of and knowing this in my heart, I left our visit there until the last day, placing bets on the highs we were to have flying home to London later that evening. Now showing for the 9th year, Spazio Rossana Orlandi has become recognised as the design kick starter for new trends in contemporary design and Rossana herself has been crowned the “Milanese godmother of design” – let’s just say we hot-footed it there. Milan turned on the sunshine for us that final design day and Rossana turned up the joy – no surprises there. Aside from the design delights I knew we would discover this day, it was the space itself – a former tie factory in the Magenta district and the magnificent merchandising I had read so much about, that I was most eager to revel in. My heart started beating faster as we entered the gates that lead to the glory (yes, I am a hardcore retail nerd) and my calm disposition was not with me for long.. amongst seemingly endless “OOOHH”s, “AAHHH”s and “OH MY GOD”s that sounded loudly from my own mouth, I managed to take all the goodness in – but right from the start, never wanted to leave.
The courtyard was full to the brim with every type of design aficionado imaginable, perching themselves upon latest designs in the best position to catch the sun but mostly Rosanna’s eye…of course she was lunching there, immaculately dressed and knowing, peering out through her signature white specs.. acknowledging the well dressed hordes that had come to partake in her creation. We too tried to catch her eye while lining up for lunch and best espresso served by translucent skinned, Italian nonnas and beautiful boys beneath wondrous PET lampshades as we breathed it all in before partaking in this perfect grand finale.
There is not a spare metre square at Spazio – every corner, stairwell, garden bed, pathway, windowsill, you name it has been given the Rossana Orlandi treatment and I must admit it is more magical than I had imagined.
Each year Rossana Orlandi collaborates with over 65 emerging and established designers enabling them to exhibit within her space during Milan Design Week, the following are my top picks amongst much beauty. Old favourite Frederique Morrel presented The Corner of Purgatory, perfect imperfect PET lamps by Alvaro Catalan De Ocon, wonder for your walls is HAIN by RaR for Thomas Eyck, colour lovers CMYK lamp by Dennis Parren, the playful Poke Stool by Kyuhyung Cho, terrifically tactile is Itay Ohaly’s Unpacking collection, kitsch and cool the table-wear collaboration by Toilet Paper for Seletti.
We jostled for space in the shop upstairs but floating on the high we still had for days to come, no thing like crowds could take us down. Especially when there was so much innovation and creativity before our eyes…WOW WOW. Spazio Rossana Orlandi is RIGHTEOUS retail. I’ll be back for more for sure. x