Milan is dismissed by some for being too industrial and too grey, but they’re missing out on its beautiful architecture, design, and of course, fashion – as our Milan design guide will show. This is a city where traditional design rubs shoulders with new artist complexes and galleries, where chefs are celebrating Lombarian cuisine in new and exciting ways, and where cutting-edge fashion will always have its home.
Milan Architectural Design
No Milan design guide would be complete without mentioning the Bosco Verticale – or vertical forest. You can see and learn about its development on our Milan Bike Tour or Milan Futuristic City Tour. These two residential towers contain more than 900 trees on their balconies and terraces, giving the impression of a living forest growing upwards and towering over the city. The trees create a spectacular scene, particularly in spring and summer when they flower, and in the autumn when the colors change.
The Monumental Cemetery shows the dedication the Milanese have towards design, even in death. The main entrance is a work of art in itself, hewn from marble and stone. Some of the monuments and tombs housed in the cemetery are extremely impressive, ranging from Greek-style temples to classical Italian statues. You’ll find some of Milan’s most famous painters, artists, industrialists, and composers buried here.
Milan Bar and Restaurant Design
Drink – Frida Bar
Frida Bar, one of the best bars in Milan, is housed in an old warehouse in the trendy Isola district of Milan. Its beautiful courtyard is covered from floor to ceiling in plants and is a great place to while away a couple of hours over the bar’s signature cocktail list. This is a multi-purpose space complete with temporary pop-up shops that sell everything from art to fashion to jewelry.
Eat – Nebbia
In the canal side Navigli district lies the bright modern space of Nebbia. The small but always-changing seasonal menu is executed with elegance and passion. There is a short but excellent wine list specializing in natural wines from small producers. A relative newcomer to Milan’s burgeoning quality food scene, Nebbia is already making waves across the city.
If you want the hard work taken out of choosing where to eat and drink, our Milan Food Tasting Tour will give you access to some of the best Milanese food, including trying traditional risotto in one of Milan’s most famous restaurants.
Design Hotels in Milan
Bulgari Hotel, Milan
An exquisitely decorated hotel in the center of Milan, the Bulgari Hotel is a luxurious hotel option and one of the best examples of Milan’s interior design. The interiors are modern and sleek with high ceilings and balconies overlooking the hotel gardens. You can also relax in the spa and pool or hit the gym after a day’s sightseeing.
Via Privata Fratelli Gabba 7b, Brera, Milan
Armani Hotel, Milan
If you’re staying in Europe’s fashion epicenter, the Armani Hotel makes a rather fitting stay. Nominated as one of the most beautifully designed hotels in Italy, it’s an incredibly popular accommodation choice. A personal lifestyle manager who is responsible for your well-being during your stay will take you to your room. The rooms, complete with iPads and a free minibar, are large and decorated in minimal dark tones. The site’s spa and gym add that extra bit of decadence.
Via Manzoni 31 Brera – Montenapoleone, Milan
Elizabeth Lifestyle, Milan
The clean lines and striking colors of the Elizabeth Lifestyle Hotel make it a perfect stay for any design aficionado. This centrally located hotel makes a wonderful base for touring, especially for those staying no more than 2 days in Milan. Make sure to have breakfast in the peaceful and beautiful surrounding gardens.
Corso Italia, 11, Sant’ambrogio, Milan
Milan Store Design
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
This gloriously decadent shopping arcade is one of the reasons Milan has become known as a world fashion capital. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is Italy’s oldest shopping mall and is a mecca for fashionistas across the world for its boutique stores and designer shops, some of which are the oldest in Milan. When visiting the Galleria, perhaps as part of our insider Milan city tour or our Fashion Streets in Milan Tour, don’t forget to indulge in an old tradition. If you want good luck, spin your right heel three times, counter-clockwise on the groin of the bull mural on the ground floor.
The Quadrilatero d’Oro – or Golden Triangle – is probably the most famous shopping area in the world. This Milan Shopping complex is home to some of the most famous names in fashion. This is also the place to come if you’re looking for less famous but equally excellent names. There are strings of independent boutiques in this area where you can buy clothes and accessories from emerging designers.
Milan And Design Go Hand In Hand
If you’re interested in design, it would be almost unthinkable to visit Italy and not come to Milan. Style and art course through the veins of this city. If you’re not sure where to start, begin by checking out our ultimate Milan guide, and getting your bearings with our informative map of Milan. Next, browse our list of top things to do in Milan, and our recommendations for where to stay in Milan. Lastly, browse through our wide range of Milan tours which will all show you the best aspects of this beautiful city.
Has Milan’s breathtaking design left you wanting more? Head from Milan to Verona, Rome, Florence, or Venice where visual delights lurk around every corner. Don’t believe us? Get a sneak peek with our Rome and Florence Design Guides.