Studiopepe revamps a floor at Rinascente, channeling '80s Milan street style

Redesigning the fourth floor of the luxury department store La Rinascente, Studiopepe pays tribute to Milan, uniting past and present with pop tones and graphic elements.

by Jerry ElengicalPublished on : Jun 17, 2021

Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto of Studiopepe have revamped the fourth floor of Milan's historic Rinascente store, creating a space that expresses a new 'genderless' approach to retail design. By employing pop tones and innovative graphic elements, the interiors pay tribute to Milanese street style, and landmark locations within the city, utilising an unusual colour palette that contrasts intense hues of emerald green with darker shades of silver and black.

Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto of Studiopepe | Rinascente by Studiopepe | STIRworld
Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto of Studiopepe Image: Studiopepe-® | Photo: Andrea Ferrari

Hailed as a mandatory Milanese retail experience, La Rinascente's flagship store in Piazza del Duomo has survived multiple setbacks and refurbishments throughout nearly a century of its occupation. In a sense, its story epitomises the brand name's meaning of 'she who is reborn’, created by the poet Gabriele d'Annunzio in 1917. Currently occupying nine prestigious stores across Italy, the company has been at the forefront of innovations in industrial design and high-end shopping experiences within the country for decades. They also established the famed Compasso d'Oro award back in 1954 and have collaborated with several reputed designers such as Gio Ponti, Marcello Dudovich, Max Huber, Giorgio Armani, and Pierre Cardin among many others.

The duo was inspired by the rigorous, functional aesthetic of Milanese workplaces in the 80s, using emerald green hues contrasted by black and grey shades | Rinascente by Studiopepe | STIRworld
The duo was inspired by the rigorous, functional aesthetic of Milanese workplaces in the 80s, using emerald green hues contrasted by black and grey shades Image: Silvia Rivoltella

While striving to honour the store's decorated legacy and reimagine it for the present climate, the duo of Lelli Mami and Di Pinto was inspired by the rigorously utilitarian aesthetic of Milanese workplaces during the 1980s. With this in mind, the renovated space on the fourth floor has been structured as a sequence of adeptly organised zones in an open plan, with visual references to prominent city haunts, exuding an air of playfulness and understatement.

Subtle references to prominent city icons such as metro stations and Gio Ponti’s folding doors are evident in the design, influenced by Milanese streets | Rinascente by Studiopepe | STIRworld
Subtle references to prominent city icons such as metro stations and Gio Ponti’s folding doors are evident in the design, influenced by Milanese streets Image: Silvia Rivoltella

For instance, the swooping cylindrical steel tubes used to display apparel bear direct allusions to the railings of Milan's underground stations - designed by Franco Albini and Franca Helg. Moreover, the coral-curtained circular changing rooms were heavily influenced by Gio Ponti's iconic folding doors, serving as a warm, vibrant spectacle amid the predominantly cool colour scheme. Pops of acid yellow line the hollowed-out column exhibits, as well as the edges of garment racks and one of the space's enclosing partitions.

The highlight of the space are the wave-like display modules in satin plexiglass that oscillate between opaque and translucent while showcasing sneakers | Rinascente by Studiopepe | STIRworld
The highlight of the space are the wave-like display modules in satin plexiglass that oscillate between opaque and translucent while showcasing sneakers Image: Silvia Rivoltella

The highlight of the design perhaps, is its wave-like display modules in satin plexiglass, that showcase the store's catalogue of sneakers. Oscillating between opaque and translucent from different perspectives, they provide an intriguing backdrop for the curved carousels clad in gridded modules of chrome steel. Furthermore, features such as Rodolfo Bonetto's renowned Boomerang Chair also lend a uniquely domestic character alongside other bespoke round furnishings.

They provide an intriguing scenographic background to the elliptical carousels clad in gridded chrome steel | Rinascente by Studiopepe | STIRworld
They provide an intriguing scenographic background to the elliptical carousels clad in gridded chrome steel Image: Silvia Rivoltella

An homage to the city of Milan is also evident in the meticulously curated material palette, which includes satin steel, terrazzo, and plexiglass. Conventional finishes such as these have been paired with more experimental counterpoints of Silipol - selected by Albini and Helg for underground station walls – Milleforma (a cotton-based sustainable tiling material), and even Alusion - an aluminium foam material famously used by OMA to clad the Fondazione Prada.

  • The material palette, which includes satin steel and terrazzo paired with Milleforma and Alusion, also pays an homage to Milan | Rinascente by Studiopepe | STIRworld
    The material palette, which includes satin steel and terrazzo paired with Milleforma and Alusion, also pays an homage to Milan Image: Silvia Rivoltella
  • Silipol - selected by Franco Albini and Franca Helg for Milan’s underground station walls, is also featured in the design | Rinascente by Studiopepe | STIRworld
    Silipol - selected by Franco Albini and Franca Helg for Milan’s underground station walls, is also featured in the design Image: Silvia Rivoltella

When combined with the firm's innovative use of colour as an architectural tool, the redesigned space is a monument that celebrates the city of Milan and unites both past and present. Undercut by a coherent, contemporary feel, Studiopepe’s new interior design preserves the distinguished heritage of the flagship space while imparting a sophisticated and glamorous atmosphere befitting the modern era of retail.

Through the use of colour as an architectural tool, alongside furnishings such as Rodolfo Bonetto's Boomerang Chair, the space unites both past and present | Rinascente by Studiopepe | STIRworld
Through the use of colour as an architectural tool, alongside furnishings such as Rodolfo Bonetto's Boomerang Chair, the space unites both past and present Image: Silvia Rivoltella

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