parisotto + formenton realize nespresso’s first italian flagship store in milan




the first nespresso flagship store in italy marks the swiss company’s adventure into the country 15 years ago when it opened a boutique in milan’s piazza san babila. realized by parisotto + formenton, responsible for many of the brand’s retail shops, boutiques and cafés across the globe, the nespresso flagship store in milan is not an accident. its presence recognizes the city as a capital of design and fashion, and economic center of italy.

parisotto formenton nespresso flagship store milan designboom
view to the second floor mezzanine
image © designboom




the retail space places the customer at the center of its design, realized to provide quick and efficient service. envisioned in the format of a boutique, the scheme is distributed over four floors, each of which serve a different purpose. as one enters from piazza del liberty, they are met by the monolithic central signature table to the left where they can discover important nespresso news, as well as a tasting area dedicated exclusively to the testing of grand cru. this level also features an automated purchasing / self-service area where you can choose your preferred capsules and check-out on your own; as well as pick-up products that you may have ordered online or by phone.

view from the entrance on piazza del liberty




on the first floor, you will find the ‘atelier expert’ area that is dedicated to workshops and special tastings; as well as ‘at your service’, where nespresso technicians are on hand to assist with customer care services before and after sales. here you will find another grand cru area where nespresso coffee specialists are on hand to accompany and advise customers on their purchases. the second level mezzanine is home to the ‘machine gallery’, where nespresso’s line of appliances are on display. the top floor is reserved for meetings and showcases machines that are dedicated to business solutions and more commercial applications.

grand cru area puts nespresso’s product on display in an artistic way
image © designboom




to add to the atmosphere, a light scent of coffee is periodically released into the air, offering a calm aromatic smell throughout the interior. designboom interviewed aldo parisotto of parisotto + formenton during the opening of the milan flagship to get more insights about the studio’s on-going collaboration with nespresso, and what they wanted to achieve with this retail space. 

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the self-service area where customers can purchase and check-out on their own
image © designboom




designboom: how did your collaboration with nespresso begin?


aldo parisotto: it’s a long story. at the beginning of 2009, nespresso’s HQ in lausanne called our atelier to participate in a competition for their new concept stores; and after that, we advanced further and are very lucky to have won. we’ve applied similar ideas from the first store we did, here in milan.

parisotto formenton nespresso flagship store milan designboom
‘at your service’ section on the first floor




DB: how many stores and boutiques have you been involved in designing for nespresso?


AP: exactly? I don’t know now! (laughs) maybe more or less 15-20 a year which include small independent boutiques, as well as boutiques in malls and shops, and flagship stores as well, of which we do one to two per year.

general view of the first floor grand cru area and ‘expert atelier’




DB: obviously from city to city you want to create a space that is unique to the location, while still maintaining the overall sense of nespresso. can you talk about the design concepts that you’ve integrated into the milan flagship store?


AP: on each occasion, we receive some input from the city in order to incorporate cultural aspects of the city, and we adapt the scheme accordingly. for example also here in milano, we’ve opened the flagship during the same period as the EXPO, and a big part of the design is the bar — the testing area in the entrance.


the main concept of the boutique is of course the wood, with the material and color drawing inspiration from coffee. this is the reason why we decided to use dark wood on the first floor, black metal, highlighted by a lot of details in white and red for underlying the designs of the machines on display. in the concept of the bar we used a different type of wood. we preferred to have a lighter effect, an airier atmosphere, so we used oak instead of rosewood.

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grand cru area on the first floor
image © designboom




DB: can you talk a little bit about the programmatic layout of the space?


AP: the space is articulated onto three main floors, and we readapted and engaged in a structural transformation of the existing building, because we wanted to create a journey through all parts of the shop immediately from the entrance. we want to make sure there are a lot of different experiences, for example for the coffee club member there is a self-service area where they can buy capsules on their own, and check-out very quickly. in the basement, there is the classical boutique and expertise zone. there are coffee specialists available who assist you with your machines the ‘at your service’ area. they are also on hand to direct the testing area, and to explain the cru to customers. upstairs in the mezzanine you can find the machine gallery that showcases all the new models of nespresso’s new domestic machines.

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‘atelier expert




DB: how does this particular flagship store differn from the other ones that you have done?


AP: this one is special because it is in a really nice place in milano, piazza del liberty. you have a very deep view from the entrance between outside and inside, and there is a double height on the ground floor, which allows us to have a big impact from outside to inside. for example, you have on the first level the big testing area table, and you have in the night effect with the round lampshade. this is why we installed in the corner the element of the staircase because we wanted to see also from outside the staircase because also you need to understand we have a lot of flooring from inside. the lighting and transparent from outside for us is the main scope of this design.   g6
view from the ‘at your service’ area to the stairs leading up

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the second floor machine gallery    

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approach to the nespresso flagship store in milan from piazza del liberty
image © designboom

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the store by night

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aldo parisotto, found of parisotto + formenton
portrait © designboom