Let’s face it: The most important question facing the well-heeled design crowd attending Salone every April is, "Where are we going to eat?"
Celebrating its 55th year, the 2016 edition of Salone del Mobile takes place from April 12-17, and once again the city will be overflowing with events, exhibitions, and presentations highlighting what’s hot and new in the design and manufacturing sectors. See our cheat sheet for that here.
The five buzz-worthy bars and restaurants here—offering cloud-like lamps that double as pedestals for tasting menus, one-off motorcycles, shimmering brass partitions, and Formica furniture selected by an award-winning director—both celebrate high design and keep you fueled during the world’s biggest furnishings event.
1. Restaurant: Ristorante Contraste.
Firm: Davide Luraschi.
Standout: A sculpture by Matteo Pugliese greets visitors at the entrance of Ristorante Contraste by Davide Luraschi. Mounted on a black-painted wall, it raises a carved shushing finger as if to encourage silence or a departure from life’s distractions. The restaurant’s subdued interior, punctuated by dramatic lighting, does not fail to deliver. Alex Piras's fluffy cloud-like Nuvola blue lamps on round Liberty 4200 tables by Pedrali R & D double as glowing pedestals for finger-food by Uruguayan chef Matias Perdomo, while sleek beige leather-upholstered Ester armchairs are by Patrick Jouin. Above, bright red Silicone coral chandeliers by Alessandro Ciffo drop from the Milanese villa’s majestic restored ceiling.
2. Restaurant: Filippo La Mantia.
Firm: Lissoni Associati.
Standout: Sure chef Filippo La Mantia is passionate about food, but he has other interests, like wine, music, motorcycles, and photography. Piero Lissoni incorporated all of these subjects in his design of the multifunctional venue, which includes a 70-seat restaurant and a 20,000-square-foot two-story lounge with free wi-fi. Mixed with a wide array of Lissoni furnishings, there are a one-off motorcycle assembled from original pieces by Frank Augello’s Sumisura, giant black and white Sicilian portraits by Gianmarco Chieregato, and a display of Richard Ginori porcelain and Virginia Casa ceramics. Thanks to musical instruments scattered about, meals often include impromptu concerts. However, those meals don’t include garlic and onions: These items were removed from the menu to follow the authentic Palermitan tradition.
3. Restaurant: MUDEC restaurant in the MUDEC—Museo delle Culture di Milano.
Firm: Studio Rotella.
Standout: In the MUDEC—Museo delle Culture di Milano, a flashy new addition to Milan’s museum scene designed by David Chipperfield, a penthouse restaurant beckons with Art Deco flair. Brimming with glossy wood and contrasting geometric shapes, MUDEC by Fabio Rotella features an entire wall paneled with walnut, then inlayed with minimalist patterns in brass. Brass is also used for chain partitions which help direct diners without blocking light. Don’t miss the outdoor area, where green stone walls are a tribute to the vertical garden.
4. Restaurant: Mandarin Bar at Mandarin Oriental Milan.
Standout: A striking black and white color theme adds an Alice in Wonderland touch to the Mandarin Bar at the Mandarin Oriental Milan. Like the hotel, it is designed by Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel Interiors and filled entirely with custom furnishings. Slim black bar stools are topped with ivory cushions, black and white marble mosaic tile covers floor and walls, and the bar itself is enameled a glossy black. The architects used color to distinguish rooms – that means the bar’s lounge offers an entirely different experience. Here, slate upholstered sofas have ivory piping, and wallpaper and curtains are ivory striped with a warm burgundy.
5. Restaurant: Bar Luce at Fondazione Prada.
Designer: Wes Anderson.
Standout: Wes Anderson is an award-winning American film director, film producer, screenwriter, and actor, and now he can add interior design to his resume. Bar Luce at Fondazione Prada is a celebration of Milanese cafes, rendered in pastels. Cheerful Formica furniture paired with wood veneer paneling, decorative wallpaper, and pink terrazzo flooring take diners on a nostalgic journey back to the 1950s and 60s. In one arcade-like corner, a jukebox provides musical accompaniment to a pair of pinball machines.