As a response to the disappearance of libraries and cultural facilities, Gogol & Company became a café, a co-working space, and an art gallery
Gogol & Company, a two-story independent bookshop in central Milan, was founded in 2010 by Tosca Bua and Danilo Dajelli. The two-story bookshop is located in the area where Tosca was born and raised. Giambellino is a gentrified neighborhood that gave the two founders the stimulus to create a recognizable space that could become a social and cultural catalyst for the local community.
The idea of aggregation that lies at its base is what conquered locals and reading enthusiasts. The objective of the two founding members was to create a place that encouraged exchanging and learning: Gogol & Company does not only function as a bookshop, but also as a café, a co-working space, and an exhibition venue.
«It was necessary to distinguish ourselves from other realities and to find new ways of promoting literature. We chose the strategy of inviting guests to stop by and slow down for some time,» Tosca explains. This idea of identity and hospitality, the pillar of Gogol & Company, has allowed the independent bookshop to attract readers and develop a connection with them, compelling them to come back.
The personality of the store was settled with the choice of its name. Anyone who has been to Paris will surely have heard of Shakespeare & Company, the memorable independent bookshop that has hosted writers of the caliber of Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Gogol & Company pays homage to the Parisian bookshop, as well as to the two partners’ passion for the writings of Russian author Nikolaj Gogol and the music of the American band Gogol Bordello.
Among the events promoted by the bookshop are artistic and photographic exhibitions, as well as presentations and conferences with authors. As the founders explain, Gogol & Company hosts projects in which artistic creation becomes a tool for observing the present and proposing new visions of reality. Despite a predilection for photography and illustration, Gogol &Company is convinced that art deserves to be promoted in each and any of its incarnations, as long as it integrates different languages, being therefore able to excite and communicate with the entire community.
This logic applies to literature-related events as well. The selection have always been dictated by the preferences of staff members – this should not be seen as a limitation of what guests can learn, but rather as an attempt to promote the diffusion of culture while ensuring staff members genuinely appreciate and support the material presented. «We have had the luck of working with people with different skills and souls, placing them in a situation where they had the freedom to experiment and make suggestions. Their proposals widened our universe of taste and references».
According to Tosca, each reader has two souls. There are those who wait for the right book to call for them and there are those who, instead, ask for advice. «We are an independent bookshop. Our staff members take care of selecting and suggesting books – every corner is dedicated to a different publisher, and we are in direct conversation with each one of them», their manifesto declares.
The gradual disappearance of social centers, libraries, and cultural facilities in the Giambellino area created the need for a gathering place. The introduction a co-working space was therefore a natural decision to take.
At Gogol & Company Milan, guests can sit down on the second floor to study or work on their laptop, sharing thoughts with their armchair neighbor and enjoying a coffee and bagel during breaks. «Some people spend the entire day in our bookshop – we want to believe that demonstrates how well we cater to our guests» Tosca comments.