Designed by celebrity architect Jean Nouvel (a man whose hand is all
over Paris, not to mention the ’05 Reina Sofía expansion and the
Copenhagen Concert Hall), the Excelsior Milano is a massive 7-storey
concept department store that opened in 2011 to much fanfare just behind
Milan’s Duomo. Situated in what was once a cinema, the Excelsior
combines the designer ‘tude of Milanese shopping with the convenience of
a multi-level department store and the aesthetics of a contemporary art
gallery. Spaces are sparse, with plenty of room for the designer
merchandise (by everyone from Globe-Trotter to Givenchy) to be
appropriately displayed without the sword of clutter that most
department stores fall on.
The true gem of the Excelsior is the
mezzanine space occupied by Eat, an actual gourmet supermarket where
jars of olives glisten next to freshly baked breads in perfectly formed
baskets and perfect shining rows of fresh produce.