17.8.08

Sunday in Milan

I am back from my one month magical Sabbatical in Italy but the memories linger on. I have been thinking about the end of my trip and the 5 days I spent in Milan. To start at the beginning of my sojourn in Milan, I checked into a Hotel recommended by Albarosa's niece Valentina (more about Valentina at the end of this post). Albarosa is a native Milanese who now resides in Vancouver and is a reader of my Blog. When she read that I was going to be visiting Italy she offered me travel advice, which I promptly took her up on. The Hotel recommended was appropriately called "Hotel The Gray" and is an ultra stylish Boutique hotel which among other things was very conveniently located between the Duomo and La Scala (one of the world's most famous opera houses). And best of all it is footsteps from the 19th-century Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the largest and most famous indoor shopping malls of its kind and literally next door to "Hotel The Gray" was the famous, high end department store La Rinascente. The timing of my trip was fortuitous on three accounts: 1. July is the super sale time in Italy. 2. The Duomo and La Rinascente facades were sparkling clean and new refreshed. 3. All of the city had not yet closed down and retreated for their annual month long hiatus to the seaside which happens in the month of August. I now understand why the Italians exit their cities to find some refreshment because the temperature was hovering in the low 40's with about 60% humidity.

The Gray Hotel The Hotel Gray entrance to bar

The Hotel Gray entrance. I liked checking into this \hotel and signing my name on the register. A view from the lobby to the bar (above right)

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My room was beautiful and I loved the touch of the fresh green leaf in the Bathroom sink

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The Gray Hotel - Milan - Italy

The night of my arrival I dined in the Hotel's restaurant "Le Noir" which is very famous for its style. I had a very elegant meal, accompanied by a very fine wine from the Veneto region, but not an entirely romantic meal because I was dining solo. Oh well, one of the things about dining solo is that I get to fully observe my surroundings and even sketch on my napkin.

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Super lounge chairs on the rooftop lounge of The Hotel Gray

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The roof top lounge at The Hotel Gray

Milan Final 055 A view of the facade of La Rinascente department store as seen from the rooftop lounge at The Hotel Gray.

But now back to how I spent my Sunday in Milan. I was recommended to visit 10 Corso Como by Valentina and Albarosa. 10 Corso Como is a very stylish restaurant, boutique and book store. So I set out to get there by the underground. The subways in Milan are equally as forward thinking in design as the Milanese are in fashion and furniture design.

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There was a series of fans blowing cool air that was scented (someone told me that the scent was to counter pollution). And there were big screen video monitors playing music.

By the time I arrived at 10 Corso Como I was ready to have brunch in the courtyard garden.

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Sunday brunch - an omelet served with white rice and drizzled with Italian olive oil, which is simply the best.

After eating I spent some time browsing in the 13,000 square foot boutique and looking through the famous bookstore which has the best selection of Design, Fashion, and Architecture related books. While there I was very excited to see my friend Jackie Von Tobel's book on the shelves. Way to go Jackie!! I couldn't get pictures of the boutique or bookstore, but I would highly recommend a visit.

My next stop was The Bulgari Hotel designed by Italy's famous architect Antonio Citterio. It is the only hotel within the city walls of Milan with a garden. I thought it would be the perfect spot for an afternoon aperitif of Zucca, (my newly acquired passion) a refreshing Italian liqueur. Its base ingredient is Rhubarb combined with zest, cardamom seeds and other curative herbs. It has a delicate and pleasant bittersweet taste and is served mixed with soda water and ice. It became an afternoon ritual during my stay in Milan. To my dismay I cannot find Zucca in North America. If anyone has a source for it please let me know.

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A picture of the Zucca bottle on the bottom right

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The garden at The Bulgari is large, reportedly 4000 sq metres. The furniture is set on pads of pea gravel surrounded by grass. I love the crunchy sound underfoot.

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The seating areas have these interesting twig screens. The top of the coffee tables is black glass which casts nice reflections.

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A nicely detailed steel staircase takes you down to a private area in the rear of the garden along a pea gravel pathway.

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The metal railing detail throughout the garden has an undulating ribbon effect. A view of the main facade of the Hotel in the background.

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A view through the restaurant to the garden

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Entering the lobby and adjoining lounge. The decoration of this Hotel has been described as: "a fashionable chocolate box of browns, blacks and whites". The furnishings have an unmistakable B & B Italia look, which is not surprising as the Designer and Architect Antonio Citterio does all the store design as well as designing furniture for B & B Italia.

Milan Final 037 A surprisingly long cantilevered glass shelf runs the length of the lounge. This same meticulous attention to detail was seen throughout the Hotel.

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The slipcovered chair in the background, the sofa, and the black leather chairs in the foreground are designed by Citterio for B & B Italia's - Maxalto Collection. There were stacks of books everywhere and comfortable places to sit and beautiful views out the windows.

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A close up of the cantilevered glass shelf shown in the second above picture.

After this refreshing visit I had at the Bulgari Hotel it is time to get back to my Hotel and change for supper. I am being taken out to dine at Dolce and Gabbana's Gold Restaurant by new Milanese friends, Valentina and Davide, who are both Architects and work for the famed Italian Pomellato stores. (Valentina is the niece of my friend Albarosa in Vancouver). Valentina is VP in charge of Marketing and Davide is chief Architect designing their new stores. Currently Davide is overseeing the completion of their new store in London. In true Italian style, Valentino and Davide arrive to the restaurant by motorbike (their car was in the shop for repairs). Valentina is the picture of beauty, fashionably dressed and beautifully shoed in elegant heels. There is something so magical about Italian women. They always look wonderful and feminine even when stepping off of a motorbike. We had a marvelous evening and my only regret (well two regrets) is that I didn't get a picture of us together, and that the evening wasn't long enough. Valentina and Davide were wonderful hosts and gave me a great list of things that I needed to see and do the next day.

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The above pictures of the Gold Restaurant are the "Bistro" located on the main level. This is where we dined in one of the circular banquettes. The food is international Italian — simple, seasonal dishes and the wine we had with dinner was superb. The décor, a kind of midcentury modern with a bling injection. Gold is used everywhere from the golden bamboo bathrooms down to the water-bottle labels.

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Upstairs in the Dining Room Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's iconic ‘Brno’ chairs have been customized with metallic fringing. Not for the faint of heart, the decor of this Restaurant "more is more" is typical signature Dolce and Gabbana. I wonder how Mies van der Rohe would feel about the metallic fringing on his chairs as his famous and most quoted saying is "less is more".

Patricia Gray writes about Interior Design inspirations, emerging trends, and the world of Design.
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2011 © Patricia Gray | Interior Design Blog™

41 comments:

  1. Hi Patrizia,
    I have arrived to your blog through Vintage &Chic. You have lovely blog with a nice style.
    From today, I think that I'll return to visit to you.
    I have read about your trip in Italy and, I hope that you it was a nice experience because Italy is a wonderful country, that i love.
    Best Regards.

    http://nosinmibolso.blogspot.com/

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  2. PS: Sorry for my english...!!
    http://nosinmibolso.blogspot.com/

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  3. Hi Patrizia!
    I found you in Vintage and Chic!
    thanks for sharing all this beautiful
    images and places!!
    I'll keep visiting you, sure!!
    all the best
    Esti

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  4. albarosa simonetti18/8/08

    PFHEWWWWW...I was waiting and waiting for this...and I thought Milan was so disappointing after Venice, Florence, Ferrara, Rome, that you would never bother writing about it.
    So happy to see some pictures of my former city (where I spend a few months a year anyway, for family and business) and to read your comments.
    Looking forward for "Monday in Milano".
    Ciao.

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  5. Hi Patricia!
    Wow! What a wonderful and jam packed visit you had in Italy! That is so great you got to stay in your "namesake" hotel, which was beautiful. I also love the pictures of the white D&G restaurant. I feel a little bit fot the staff that has to keep those tables clean after every meal! Hahaha. Lovely!

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  6. What amazing places you found during your stay!!! All of your posts have been delightful to read!!!!

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  7. Wow, so many amazing places. The black room with the white sofa, stunning. Thanks for charing!!

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  8. Your trip to Italy sounds amazing, and your photos from there too!
    I just love the extra effort that some hotels arrange for that nice touch, that we appreciate so much!

    I am a swedish woman living in Singapore, so I mostly travel around in this region, but Italy....ahhhh, lovely:-

    //Gunilla

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  9. Hi Stella
    No need to apologize for your English. I just wish you could speak my language as well as you speak mine. Thanks for stopping by.

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  10. Hi Estibalitz
    Thanks for the visit and I look forward to hearing more from you!

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  11. Hi Albarosa
    Sorry it has taken me so long to do this posting on Milan, but suddenly when you get home from a long time away there is so much else to do. Thanks to you and Valentina for all your wonderful recommendations for my stay in Milan!

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  12. Hi Katie
    I never thought about the maintenance issues of that all white restaurant, but I'm sure the D&G's have a ever so large staff. and the namesake Hotel was so much fun and fantasy! I now have a plastic laundry bag that I am saving that is inscribed on the front: The Gray Milan.

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  13. Hi Simply Grove & Purple
    Thanks for your comments!

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  14. Hi A Home Far Away
    I like the title of your Blog. I have visited Singapore, but never Sweden. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! All the best to you in Singapore.

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  15. Patricia, what a great recap of your time in Italy -- really loved the D&G Gold Restaurant -- the mirrored tables, the fantastic lighting -- so stylish!

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  16. oh it sounds like such a wonderful day!!! I adore all that outdoor furniture - is that Dedon? And that stair railing makes me want to weep - so lovely.

    PS I have a query for you - will email you:)

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  17. Thomas20/8/08

    Patricia,
    Just checking to see what I've missed in the last week or so.....beautiful posts, as usual. FYI, the lobby in the Bulgari Hotel is indeed by Antonio Citterio but at least the chairs are his designs for Flexform. The chair is called "Thomas" (I never forgot that for some reason :-))... His designs for Flexform are among his best and their quality is exquisite...better than B&B, IMHO. Keep up the great work.

    Regards, Tom

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  18. Hi Tom
    Thanks for your email and for reading my Blog. As for the chairs, yes indeed they are from Flexform. Thanks for pointing that out. I was searching everywhere on the B & B site to find them. I knew they must be by Citterio. I see that the sofa with the bookcase might also be from Flexform. Citterio is very clever as he gets to use all his own furniture designs in his work, which I think is the epitome of a Designer's career.

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  19. Hi This is G
    The Gold Restaurant was fantastic, so glad you liked it.

    Hi Maryam
    I don't know where the outdoor furniture is from...If anyone does please let me know.

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  20. Wow...I have seen pictures of Hotel Gray...it must have been beautiful to experience it. The "Bistro" is laid out much like the Blue Fin in Times Square. Amazing photos; I love it when people take pictures of their meals; eating and shopping are staples of any trip abroad :)

    Ciao!

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  21. Great story, well written and information kudos Patrizia

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  22. Thanks for sharing- I love the gardens at the Bulgari!

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  23. I had the opportunity to look at your blog and web site. Very impressive. It appears you had a great time in Italy! My sister and her husband spent 2 weeks there last year and will again next year, they say it is beautiful. For me? I prefer the Caribean!

    It is Friday, so enjoy your weekend, I plan too!

    Best wishes,

    Mark

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  24. I wondered onto your blog somehow and so glad I did. Fabulous photos! The headboard has totally inspired me. Just showed it to my hubby and we're going to make one very similar to it! :-)

    ~melody~

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  25. Hi Michelle
    I'll have to check out the Blue Fin in Times Square next time I am in NYC.....eating & shopping and maybe a little sleep!

    Hi Shane
    Thanks

    Hi Neutral Dwelling
    Glad you liked the Bulgari gardens.

    Hi Mark
    Thanks for your comment and again thanks for your help on the Google site!!

    Hi Melody
    Wow that's great. Please let me know how it turns out and send a picture.

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  26. What amazing photos!!!! How I wish I could jet off back to Italy- just hoping my hubby's new job (headquartered in Paris) allows us to go to Europe often!
    Beautiful shots.

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  27. Hi Elements of Style
    Lucky you..Paris is wonderful and everything in Europe is so close with train travel.

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  28. Patricia, I just wanted to thank you so much for your sweet comment on my blog yesterday! I have been feasting MY eyes on your Italian adventures! It's making me miss my travels there so much. That brunch spot looked BEAUTIFUL!

    mille grazie! :)

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  29. Hi Coco & Kelly
    If you ever get to Milan be sure to visit 10 Corso Como. I couldn't take pictures there, but it is amazing and the food is good too.

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  30. Hello from the U.S.

    Just found your blog and I am exhilarated by it! So cool!
    You are a very talented lady!

    Glad I found you!

    Best regards.

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  31. Hi Patricia,

    I really enjoyed reading your blog, a refreshing mix of architecture, interesting locations and enthusiasm. Nicely detailed, what a beautiful country!

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  32. Marie5/9/08

    You have great taste in interior design and recognizing great design. The most amazing concept of design is how it can empower life.

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  33. I really enjoyed reading about your Italian adventures and seeing the fabulous architecture this past summer.

    Best regards,
    Beth

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  34. Absolutely gorgeous! I found a link to your blog through life in a venti cup and so very glad I did! These pictures are so surreal.

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  35. A great tour of MIlan for this armchair traveller today - thank you. Loved the Hotel Gray - it looks seriously cool but at the same time very comfortable and well located - must be near to the shops!

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  36. We are so blessed that we live in this age that other designers work on the other side of the world is so easily accessible through the internet. I know that running a blo like this takes time and effort, I just wanted you to know that people like me appreciate all the effort it takes, thank you.

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  37. nadine11/6/09

    I am amazed by those restaurant interior designer. They have talent to express their selves and feelings through the designs. Like in this blog.It is a nice post and had a greater design. I hope that your site would be bless.

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  38. MH4Designs9/7/09

    Milan is an amazing city!
    I am an Interior Designer and just moved to a beautifull house, I love all differnt design movements, but I feel that I need to change the "feel" of my bedroom...so I typed -white bedrooms- and I found your beautiful blog, and the pictures are just fantastic. I love them!
    Italian style is so simple.

    Thank you for your blog...it is indeed inspirational for me!!

    M.H.

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  39. Nice post!! I have read some of your posts and is really impressed. I am adding your blog to my RSS Feed reader.

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  40. Anonymous22/5/12

    HI PATRICIA
    GREAT POST! WHERE CAN I BUY THE OUTDOOR FURNITURE AND LANTERNS?
    THANK F.C.L.COM@WANADOO.FR

    ReplyDelete

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