I don’t know what rock I’ve been living under, but I’ve only just discovered Bar Luce, a Milanese café designed in 1950s Italian style by director of all directors, Wes Anderson.
In typical Wes Anderson whimsy, the café features mid-century finishes, a pastel-heavy colour palette and an excessively stylised space. Although his films favour sharp and idiosyncratic symmetry, Anderson feels that ‘there is no ideal angle for this space. It is for real life, and ought to have numerous good spots for eating, drinking, talking, reading, etc.’
The café is housed in Milan’s Fondazione Prada, an institution dedicated to contemporary art and culture, and takes reference from famous Milanese landmarks and cafes dotted around the city. Some architectural and decorative details from the original structure have been preserved, recreating a ‘miniature’ version of the vaulted glass roof of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, one of Milan’s most symbolic buildings.
‘While I do think it would make a pretty good movie set, I think it would be an even better place to write a movie. I tried to make it a bar I would want to spend my own non-fictional afternoons in.’
In keeping with the interior design, the seats, Formica furniture, floor, veneered wood wall panels and the range of colours employed are reminiscent of Italian popular culture and aesthetics from the 1950s and 1960s, echoing artistic decisions Anderson made for his short film Castello Cavalcanti (made in collaboration with Prada and starring Jason Schwartzman).
The bar is both a hotspot for the general public and a regular neighbourhood hangout. So, with that, Milan is now on my never-ending travel list.
Photography Courtesy; Attilio Maranzano