The Manzoni: 100 seats and a journey in a designer’s space
How can a new brand become established in the Italian capital of design? After investing for five years in pop-up installations (some of them particularly successful such as the one with Ikea at the Galleria Manzoni in 2017), Tom Dixon chose to venture into an original challenge by opening a restaurant-showroom just a few steps away from La Scala and the Duomo. Playing on the hybridisation of spaces, creating a place in which the atmosphere may be comfortably enjoyed while eating, where one can relax and share ideas, sitting on an armchair or drinking out of glasses rigorously designed by Tom Dixon.
The English designer has sealed an alliance with Italian cuisine and launched “The Manzoni” (via Manzoni 5), designed by the Tom Design Research Studio, which in a single space brings together a restaurant, a showroom and a store. Style and quality may be found in the latest creations by the English designer, such as the new FAT chair, the OPAL lights and the FLASH tables, as well as in the dishes that are served, express, from the laboratory-kitchen.
The link between Dixon and food is not a new one. In 2017, at the Rotonda della Besana in Milan, he had promoted an installation with Arabeschi di Latte, The Restaurant. In London, he designed the Sea Container project and in the King’s Cross area (read more in thebrief) he opened the Ristorante Coal Office co-produced with chef Assan Granit – an amusement park for food and design, a preliminary test repeated in Milan.
A challenge to stay in contact every day with the energy that you breathe in Milan, without locking yourself up in a conventional showroom that, depending on the designer, may or may not give you the experience that these products are capable of generating in the exhibition that it offers.
Beautiful and comfortable furniture, lighting projects, tableware and interior design solutions. A cross-pollination of functions. A triumph of materials and colours: from the steel surfaces to the brass objects, from Etna stone to Verona marble. A challenge launched during the 2019 Milan Design Week becomes permanent.
A 100-seat restaurant for lunch or dinner; in the kitchen chef Davide Figliolini, the former executive chef of Acquolina in Rome. A store where you can buy Tom Dixon products or plants (thanks to the cooperation with Art Flowers Gallery, the renowned atelier in Porto Cervo). But also for consulting on interior design and contract work. The brand has chosen a different type of footprint in its quest to become a protagonist in the vitality of the design capital.
This is an experimental station, divided into different spaces as one enters the building: at the entrance, there is a prevalence of dark colours, like the granite monolith of the bar area; in the dining room the main feature is a long table that proposes sharing table and seating; further in you enter the ‘jungle’ where plants and flowers emerge out of the architectural context, creating a host of synergies with the design objects and interior projects.
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translation by Olga Barmine