Rinascente womenswear department by Studiopepe

Studiopepe draws on Milanese stations for La Rinascente womenswear department

Design and architecture agency Studiopepe references Milan's offices and metro stations in its revamp of the fourth floor of the city's renowned luxury department store La Rinascente.

The fourth floor, which is home to the store's womenswear department, has been reimagined by the Milanese studio using bold graphic elements and pop colours.

Illuminated display columns with red armchair in Rinascente womenswear department
The interior is dotted with colourful accents including changing rooms encircled in orange curtains (top image) and Rodolfo Bonetto's Boomerang armchair (above)

Studiopepe, founded in Milan in 2006 by Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto, conceived the space as a series of zones subtly organised by functions and visual references.

1980s Milanese workplaces as well as the city's rationalist M1 metro stations – the latter designed in 1964 by Italian architects Franco Albini and Franca Helg – were among the studio's inspirations.

Curved plexiglass shelving displaying trainers on blue carpet in retail interior by Studiopepe
A system of curved plexiglass shelving meanders through the womenswear department

"The use of graphic elements and pop tones echoing Milan street style convey a new genderless approach to retail design," explained the studio.

"Colour is conceived as an architectural tool – an intense emerald green, silver and black create an unusual palette animated by hints of coral and bright yellow tones."

Overview of La Rinascente womenswear department with blue carpet and grey displays
The department is accessed via a bright yellow staircase

The steel tubes – which are used to clad display columns and create table legs – are a direct reference to the city's underground stations.

Materials such as satin steel, plexiglass and terrazzo are paired with experimental materials with contrasting textures such as Silipol – a material which was originally selected by Albini and Helg to cover the Metro stations' walls; Alusion, the stabilised aluminium foam that is used to clad the city's Fondazione Prada; and Milleform, a bio-based cotton acoustic tile.

To create a domestic feel, the space is furnished with a mix of bespoke rounded furniture and display cabinets, as well as classic design pieces like the Boomerang armchair by Rodolfo Bonetto.

Curved satin plexiglass shelving systems that display the store's trainer offering also serve as space dividers.

The department's distinctive circular changing rooms are enclosed in orange curtains made from structured leather – a feature that Studiopepe said nods to the textile folding doors often used by Italian architect Gio Ponti.

Turquoise stone table and upholstered pouf in retail interior by Studiopepe
Studiopepe used contrasting textures throughout the interior

A previous incarnation of La Rinascente's fourth-floor womenswear department was designed by Japanese studio Nendo. Designed in 2013, the studio drew upon architectural elements observed while exploring Milan, to create a calming, neutral space.

The studio said that it was "inspired by the unexpected encounters with shop windows, courtyard gardens and public squares that come from wandering Milan's back streets".

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Rinascente womenswear department by Studiopepe
Rinascente womenswear department by Studiopepe
Rinascente womenswear department by Studiopepe