17 November 2015
A few intense months of work have transformed the spaces of the Venini showroom, at Via Monte Napoleone 9, into Marchesi’s outpost in the fashion district. It is the second Milanese branch of the historic artisan pastry shop, an integral part of the city since 1824, the year in which Angelo Marchesi opened the first small venture in an elegant 18th-century building at Via Santa Maria alla Porta 11/a, in the Magenta area. In the early years of the 20th century the pastry shop expanded its activity to become a proper café, soon turning into a mecca of the Lombard provincial capital. The interior decoration of the new branch is the work of Roberto Baciocchi, architect of many of the outlets of Prada, the luxury brand that in March 2014 bought 80% of the shares of Angelo Giovanni Marchesi, grandson of the founder, who remains in the role of president as a guarantee of the brand’s standard of excellence. A great deal of effort has gone into maintaining the Marchesi character, evident in the details and atmosphere: from the flooring of dark brown marble to the ceilings with exposed beams; from the logo in gold leaf on the façade and the windows to the marble-topped counter and the shelving in cherry wood and glass, surmounted by a large mirror. The setting is dominated by a shade of pistachio green, present in the stucco of the room near the entrance, in the jacquard silk fabrics of the inner room, in the velvet of the upholstery and, in a paler hue, in the 38 illuminated showcases that house an expanded range of delights: candies, bonbons, chocolates and pralines, pudding mixes, chocolate creams, jams, fruit pickles, tea and ground coffee. All the products are presented in packaging designed especially for the new branch, which in its two rooms serves its own menu—seven days a week, from 7:30 am to 9 pm—on Rosenthal china accompanied by Sambonet silver flatware. This opening represents an important step for both parties involved: for Marchesi it means growth and continuity, while Prada is broadening its portfolio with a strong and exportable brand of Italian food (as Pietro Marzotto has already done with the gastronomy of Peck and Bernard Arnault of the LVMH group with the Caffè Cova). The next moves in this strategy of expansion have already been marked out. The first will be in Milan, where a new pastry shop-restaurant will be launched in 2016, inside the building in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II previously occupied by McDonald’s, where the showroom of Prada’s line of menswear is already in operation. Then new openings are planned in Asia and the Middle East: for the moment the talk is of Dubai, Hong Kong and Tokyo.