In Milan, at number 19 of the very central via Monte Napoleone, the illy caffè, the flagship store of the Trieste-based leading coffee company, in a new guise completely reimagined by the studio ACPV ARCHITECTS Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel.
A relaxed and refined café where you can enjoy a multisensory experience discovering the illy universe, from breakfast to aperitif or, up to coffee tasting in the Academy.
Antonio Citterio, architect and president of ACPV ARCHITECTS, and Francesca Carlino, partner of the studio, tell us about the restyling project.
How the new illy Caffè di Milano was born
"A year ago Andrea Illy (president and CEO of the family business, ed), asked me to design new machines for coffee that allow you to personalize the drink, but I still can't say anything about it", says architect Antonio Citterio.
"From the product, they asked us to also redesign their new retail concepts, it is an overall project, which passes from design to our architecture studio. The one in via Monte Napoleone is a restyling that represents a a sort of mediation between what the new illy stores will look like and the peculiarities of the Milanese space".
A contemporary Milanese café
"We have renovated and expanded the existing illy store in via Monte Napoleone, housed in a historic building from the late nineteenth century, one of the company's main locations", says the 'architect Francesca Carlino, partner of the ACPV ARCHITECTS studio.
"illy has a sales system that passes through retail and flagship stores, the latter strongly characterized and linked to the territory. The point of via Montenapoleone, as a flagship store, is very characterized by the Milanese spirit, a link with the city that we have accentuated by choosing traditional materials, such as oak wood paneling, hand-worked seminato flooring, the recycled glass of the mosaic tiles on the wall, the pewter top that surmounts the bar counter in illy red sheet metal.
All in warm and enveloping colors reminiscent of the world of espresso, such as the coffee, cappuccino and chocolate colored walls".
The garden in the center
"The existing space has been completely demolished, renovated and enlarged", continues Francesca Carlino.
"We have included two new areas dedicated to food & beverage and enhanced the internal courtyard which we have closed with a new glass roof, creating a sort of garden of winter which is the true soul of this place, where you can eat, enjoy an excellent coffee or an aperitif in the shade of a fragrant magnolia.
We wanted to enter right here, in this welcoming and informal inner garden, a oasis of peace away from the hustle and bustle of the city".
Coffee, art and photography
"It was important for us to maintain the strong recognizability that illy has today in the world", adds Antonio Citterio.
"We celebrated the art and the great tradition of photography of the brand, inserting the exhibitors to show the author's shots, the chandelier - an element present in all illy flagship stores - made up of about 100 cups created by the artists of the illy Art Collection, and the niches in the two restaurant rooms where the cups become a decorative element.
With the photos, we have also customized the back of the counter, with decorative panels that are also functional because they slide, and in the evening, when the cafeteria is transformed into a cocktail bar, they move to reveal the bottles".
The coffee academy
"To the initial illy concept, we have added the space Accademia, a school of the coffee master where you can discover all the characteristics of the illy blend", adds Citterio.
The Academy also has a retail area where you can buy all illy-branded products, from coffee machines to illy Art Collection cups.
How the way of designing bars and cafes is changing
"Illy's is a very interesting concept," says architect Citterio. "With this renewed Milanese space we look at the Viennese literary cafes and Trieste once, where people spent the afternoon, where the writers went, where we read and met.
The illy Caffè di Monte Napoleone is a place to stay, where you work, meet, sip the excellent illy blend, eat a dessert, have lunch or indulge in a aperitif.
In the design of these places, we are increasingly moving towards cafes that host more activities and that alongside coffee are accompanied by a rich food & amp; beverage proposal, a direction also followed by other historic Milanese pastry shops ".
"The new illy caffè is the conjunction between the Italian spirit of coffee and the way of experiencing coffee shops in Northern Europe", concludes Francesca Carlino. "This is why we have focused on the technological aspect, equipping the space with sockets and wi-fi to work, also with a younger audience in mind".