“There is nothing dustier than a conventional lighting and furniture showroom,” says Tom Dixon. So at Milan Design Week 2019, he opens The Manzoni, a 100-pax restaurant that will be his permanent base in mainland Europe.
April 12th, 2019
He’s taken over an abandoned cinema, opened a pop-up restaurant, and even designed his own multiplex – Tom Dixon‘s showing had always been one of the highlights of Milan Design Week. His absence was felt last year. This year, he returns with The Manzoni, a 100-pax restaurant five-minute-walk north of the Duomo.
The Manzoni is not an elaborate temporary concept that will be packed away after the design week.
“We wanted to look at different ways of being present in Milan. After years of doing five-day exhibitions in Milan, we finally decided that we had enough of putting such huge energy into pop-up interventions,” says Dixon. “We need a place where people slow down and experience our products in a live setting.”
The Manzoni, he shares, is a “big scheme” to avoid having a conventional showroom.“There is nothing dustier than a conventional lighting and furniture showroom. But with The Manzoni, people are able to experience our new collections in an active context,” he adds.
The Manzoni serves lunch, afternoon tea and dinner in various settings furnished with Tom Dixon latest. The dining room is decked with custom cork tables and the Fat chairs, the brand’s new upholstery chair range that is designed to hug the body and allows for multiple sitting positions.
“And for once, we have some lights that are really really bright and illuminating, creating this very monastic and minimal atmosphere,” he adds, referring to a series of translucent Opal lights, another new product arranged on, around, and above the dining tables like a string of lustrous pearls.
The interior goes large on materiality. The bar is chiselled from granite, the serving boards are made with marble offcuts mined from Verona while the artworks are made from patented paper-based solid surface Paper Factor.
Dining during Milan Design Week is by strictly invite only, but the restaurant’s Jungle – a shop area featuring lush plants, stainless steel lights Spring, Fatstools and marble table Primavera – and the showroom area are open to the public from 11 am to 6 pm.
The Manzoni will be closed after Milan Design Week and reopened to the public in May. It will be Tom Dixon’s permanent base in mainland Europe – a sensible strategy to counter the uncertainty of Brexit.
Why a restaurant and why in Milan? “In the world where everybody has a short attention span, food is one of the few things that can slow people down,” shares Dixon. And it was in Milan that he first learned of the connection between food, design and business. “I have observed that all the best decisions are made over lunch or dinner,” he quips.
For more updates from the streets of Salone del Mobile, follow along at #MilanIndesign2019.
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