Louis Vuitton Architecture
Polished stainless steel, wood and cowhide, glass
Inside Milan’s “fashion quad,” on the very central Via Montenapoleone, the Louis Vuitton store reflects the new image concept by the American studio Peter Marino Architects for all the firm’s flagship facilities. Marzorati Ronchetti has produced for Exa the large entrance casement and two complex internal staircases. The latter function both as layout elements and attractions within the overall composition, combining the lightness of glass with mirror-finish stainless steel, teak steps and precious details like the steel strips to prevent slipping on the solid wood treads, and the cowhide used to cover the handrail with an elliptical cross-section. The linear staircase connecting the ground floor to the basement offers a fine view of the two-level space at the center of the store. Its overall lightness is emphasized by the cantilevered steps supported by a central beam clad in polished steel. A parapet in the same material with the same finishes marks, at the landing, the entire perimeter of the stairwell, as a complementary conclusive feature. The second staircase leads from the ground floor to the upper level, with a more complex form of four ramps alternating with landings. This staircase repeats the same materials, finishes and details, emphasizing the perception of the shiny steel that also contains built-in spotlights at certain points, reflecting the surrounding environment in overlaid, fragmented images.