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Galleria Vik, Milan. Design hospitality in the city’s living room

In addition to being the Vik Retreats’ first location in all of Europe, Galleria Vik Milan is also their first art hotel and the first that is located in an urban city, right in the center of the Lombard capital

353 tons of steel overhang the 4,165 meters of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which connects Milan’s Piazza del Duomo to its Piazza della Scala. Since its inauguration in 1877, the neo-Renaissance-style structure designed by architect Emiliano Giuseppe Mengoni has become a meeting place for the Milanese bourgeoisie; Gucci, Versace, Prada, Louis Vuitton all have boutiques here. 

On the west part of what is often referred to as Milan’s Salotto — or its living room — is Galleria Vik Milan, the hotel that is curated as an art group show. Home to eighty-nine rooms across five floors for a total of about 15,000 square meters, each is interpreted by a different artist.

Often replicated for its symbolic value, a copy of Rodin’s The Thinker welcomes the visitor in the reception, whose walls, as well as the ceiling, are covered with a fresco by the Italian artist Alex Folla — an artist born in 1980 and originally from the Milanese town of Oggiono— with eight mythological figures to support the world. 

The building had already been home to a luxury hotel, The Seven Star, which had 58 suites and was owned by the Italian entrepreneur Alessandro Rosso who had enlarged and restored it over more than ten years.

In 2017, the exclusive location was taken over by Alexander Vik, a Swedish businessman known for his Vodka brand — Christiania Vodka — which is produced in the Arcus Norwegian distillery. Active for over 200 years, the brand relies on two primary ingredients, the organic Trondelag potato, grown near the Arctic circle, and pure Norwegian water from the Jostedal glacier, following an over-400-year recipe from the court of the King of Norway.

Along with his wife Carrie, Alexander Vik is the owner of Vik Retreats, a collection of private huts designed for travelers looking for an exclusive experience. The Uruguayan residences Estancia Vik José Ignacio, Playa Vik José Ignacio, and Bahia Vik José Ignacio, as well as the Chilean Vik Chile and Puro Vik, all make part of the group. All the boutique hotels are located within nature in one way or another and are built and furnished in a style that pushes for harmony with the surrounding environment.

In addition to being the group’s first location in all of Europe, Galleria Vik is also their first art hotel and the first that is located in an urban city, right in the center of the Lombard capital. As with all the other locations of the Vik Retreats group, the restoration of the building adjacent to the gallery was entrusted to the Uruguayan architect Marcelo Daglio. 

The interiors were redesigned and each space was curated individually. Handmade murals and frescoes in the rooms and corridors are the backdrops for an international art collection and a selection of contemporary, vintage and antique pieces — including works by Gio Ponti, Franco Albini, and Ico Parisi. 

There are no televisions in the rooms, which are instead available only by request in order to avoid distracting guests from the full experience of the location. Among the international creatives on view are Liu Bolin, John Lennon’s son Julian, the Polish photographer Szymon Brodziak, Dubossarsky & Vinogradov, Nina Surel, Felipe Cardeña, Tomoko Nagao, and many names of contemporary Uruguayan and South American painting such as Vicky Barranguet who took on the design of the corridor on the second floor and of Room 209, as well as Eduardo Cardozo, Fernando López Lage, and Rita Fischer. 

Additionally on view are sixty Italian artists from all sorts of realms: Mario Schifano — father of Italian pop — Pino Pinelli, abstractionist — Marcello Jori, multifaceted and author of cult books. And then, exponents of Milanese painting (Aldo Damioli, Alessandro Papetti, Marco Petrus, Giovanni Frangi, Alessandro Busci, and Andrea Zucchi), protagonists of the new abstractionism (Marco Casentini, Matteo Negri, Carla Mura), sculptors (Pino Deodato, Adriano Pompe, and Paolo Cassarà) and photographers (Matteo Basilé, Antonio Guccione).

On the ground floor is the inhouse restaurant, Vikissimo, which overlooks the central octagon of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It is here that gastronomy by Uruguayan Executive Chef German Bentancur presents South American options that meet Italian cuisine. Inside Vikissimo are custom-made items such as the tables with marble tops by Antolini — none the exact same — the Knoll sofas in Diva fabric, and the Calligaris seats covered with custom fabrics.

Also at Galleria Vik Milan are the VIK wines from vineyards that are owned by the Norwegian entrepreneur, which are produced in Chile and included in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines; a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. 


Via Silvio Pellico 8

Milan, Italy

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