We love Brentano
These are places that can tell stories, bring back memories and yet look to the future. Places with a heart and soul, a face and a voice.
The Cerasa flagship store in Milan is in Via Brentano. By a curious play on references, the street name succeeds here in creating links between past and present: Giuseppe Brentano was, in fact, the architect who won the international competition for the renovation of the façade of the Milan Cathedral in 1888, with a project that the jury at the time hailed as “not only the best of all, but worthy of being realised”.
Today, the JRK design district, the new furniture and interior design district is located between Via Brentano and Via San Giovanni sul Muro, in the Cairoli area. The district was founded by the architects Jacopo Santi and Riccardo Pagura and by Karim Stadelman, and is home to prestigious brands, including Cerasa. A multi-faceted world, with strong ties to Made in Italy, united by a vision and an unmistakeable style.
Each place interacts with its own setting. The Cerasa flagship store is situated in the palazzo Dal Verme, owned by one of the most powerful families of the Visconti and Sforza court of the fifteenth century, to whom we also owe the theatre of the same name, built at the end of Via San Giovanni sul Muro and inaugurated by Francesco Dal Verme in 1872, to replace the Politeama Ciniselli, a sort of street theatre that disturbed the people living there. If we had to, it would be very easy to pinpoint the position of the showroom without using Google Maps, by virtue of well-known landmarks alone. Corso Magenta crosses the area and the historic tram runs right along this road, lined with period houses and old shops, as far the Duomo, just one kilometre away.
On the other side, there is the Sforzesco Castle, in all its glory, just five minutes away on foot. Piazza Affari is also just 500 metres from Via Brentano and the Università Cattolica (Catholic University) a mere 650 metres away. The Milan headquarters of the Adelphi publishing house is at number 2 while Taschen is in Via Meravigli. The very heart, so to speak, of the historic centre of Milan.
Places are not defined, however, simply by a map. Being located in a place means becoming part of the community life. Like the home, a place that provides protection and safety, a symbol of intimacy and the expression of one’s tastes – even outdoor spaces inspire emotions, bring back memories and express habits and lifestyles. After enjoying the variety of shapes and colours, the precision of the design and aesthetic appeal of what the district has to offer, you must take the time to treat yourself to a coffee at the wonderful Pasticceria Marchesi, that faithfully reflects its history of tradition, good taste and elegance dating back to 1824, even in the décor.
The old shops also embody the spirit of the residential and elegant district in which the Cerasa flagship store is located: Lorenzi, founded in 1919, which began life as a shop for sharpening and selling knives and now sells perfumes, bathroom toiletries, razors and shaving accessories, and hair brushes and combs. The Casa del bianco, opened in 1940, is run by Paola and Silvia, the third generation producing and selling aprons for nannies and domestic staff, men’s uniforms, lab coats and school smocks, as well as Oxford cotton pyjamas. Bardelli is the family-run business that has represented one of the finest brands for men’s clothing since 1942, from socks to tuxedos, ties to coats, including ready-to-wear or tailor-made suits and jackets. Falliva Panizzi, the goldsmith shop founded in 1949, has specialised from the very start in glamorous jewellery and high-quality gems. On Via San Giovanni sul Muro where the JRK district, with its 6 showrooms, is located, the numerous antique dealers present themselves as shops full of charm, “cabinets of curiosities”, treasure troves of objects that have furnished, embellished, and graced the houses, places of work and studies of well-known families.
Around the corner of Via Brentano, visiting the Church of San Maurizio al Monastero, defined by many as the Sistine Chapel of Milan, is like discovering a hidden treasure. You cannot but be amazed at the sight of the frescoes in the church which was built in 1503 for the cloistered nuns. A curious feature of the building is the partition that divided it in two, preventing the nuns from coming into contact with the local families, with only a grate placed above the altar that allowed them to listen to the same church service. In the nineteenth century, when the convent was closed, the communication doors between the two rooms were opened allowing visitors today to view the entire series of incredible paintings.
If you then stroll along Corso Magenta, you encounter Via Brisa, where the remains of the Palazzo Imperiale are located, built between the 3rd and 4th centuries AD, when Milan became the capital of the Roman Empire. The houses of the Morigi and Gorani families fit seamlessly in with the vestiges of the Roman era. They are fine examples of the recent architectural renovation which has taken place in the heart of the city and its history, featuring white walls among tranquil green areas, around the lovely medieval tower.
Symbolic places with a strong identity, governed by the philosophy of “good living” and an exclusive lifestyle. The indoor and outdoor areas reflect our moods, as does everything related to the furnishing of our homes, showcasing our lives. Taking care of them means looking after ourselves.
Article published in Cerasa Bathroom Stories magazine
Read the pdf here