Despite living in a city that’s filled with fashion influencers and world-renowned design culture, Leonardo Talarico has already made a name for himself (at an impressively young age) as an industrial designer. He’s collaborated with some of the most prestigious local and international firms. He’s been published in Elle Decor, Surface, Wallpaper, Interni, Abitare, and The Telegraph. And, most importantly to us, he knows a thing or two about navigating the design inspiration to be found in his hometown. So with Milan Design Week upon us, we asked Leonardo to show us around the places he goes when in search for authentic Milanese creativity.
Leonardo: This is a completely white space—a furniture store—where all the pieces are a perfect blend of fashion and function, art and design. I often go to Henrytimi when I am looking for inspiration on one of my new projects; there is something about the monochromatic space and the simple, single material elements held together by a minimalist vision. It is a space that enhances the soul. It makes you, the visitor, the true star and focal point of the room. I find that so interesting.
Leonardo: The Cappellini Showroom is a magical place where any designer would love to get lost. The space is a big yellow box surrounded by pieces from some of the most important designers of the world—from Marc Newson and Marcel Wanders to Nendo.
It’s exciting to see a connection between these objects—different cultural creations which are able to live perfectly together in one avant-garde collection. During Design Week, the entire space will be a Jasper Morrison exhibit showcasing his career path with the company.
THE HOME OF AGUSTIN OLAVARRIA VALDIVIA
Leonardo: In the Navigli area, surrounded by a large loft, the Chilean artist Agustin Olavarria Valdivia has a beautiful home. He left Chile because of political exile years ago, but even after the collapse of the dictatorship, he decided to stay in Milan. But his nostalgia for Chile and his former home is present in so many of his works. And this incredible environment he’s created: the home, his workshop, and laboratory–it’s very telling of his work and his vision. You’ll find reasoned chaos, sculptures, paintings, and works in wood all creating a small world unto itself. Even in the midsts of this chaotic city. I often come here just to talk to Agustin himself and to listen to his stories. He’s such a wise person who has lived so many interesting experiences. That perspective inspires me.
Leonardo: The Botanical Garden of Brera is the oldest garden in the city of Milan. You can admire the incredible magnolias, ferns, and countless exotic plants. I like to walk along the paths of the garden and completely isolate myself from the chaos of the city, just behind the walls. A little paradise in the alleys of downtown. Right now, in addition to flowering plants, you can also see the installations of some really great artists.
Leonardo: More than a place to get drinks, Bar Basso is really an institution. In the ‘90s, the then young Newson, Irvine, Morrison, and other great designers began to frequent this place. Since then, designers around the world, especially during Design Week, can be found late into the evening having drinks until dawn. If you’re a Negroni fan, you should know this is the bar that invented the recipe for the Negroni Sbagliato (that’s “A Messed Up Negroni” and definitely worth trying). I love seeing major influencers of industrial design mingling over drinks with the young and up-and-comers during Design Week. So many greatness here.
VILLA NECCHI CAMPIGLIO
Leonardo: This is a private villa from the ’30s which has now become a museum that is open to the public. Outside, the villa is very strict in comparison to the birth of rationalism. And the interiors, which are also open to the public, are more characterized by elements of art deco. I often come here throughout the year because I like the look of the pool just before the entrance; you can have a coffee near the snowy garden, or a drink by the pool when it’s warm in the summer. I often bring my dog here for a walk.
Leonardo: This immense library is housed in the palace of Brera, in the center of Milan. The most incredible part of Braidense is the reading room—everything is so old here, it’s like nothing has moved! Not even a fly! I like to look up old books here to find inspiration that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. And the environment is so peaceful and tranquil; it really does kind of feel like a trip into the past.
Leonardo: This is a former abandoned factory converted into a contemporary art production space. Don’t miss the permanent installations at Hangar Bicocca: the ones I prefer are outside, “the sequence” by Fausto Melotti and “The 7 Heavenly Palaces” by Anselm Kiefer. The latter is said to represent the culmination of the entire life’s work of the artist. And the grandeur of all of these works amazes me every time I come to observe it.
MUSEO DEL 900
Leonardo: Opened only a few years ago, this is the perfect place for anyone who loves or appreciates (or just wants to know about) the art of the 20th Century. Based in dell’Arengario Palace (which has undergone a lot of remodeling work recently) I love this place because you have the opportunity to see these beautiful works of art and, at the same time, enjoy an artful view of the classic Piazza del Duomo. The view from the upper floor windows is especially amazing.
SPAZIO ROSSANA ORLANDI
Leonardo: One of the most popular places to go during Design Week: I usually try to attend during the last days of the show because, in the first days of the week, Spazio Roassana Orlandi is literally assaulted by those curious to witness all the design happening. I like to go to observe the experimental projects curated from large talent scouts like Rossana Orlandi.
Leonardo: The Cardi is an independent gallery that was born with the mission to be almost like a museum. Since 1972, the works on display are modern and contemporary and they specialize in post-war and contemporary art, or from whatever era or origin the artists on display have proposed. It’s their belief that even a private space and commercial exhibitions should be able to share quality art.
To learn more about Leonardo Talarico, visit his website: www.leonardotalarico.com
To learn more about Milan Design Week 2015, visit www.designweekfestival.com
Photo credit: Federico Ciamei