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VIPP PALAZZO MONTI

Vipp Transforms the Palazzo Monti into a Pop-Up Hotel in time for Milan Design Week

On April 18, coinciding with Milan’s Salone del Mobile, leading family-owned Danish design company Vipp will open the doors to a 13th-century Italian Palazzo turned pop-up hotel. Located in Brescia, a notable meeting point between Milan and Verona, Palazzo Monti is named after founder, art collector, and curator Edoardo Monti. It offers an artist haven for its premier residency program and its flourishing exhibition space, spotlighting transient shows as well as a dynamic, permanent private collection. In an imaginative fusion of contemporary design, hospitality, and art, interior designer Julie Cloos Mølsgaard transformed the historic palace into a luxurious abode of peace, comfort, and elegance. Vipp Palazzo Monti marks the 7th hotel in the company’s collaborative, artistic endeavor to welcome guests inside architectural treasures for a singular hotel experience. 

Upon entering the gates of the Palazzo, visitors are greeted by a grand staircase surrounded by ethereal, pastel frescos from 1750. A sweeping kitchen and dining space on the ground floor dazzles with a matte black Vipp island atop locally crafted jade tilework; precise green details are echoed throughout the revisioned Palazzo as an ode to the region’s iconic style of the 1600s. An abstract, tactile artwork of burnt sienna, jade, and cream serves as a dramatic backdrop for cozy breakfasts, lively cocktails, and romantic dinners alike. 

VIPP PALAZZO MONTI Photo by Irina Boersma César Machado, courtesy of Vipp.

The Vipp Hotel immerses the first floor in a pleasing juxtaposition of sleek, Scandinavian minimalism and baroque, Italian maximalism. A salon, hallway, and bedroom suite—complete with a modern bathroom—are embellished with Vipp’s own streamlined furniture; decadent couches, pillows, and chairs are dressed in inviting earth tones and organic patterns reflective of nature’s beauty, and the ceiling’s amorous frescoes. Whitewall had the opportunity to speak to Vipp, Mølsgaard, and Monti about the precious sharing of tradition, artistry, time, and the serendipitous cup of divine Italian espresso. 

WHITEWALL: What was the inception of this collaboration between Palazzo Monti and Vipp? 

VIPP: The collaboration came from a Vipp Supper Club hosted together with Italian former Noma chef Riccardo Canella in Copenhagen a couple of years ago. Riccardo is a good friend of Edoardo, he made the introduction because he thought there was potential for a good collaboration for a supper club—which then turned out as a pop-up hotel. A small delegation consisting of Julie and Christina Hinding, Vipp Communications & Concept Manager, traveled to Brescia to meet Edoardo and see the Palazzo. We were blown away by the Palazzo’s beauty and Brescia’s offerings—a town none had heard of before—that turned out to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

WW: Can you let us in on a few your early conversations surrounding the meeting of Scandinavian minimalism and Italian maximalism? 

VIPP: When Julie and Christina first saw the Palazzo, their curiosity was instantly sparked. They knew that this could turn out to become something really special—and a completely different and new direction for Vipp. It’s the Danish design brand’s “South European debut,” and in a way it was needed—it was an eye-opener. It’s not new to Vipp to engage with architecture. We already have a Shelter, a Loft, and a Farmhouse. But the Palazzo is new.

The Farmhouse dates back to the 18th century and is also old, so we know the potential in creating an interesting dialogue between old and new. The Palazzo is stunning and we could see that it would complement the simple, timeless design from Scandinavia. An Italian space with Danish design…it’s super interesting and just turned out to work very well.

VIPP PALAZZO MONTI Photo by Irina Boersma César Machado, courtesy of Vipp.

WW: How do the two distinct styles work so seamlessly together? 

VIPP: They make each other pop. If we’d put the furniture and styling into a white room, it would look very Scandinavian. But at the Palazzo, you can really see that we are in Italy. Also, opposites attract in this case—which might be surprising. You’d probably expect to see a Palazzo dressed in a baroque style; you wouldn’t expect to see it filled with industrial modernism. So there you have your moment of surprise. The limited edition Vipp Monti Swivel chair is an obvious example of this, with its Italian textile from Torre Lana and sleek steel frame—magic simply appears.

WW: Edoardo, as an art collector and curator who has studied, worked, and lived across the globe, what long-standing creative influences have you gathered along your journey? 

EDOARDO MONTI: The more I travel, the more I want to travel, but also I appreciate what’s available around me when I’m at home. Being so involved in the production process of the artists in residency, I have had to do a lot of research across multiple different mediums in order to find the best artisans that would work with marble, textiles, bronze, and so on. What surprises me every day is that Italy still has a never-ending amount of fantastic craftsmanship. 

Working as a curator, sometimes you have to negotiate between the artists’s requests and the artisans’s feedback—which should sometimes be challenged in order for them to get out of their comfort zones. But oftentimes it is respected because chances are they know more than the artists themselves. We don’t often stop and think that the vast majority of art we enjoy every day has been created with the support of several other people, and having access to the best creatives that can support other creatives is the key to a successful artist residency.

VIPP PALAZZO MONTI Photo by Irina Boersma César Machado, courtesy of Vipp.

WW: In turn, what has your process been like, continually designing the one-of-a-kind environment of the Palazzo while staying true to its roots? 

EM: The Palazzo evolves on a monthly basis. Since the launch of the residency in 2017, the space has been evolving both under my direction with design pieces, acquisitions, or commissions and renovations, and both thanks to designers and residents that leave a trace behind. Several designers, including Sabine Marcelis and SoftBaroque, have created pieces for the palazzo during their stay, participating in the change of spaces and vibe without much of my control—and the result is beautiful. The core building and its features are so strong that they manage to survive and be present throughout this process. Our private collection is made up of some 400 artworks, which are constantly reinstalled throughout the three floors, contributing to this organic evolution and revolution.

WW: Julie, as an interior designer, movie producer, and scenic director with experience working alongside international creatives, what kind of cinematic-like story are you enveloping guests within at the re-envisioned Palazzo? 

JULIE CLOOS MØLSGAARD: Like a church, you are met by grandiosity when you enter Palazzo Monti. Everywhere you look there are little tales that follow you everywhere in the shape of the frescoes in the ceilings. Guests who will stay here might be the only ones checking in, but they are not alone. They have frescoes. And then of course there are the artists in residency living there as well as Edoardo, who you might be lucky to meet over an espresso in the shared kitchen.

VIPP PALAZZO MONTI Photo by Irina Boersma César Machado, courtesy of Vipp.

WW: In what ways do deep-rooted cultural heritage and tradition, as well as modernity, come into play in your respective works? 

JCM: We deliberately chose not to cover up any of the beautiful walls with art or other elements, since they are an element in their own right. We wanted to respect the existing and keep a balance between old and new—and thereby create something magical. We’ve worked to create a contemporary look of timeless modernity and to avoid anything trendy. Like Palazzo Monti, we wanted to create something that can live for a very long time.

WW: How is this most apparent in the textures and tones of the Palazzo? 

JCM: The textures and tones of the Palazzo have not been changed. The only changes are the addition of furniture and small items. So in a way, you could say that we celebrate the ancient walls and modern spirit.

WW: Eduardo, your residency program hosts a diverse array of international artists, graciously allowing them to both live and create in the soulful Palazzo. With your inspiring new collaboration with Vipp, how do you hope guests will interact with the magnificent yet warm spaces and the beckoning Italian landscape, as well as with the three current artists?

EM: The Palazzo offers both private and public spaces accessible to both residents, our team, guests, and visitors. It’s a rather unique feature for a resident seat to have accommodation, studios, exhibition spaces, and communal spaces all within the same premises. Guests will have the chance to bump into artists during breakfast, coffee in the kitchen, or visit them in the studio later on during the day. There won’t be any set schedule, but we will embrace serendipity, which is an approach that I’m sure will create beautiful connections. 

VIPP PALAZZO MONTI Photo by Irina Boersma César Machado, courtesy of Vipp.

WW: Julie, how does your poetic collaging of juxtaposed materials—soft and rough, lucid and translucent—echo the lush frescoes within the Palazzo as well as the historic osterias, scenic streets, and natural wonders outside of the palace?

JCM: The Vipp Monti Swivel chair is a perfect example, born out of the frescoes of the Palazzo, weaving together Scandinavian minimalism with Baroque maximalism. The limited-edition chair has an industrial polished frame with slender armrests and a four-legged swivel base on floor gliders. It is upholstered in a carefully selected and rich textile woven in Italy by the renowned textile company Torri Lana. Synonymous with extraordinary craftsmanship and a unique heritage honed since 1885, Torri Lana has brought back from its historic gems a textile of cotton Chenille and linen Frisée first woven by the company in the early eighties by Jole Gandolini. Still woven in the green textile valley of Bergamo, the organic green and beige waves echo the mountainous landscape of the Lombardy region in northern Italy.

WW: What is most significant about the hotel’s opening on the occasion of Salone de Mobile, a global celebration of design?

VIPP: The Design Week in Milan is a fantastic occasion to play with and explore innovation and design. In this context, Scandinavian minimalism and Baroque maximalism have an appeal that is exciting to put on display.

WW: What are each of your favorite pieces within the collaboration?

EM: I love the beautiful contrast between Nordic simplicity and Italian 1700s extremisms—a perfect balance and a stunning visual result!

JCM: The Vipp Swivel chair Monti edition is my favorite piece, as well as the Vipp Cabin round table with its marble top sourced locally.

VIPP PALAZZO MONTI Photo by Irina Boersma César Machado, courtesy of Vipp.

WW: What aspects of this dynamic experience will you take with you onto future projects?

EM: Go big or go home!  We often focus too little on great projects, with our desire to always move on to the next. With VIPP we have worked on this project for a long time and explored all angles we could collaborate on—the results of this experience are coming through and they are super rewarding! 

VIPP: We would like to dive into, explore, and work with the contrasts that create a sense of dynamics, and explore new styles in the future.  

VIPP PALAZZO MONTI Photo by Irina Boersma César Machado, courtesy of Vipp.

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