5-star sophistication in Milan’s boho-chic design district
This year’s Expo Milano 2015 has got the world abuzz, and after having been notched first on NYT’s ‘52 Places to Go’ list in 2015, the city has everyone’s attention. If you’re off to the Expo looking for luxury without the pandemonium of a city centre, you might want to look toward Via Tortona and a Small Luxury Hotel of the World that makes the choosy Swiss traveller feel right at home.
Eco-friendly, meet refined understatement
Hotel Magna Pars Suites Milano: the Essence of Living used to be a Martone family-owned perfume factory before it was reopened as a hotel à parfum in January 2013. Robert Martone, who took over the business from his father in the 1970s, continues to make fragrances, allying himself with prestigious brands like Blumarine, Dsquared2, Pomellato, and Trussardi. But while the hotel celebrates its history, the site no longer produces cosmetics.
Set in the heart of the Navigli district, the factory has been transformed into an environmentally sustainable paradise that pairs the world of perfume with comfortable minimalistic design and comfort. Renewable conifer wood and steel, set off by large sheets of glass for a sense of open space —uncommon in downtown Milan— create a relaxed but sophisticated feeling for a building whose focal point is a scent garden filled with lush faun and flora. All this in a peaceful quarter just steps from the Porta Genova railway station and metro.
In two main sections —one for wood, one for flowers and fruit trees— 39 suites with open wall windows are outfitted with local Italian textiles and furnishings. Among them, 19 speak to flowering trees and bushes, such as the gardenia and jasmine; nine to woods, like sandalwood and patchouli; and 11 are inspired by fruit trees, among which fig, cherry, and medlar. A presidential suite named after oud wood is the largest and most luxurious at Magna Pars Suites Milano and evokes the Southeast Asian tree that produces a rare and precious oil. On the walls, a series of original work by the students of the Academy of Fine Art makes the hotel a veritable gallery, reminiscent of its location.
The hotel hosts well-heeled aperitivos and business meetings with a rooftop terrace and event space, catered by its own Restaurant DA NOI IN —a popular hotspot during design and fashion weeks. And under the culinary expertise of Executive Chef Fulvio Siccardi, contemporary menus are paired with wines from the hotel’s own cellar, where tastings and smaller events are set off in the fashionable Lounge Bar.
Books line shelves in every room at Hotel Magna Pars Suites Milano, giving the otherwise minimalistic décor a home-like feeling. Carry one with you from the airy reading room to the fitness and wellness centre, and leave it for another guest. This hotel wants its patrons to experience the heart of Milan, which is an exchange, a dialogue about design, architecture, and the way fashion shapes the world.
A magnet for Milan’s creative set, Via Tortona attracts photographers (over 50 ateliers) and designers in search of Navigli’s open spaces and small shops. It’s a crustier place than the upscale Brera district, and is teeming with artistic potential. Is it Milan’s version of Greenwich Village? we ask a local. “Absolutely, you will find cutting edge professionals working in a relaxed environment, much less pretentious than other districts in downtown Milano.” The district is home to Giorgio Armani headquarters and the designer’s new Armani Silos, a new archive-museum dedicated to fashion, and exhibition venue opening in May for Expo Milano 2015. The Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation is an important part of the district, and Superstudio Più, a customizable event space founded by the acclaimed art director, Flavio Lucchini, and used widely for art and fair exhibitions, such as White, the Temporary Museum for New Design, and TemporaryArt. Superstudio Più will also be hosting temporary exhibits parallel to Expo Milano 2015.
In addition to fashion and design, the neighbourhood is a hub for exhibits and events during the Milan Furniture Fair, and is a prime spot for evening entertainment.
For details: www.magnapars-suitesmilano.it
Article by Allison Zurfluh