Mark Byrnes is a former senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
Bar Luce in Milan brings the filmmaker’s quirky fantasy world to life.
Wes Anderson’s fantasy world has come to life, and its name is Bar Luce.
The master of nostalgia-quirk is behind the look of Milan’s newest cafe, which opens this weekend. Attached to the Fondazione Prada, the filmmaker says Bar Luce’s design is meant to echo an “old-school Milanese café,” and is filled with influences from the city it sits in.
Part of a former distillery in the city’s Largo Isarco neighborhood, the early 20th century complex has been redesigned by OMA as the cultural center’s new home. In Anderson’s cafe, details from the original building can still be seen, including an arched ceiling with wall decorations that resemble a mini Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. The furniture, floors, wood paneling, and color palette all harken back to mid century Italy—an era Anderson has long admired.
Two Italian Neorealist films, Miracle in Milan (1951) and Rocco and His Brothers (1960), are cited in a press release as major influences behind Bar Luce’s look and feel. Both set in Milan, their style and representation of the city helped form Anderson’s concept.
Prada has teamed up with Anderson before, creating the 2013 short film Castello Cavalcanti, in which Jason Schwartzman plays an American race-car driver who crashes his car in the small Italian town his ancestors came from. Not surprisingly, it takes place in 1950s Italy.
The entire Fondazione Prada, including Bar Luce, opens Saturday. That means after looking at a bunch of art, you can take your dolce far niente lifestyle to another level with a Negroni and some Steve Zissou pinball.