Ico Migliore e Mara Servetto, a couple in life and work, have created (or renovated) many places with the lightness of design and fresh thinking: from the Chopin Muzeum in Warsaw (which has won many awards) to the Egyptian Museum in Turin, updat­ed in its image and museum design; from the new ‘home’ that will contain the Compasso d’Oro ADI collection in Milan (construction should begin, it is hoped, in 2016) to the spaces of the beautiful Palaz­zo Ducale in Vigevano (open to the public in Decem­ber), where people will be able to discover the life (and secrets) of the great Leonardo da Vinci.

All the way to the latest project: the new Mondadori Mega­store on Via San Pietro all’Orto, recently opened in Milan. We talked about it with Ico Migliore.

Your studio works on museums, exhibitions, in­stallation…

…and bookstores, too. Though I must confess that this is the first time we have designed a space totally devoted to the sale of books. We have often done bookshops, but also inside museums, or as corners in showrooms.

So how was it, doing this job?

It went very well. Above all because our client, Gruppo Mondadori, is a publish­ing house with a historical heritage, but also projected into the future, with the idea of bringing value to the book as product in a new way, updating the tradi­tional concept of the bookstore. Which is what we have done.


By creating a hospitable place to spend time, a place to which to return, with easy orientation, following rhythms and modes that change depending on needs. Where, above all, the book becomes the true protagonist of the setting, to touch, browse, read… perhaps while having a coffee at the tables of the new refreshment area, or relaxing on the shelf-benches that extend along the ribbon of the windows.

A meeting place, then. But what are the distinctive features of the design?

The key words were: flexibility, lightness and luminosity. We started with the idea of developing a concept that could adapt to books, but also to the sale of technological products, gadgets, stationery. Then we worked on the idea of light­ness, choosing perforated sheet metal to form the display ‘rings’ and light mem­branes, borrowed from sailboats, to cover the ceilings, making them luminous.

Color also plays an important role to make the place feel fresh: pale white forms a backdrop for Mondadori red, chosen to emphasize the sculptural volume of the staircase, while the green color is reassuring. Finally, the light has been bro­ken up into different planes, to create maximum visual comfort: indirect light, thanks to the big veils on the ceiling, and direct LED light, perfectly integrated with the various display fixtures.

Do the graphics also help visitors?

Of course. The project incorporates ‘spaces’ in a ‘story.’ A detailed system of graphic signage accompanies visitors as they search and explore, in a visible, well-organized way. Also reflecting the tradition and history of a publishing house that is over one hundred years old.


Text by Laura Ragazzola

gallery gallery
A design sketch by Ico Migliore that sums up the concept of the new Mondadori Megastore.
gallery gallery
The windows at Via San Pietro all’Orto 11, near the cathedral in Milan.
gallery gallery
The staircase, a sculptural feature in red, connects the three levels of the new megastore.
gallery gallery
Overall view of the first floor.
gallery gallery
The upper level of the Duomo Mondadori megastore, also recently updated in terms of layout and graphics by the studio migliore+servetto architects (photo Andrea Martiradonna).