Cracco: Discover The Singular Design of Milan’s New Restaurant – Italian Michelin-starred chef Carlo Cracco opened Cracco, his the eponymous new restaurant. The singular design of this four-floor culinary paradise is just as compelling as the incredibly innovative food.
The space is the result of the work of Laura Sartori Rimini and Roberto Peregalli, the Milanese master decorator architects who work together as Studio Peregalli. These masters of atmosphere both worked with the legendary Renzo Mongiardino and, like him, their work is suffused with incredible detail and singular design.
Mongiardino proved to be great at restaurant design when he decided to transform his favourite local restaurant, Belle Epoque, into an elegant study. With milky green Anaglypta walls and flattering amber and alabaster lights that were actually cast from resin, proved that Mongiardino isn’t afraid to harness contemporary innovations into his quest to evoke the past.
Cracco is set in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, designed by architect Giuseppe Mengoni to unite the Piazza del Duomo with the Piazza della Scala with a soaring shopping arcade. Inaugurated in 1877, it soon became the glamorous heart of the city’s luxury trades: the original Prada store opened here in 1913. By the later 20th century, however, the Galleria had long lost its lustre, and in recent years the city’s Mayor began a program to restore its former glory.
Peregalli and Rimini won a civic competition to evoke those glory years of the Galleria, with their scheme to restore its long-vanished grand restaurants and cafes. Carlo Cracco, meanwhile, won the bid to make over a four-story building in the arcade and brought in Studio Peregalli for the transformation. “There were no historical traces,” recalls Laura Rimini, “through the years everything had been destroyed.” Therefore, Studio Peregalli needed to reinvent the Galleria’s storied past from its imposing late 19th splendour through the glamour of the 1930s, so that the interiors reflected the views.
Rimini found a document of plump flowers and amplified the pattern to a new scale, creating a striking wallpaper in the entrance gallery; a brace of huge, gilt-framed mirrors hung opposite each other amplify the effect further still. Peregalli’s craftspeople transformed the space into a series of intimate panelled and mirrored dining rooms, in a harmonious celadon green palette. A soft Deco-patterned fitted carpet and woven horsehair curtains keep the noisome world at bay, wrapping diners in a luxurious cocoon.
The building’s ground floor had been a Mercedes car showroom: now it is a convincingly Belle Epoque café and patisserie with 1920s counters found in Paris and a mosaic floor that echoes Mengoni’s original singular design and elegance. The handsome iron elevator, clad in painted glass and brass, takes guests upstairs to the gourmet restaurant which was once, unbelievably, a warren of dreary municipal offices.
Image Credit: Cracco Restaurant
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