Iris Ceramica Group’s Milan showroom is located in the city centre, on the corner of via Santa Margherita and a private road, via Farine, in the busy area between the Duomo and Piazza Cordusio. The Milan showroom followed shortly after the London opening and is the final stage of a plan to launch the Group in the world’s design capitals. The showrooms are not merely display areas but also meeting places to reach out, seek inspiration and information, and fuel creativity; a genuine point of reference for a community which revolves around the world of architecture.
The overarching theme guiding Area-17 Architecture & Interiors is re-imagining these areas as lifestyle places, where the striking, exciting potential of ceramics results in furnishings and interior design solutions that actively involve the visitor in discovering the latest products and technical solutions. A key factor is the link with the surroundings. The building is a former bank and the most exclusive part of the showroom still maintains a feeling of safeguarding something precious and the confidential bond with the customer.
The premises occupy 750 sq.m. over three floors with each level having a clear function, reflected in the design of the spaces. On the ground floor, looking out over the city, is a welcoming reception with a lounge bar area, a typical feature of the Milan social scene. Large format ceramic tiles define the surfaces and architectural features and also demarcate a dynamic, flexible display area, where the narrative behind the products can alternate with or be integrated into social events or installations.
On the floor above, the visitor experiences a different state of mind when entering an area designed as a state-of-the-art spa with a series of indented niches, each one set up as a private life space. At the rear, a large meeting room featuring Diesel Living is simultaneously, or consecutively, a co-working space, event venue or conference room, underlining once again that working, meetings and business dealings are just many facets of a single way of life.
The basement preserves the former bank’s safeguarding philosophy, housing Iris Ceramica Group’s vast archives and product samples. Collections containing the personal history behind each product are stored in this private area, set aside for one-to-one meetings with customers depending on their specific requirements. In the centre, the former vault’s original structure has been retained and re-imagined as a jewellery store security room, where customers are shown the most precious merchandise.