Milano Home presents “Manifatture in Scena”, a thematic and cultural showcase featuring outstanding products from the porcelain, silver, crystal and glass sectors. Here we talk about it with the creator and curator, architect Ulderico Lepreri
Manifatture in Scena is the brainchild of Ulderico Lepreri, an expert architect and connoisseur of the Table Art, who curated the project and artistic direction. An exhibition space that brings together European manufacturing excellence in the porcelain, silver, crystal and glass sectors, recounting their origins and development through time. The most representative brands will showcase collections ranging from traditional to contemporary design.
The Manifatture in Scena area will feature some of the most prestigious brands that have marked the history of Table Art over the centuries: Meissen 1710, the oldest and most renowned German porcelain manufacturer; Moser 1857, whose origins date back to the Habsburg Empire, known worldwide for its handcrafted Bohemian crystal; Lalique 1888, a French manufacturer renowned for its precious collections of crystal furnishing objects; Venini 1921, a prestigious Murano glassworks where artists and master glassmakers give life to unique works of design; Haviland & C.Parlon 1842, a well-known French porcelain brand from Limoges; Royal Copenhagen 1775, a Danish brand founded under the name Regia Fabbrica di Porcellana; Rogaska, one of Europe's oldest and most prestigious crystal manufactures, located in the spa town of Rogaska Slatina; Cesa 1882, a historic Italian silverware factory that created the “Quirinale” cutlery service, still used today for state dinners at the Residence of the President of the Italian Republic. Greggio 1948, silverware featured on the finest Italian tables; Ricci Argentieri 1927, Italy's leading silverware and giftware manufacturer.
We met with architect Ulderico Lepreri in his Studio Ulderico Lepreri Design Project in Milan to ask him about the qualitative edge that characterises and continues to characterise his firm's way of working.
Lepreri's career began in 1990 with the design and construction of sales outlets for the jewellery and giftware sector for the best Italian and foreign brands. Since 2005, he has extended his practice to the design of shopping and business centres, overseeing all phases of the layout: from the supervision of works to the coordination of plant engineering and town planning, specialising in the redevelopment of disused industrial buildings. Architect Lepreri has designed more than 250 shops all over Italy for luxury brands, inside prestigious period buildings as well as in new locations or shopping centres. In 1994 he also began designing and curating exhibitions for the porcelain, crystal and silverware sector of the Table Art, working with the most prestigious manufacturers and companies including Baccarat, Herend, Meissen, Lalique, Moser, Hermès, Crystal Saint Louis, Wedgwood, Haviland & C. Parlon, Ginori 1735, Seguso Viro, Rosenthal, Sambonet, Daum, Vista Alegre, NasonMoretti. The most important cultural exhibitions designed and curated by him have been Tavole e Favole, Le Tavole Verdiane, Incontri a Tavola, Le Tavole della Storia and ARTInTAVOLA, held over the years in prestigious locations both in Italy and abroad. Refined and welcoming, the projects created are tailored to the client's requirements and designed to respect and enhance the pre-existing building structures which, in some cases, correspond to villas and ancient prestigious palaces. In addition to the interior design project, Lepreri is often called upon to undertake global renovation projects, which also include architectural restoration and typological restoration of the building.
This is a summary of the qualitative advantage of his firm's way of working, which can offer its clients a complete package: the complete architectural project, the conception of the furnishings, the design of the installations, the coordination and control of the project, consulting on Visual Merchandising and integrated communication.
Tradition and innovation, craftsmanship and eco-sustainability. How do these elements come together in everyday life?
“Combining display spaces and merchandising requirements with the need for beauty and harmony. Sequences of habitats that allow the sales outlet to become the place par excellence, where it is possible to find environments also dedicated to sensorial perceptiveness that translate into emotional spaces. The projects are designed to recreate micro architectures with a strong emotional value, steeped in historical and symbolic roots, within the spatial enclosure. The design philosophy is far-reaching. Free areas dominate, routes are marked out by curved lines that never meet, never close in circles but form sinuous vibrant waves with the intention of harmonising jewellery, watchmaking and giftware in a single project. These are organic spaces that recall the forms of nature, its colours, its lymph of life. A succession of open spaces, perspective portals, vaults, arches, ellipses and sinusoids, quintessential architectural compositions, referring to the history of architectural criticism and literature, where art, nature and alchemy come together to create attainable emotions”.
What aspects need to be considered to enhance the best-known brands in the luxury sector and, in general, how is the retail world evolving?
“To enhance brands, one has to, besides thematic storytelling in clearly identifiable areas, convey them in an immersive experience through high-impact optical and projective applications. Retail is the basis of civilisation, it is a mirror of its vitality and culture. The experience one has in a retail space is one that goes beyond mere shopping: it triggers emotions, the lived and unspoken values of the people who work and spend time there. The themes are design, social and also economic. We must hold firm to the parameters that represent the very essence of architecture: the definition with the utmost care of all the items that contribute to the formal environmental quality (interior design) and technical quality (acoustics and lighting).
Commercial spaces are thus progressively being redeveloped, becoming smaller and accommodating new operators, incorporating the digital world, catering, and adding services and consumer possibilities within them; they are warmer, more attractive, more varied. The appeal lies in all spaces, which are increasingly characterised as experiential places. Therefore, the complexity layers have increased at the design level, the challenge is greater and more stimulating. The experience must be imbued with authentic and genuine meaning, transcending aesthetics: a well-designed space welcomes people, rituals and cultures to build, enrich and encourage new ways of purchasing”.
Ulderico Lepreri's research thereby confirms the complexity of the design of retail spaces driven by architectural, urban planning and spatial and social integration criteria, and by the decisive public and identity significance of the new commercial centres and territorial and urban dynamics.