Lonely Planet Writer

A 16th-century monastery is home to a design space in Milan

From the outside there’s nothing but an unassuming black door. Step inside its charming courtyard of wicker chairs, tropical plants and twisting vines, and you’ve discovered a piece of old Milan. This is the city’s elegant new design space Six, a gallery, florist and bistro that seamlessly combines the old and the new.

Six is Milan's elegant new design space
Six: Milan’s hidden design space in an abandoned monastery. Image courtesy of Six Image by Six

Brainchild of entrepreneur Mauro Orlandelli, the project has involved the collaborated efforts of art director Samuele Savio, and the architects David Lopez Quincoces and Fanny Bauer Grung. Together they’ve breathed life into what was once an abandoned 16th-century monastery.

According to Bauer Grung ‘We wanted everything, from the furniture to the plants, to look like they had been here forever’. To this end they’ve retained many of the building’s original features, such as the parquet floor, arched windows and underlying brick, matching these elements with muted colours and soft industrial touches.

Six is located in an abandoned 16th-century monastery
Six: Milan’s hidden jewel at the heart of the Italian city. Image courtesy of Six Image by Six

Built around a sun-filled courtyard the centrepiece of this space is its gallery. Curated by Quincoces and Bauer Grung, it has a unique mix of both collectible items by the likes of Gió Ponti and Le Corbusier, along with vintage pieces by unknown designers.

The gallery is flanked on both sides with a bistro offering simple seasonal food, and a green design store by Irene Cuzzaniti, who’s responsible for the artful green touches throughout.

Six: a hidden jewel in the centre of Milan
Abandoned monastery converted into an elegant design space in Milan. Image courtesy of Six. Image by Six

Featured this April in the Fuorisalone design festival, the space has been officially open to the public since September and adds another great design haunt to the city’s growing list.

By Stephanie Ong