Just one block from the frenetic activity of Turin’s Porta Nuova train station, the Via Giuseppe Luigi Lagrange (or Via Lagrange) is emblematic of the urban revival propelled by the winter Olympics held here in 2006. A traffic-free oasis, the rapidly gentrifying promenade is dotted with restored palazzi and museums, inviting gastronomic haunts, and such designer boutiques as Chanel, Miu Miu, and Prada. Among these, a new multibrand store, Lagrange12—so named for its address—offers more than immediately meets the eye from the street. Pristine single-label departments for Dior, Celine, St. Laurent, and Valentino—each designed by their in-house architectural teams—are located on the ground floor around the perimeter of this corner site, visible through the store’s windows and five entrances. What is not readily apparent to passersby, or those entering for the first time, is a luminous portal at the store’s core—behind the proprietary designer shops-within-the shop—which signals a unique retail experience.
Lustrous, gold-painted walls greet customers as they cross the brass-clad threshold that transports them into the store’s sensuous multibrand area, which comprises most of the 10,800-square-foot Lagrange12—about one and a half floors. Designed by the Milan-based Dimore Studio, it is devoted to a mix of men’s and women’s fashion from numerous upscale lines curated by store manager Loredana Panetta. Steering away from the minimalist decor of the dedicated designer shops, firm principals Britt Moran and Emiliano Salci developed a complex palette of colors, patterns, and materials that recalls more sumptuous eras yet underscores the seasonal collections with remarkably modern and understated results.
The retail complex occupies the first two levels of a luxury residential development in a restored and renovated 18th-century palazzo that had until recently housed offices for the municipal police. The space, which was gutted and apportioned by the client and construction team, reflects the historic six-story structure’s roots, with elegant daylit suites of rooms on each floor, some with vaulted ceilings. An enfilade on the second level reinforces the aura of a stately home.
The layout inspired Moran and Salci, who derived the name of their 13-year-old firm from the Italian word “dimora,” a dwelling or aging aristocratic villa. “But we don’t reproduce historical elements,” says Moran. “Rather, we try to recreate what in our imaginations is that historical moment.” The partners devised a scheme that exploits the interior’s gracious proportions, integrating decorative elements with the architecture to maintain a variety of apartment-like spaces—intimate, transitional, and spacious. As a departure from the building’s neoclassical shell, they drew from Art Deco motifs to create an atmosphere that reflects the passage of time.
With a near-baroque opulence, the designers emphasized deep jambs at the doors and windows, as well as corridor floors and ceilings, by cladding them with honed Ming Green marble edged by strips of brass. This softly-burnished metal reappears in the form of a balustrade that runs alongside a brushed stainless-steel stair and throughout the comfortably appointed rooms as perforated grills under windows (concealing HVAC equipment), on custom light fixtures, and between tufted wall panels of moss-green faux suede.
In less assured hands this rich layering would be excessive. But Moran and Salci—known for the fusion of art, fashion, and architecture in their work—demonstrate a restraint that never overpowers the merchandise. According to Salci, “by using bold, often matte colors, the palette becomes quite neutral.” Dark blue-green ceilings, for instance, offset the numerous green surface treatments.
An audacious use of pattern, too, fades into a surprisingly subtle backdrop for the sculptural iron clothing racks and bronzed mirror-clad trunk displays designed by Moran and Salci. On the floors, sections of low-pile carpet, resin, and black granite converge in large geometric swaths. Overhead, a series of Mondrianesque light fixtures—panel compositions made of polished and oxidized steel, brass, black-painted iron, colored glass, and backlit translucent acrylic—conceal downlights and illuminate sales areas with both ambient and direct light. The designers, who also own a gallery of period and contemporary furnishings, further augment the residential ambience with such select pieces as a vintage LC4 chaise longue by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, and Charlotte Perriand. A visit to Lagrange12, says manager Panetta, is like being a guest at “a villa.”
Working largely with local artisans, Dimore Studio has crafted an evocative space that is both timely and timeless
Interior Design Firm:
Dimore Studio, Via Solferino 11, Milan 20121, Italy (+39 02 36 53 70 88)
Personnel in firm who should receive special credit:
Britt Moran, Emiliano Salci — partners in charge
Building Group (building restoration)
10,800 square feet
Alcantara (first floor wall cladding panels); Rubelli (sofa upholstery); Dedar (changing room curtains and trunk display interior); Dedar (fabric for Azucena poufs); Kvadrat (ground floor wall cladding panels)
Historical Items from Dimore Gallery Ground Floor
Wall sconces ‘Lambda’ by Vico Magistretti
Wall sconces ‘Euterpe’ by BBPR
Floor lamps by Stilnovo
Table lamps by Stilnovo
Ceiling lamps (at entrance) by Stilnovo
Armchairs by Paolo Buffa
Historical Items from Dimore Gallery First Floor
Original LC4 chaise longue by Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret
Gio Ponti armchair
Floor lamps by Stilnovo
CONTEMPORARY ITEMS FROM DIMORE GALLERY:
Marble tables by Oeuffice
CONTEMPORARY ITEMS FROM AZUCENA
Cilindro poufs by Azucena