Wes Anderson designs Milanese café for Prada

May 15, 2015

Conceptual director Wes Anderson has exclusively designed a cafe for Prada’s new art and culture complex, Fondazione Prada. The result is a nostalgic space reminiscent of his famed film sets.

Above image via, Article by ADR contributor, Rhys Duncan.

With the recent unveiling of Bar Luce in Milan,Wes Anderson, an auteur most recently awarded for his film The Grand Budapest Hotel, can now add interior designer to his already impressive list of credits. The thoroughly detailed bar was designed exclusively by Wes Anderson for Prada’s new art and culture complex Fondazione Prada.

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This venue is the embodiment of Wes Anderson’s aesthetic, sure to captivate fans and bring the director’s unique style to an even wider audience. Anderson’s highly conceptual direction centres on immaculately stylised production design, and an intricate visual language has become his trademark.

The Grand Budapest won the Academy Award for best costume design at this year’s Oscars, and the design of set and costume is indeed a strong storytelling device in Anderson’s films. The Grand Budapest had a vivid colour palette of rich reds, purples and sugary pastels. Nostalgia informs a great deal of Anderson’s work, with his films demonstrating his fondness of past eras and cultures. His films take place in, or harken back to, eras prior to the present day.

The elements that make a Wes Anderson film instantly recognisable are also what make Bar Luce distinctly Wes Anderson-esque.

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Bar Luce is modelled after a ‘typical Milanese café’. Being a Wes Anderson project, however, that typical café is far from typical. Transporting visitors to a bygone era, pastel sage counters sit against pale pink trompe l’oeil wallpaper and dark stained wood panelling. Anderson’s penchant for rich, patterned wall treatments as a backdrop comes to the fore here, as in the various rooms of the Tenenbaum manor in The Royal Tenenbaums, or the colourful train carriages in The Darjeeling Limited.

Loose furniture comes in the form of mid-century dining chairs, cubic upholstered seating and formica tables. These are imbued with a muted palette reminiscent of Italian popular culture and aesthetics of the 1950s and 60s: a golden era of Italian cinema long admired by Anderson. The cafe also has two pinball machines, one based on his film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, a retro jukebox and a beautiful bar.

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Despite Bar Luce being created in the perfect likeness of an Anderson film set, the director’s first foray into hospitality design is built for real life. “I tried to make it a bar I would want to spend my own non-fictional afternoons in,” Anderson says.

In a space filled with the director’s iconic style, retro décor and twee furnishings, Bar Luce invites visiting fans to imagine that they are an extra on set, or perhaps a character with a starring role in the whimsical world of Anderson’s flamboyant films.

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