Carla Sozzani’s revolutionary concept of a living magazine

In 1990, former fashion editor and publisher Carla Sozzani founded a very unusual and remarkable space in Milan. Her business started with the idea of a virtual narrative, using a gallery and bookshop as its core. Located in an industrial building in the inner courtyard of a traditional Milanese palazzo, this design space was conceived as a “living magazine”. 

10 Corso Como is a multifunctional space, a meeting place, union of culture and commerce and marks the beginning of total shopping.

The construction of a “living magazine” is connected to editorial choices in food and fashion, music and art, lifestyle and design which are meant for engagement with the customers / visitors along the different areas of cultural exploration.

Visitors and customers move from the insight to the next, from the gallery to the bookshop, from the design and fashion store to the restaurant and the café, rest in the courtyard garden or stay in the 3 hotel rooms and share the philosophy of 10 Corso Como. 

People both in and beyond the art / fashion scene, began to see in this concept something quite new and radical for retail and even more for presenting art in the same breath as style. In 1991 the Italian sociologist Francesco Morace coined for 10 Corso Como the term that would later become a standard marketing idea: “Concept store”

The idea is to join culture and commerce, presenting a unique blend of art, music, design, cuisine and culture from around the world. 

In 1990 Carla Sozzani converted a garage at n. 10 of Corso Como in Milan into a gallery. Since the opening, over 250 exhibtions have offered an intense variety of cultures and genres in the worlds of contemporary visual arts. The gallery has its own publishing company, dedicated to art, photography, fashion and design. Find out more about the exhibitions and gallery program here. 

Journalist and critic Giuliana Scimé stated:

In 1990, in a building that no one could find on the other side of town from the Accademia di Belle Arti of Brera, on this small corso next to a garage and car park, the first of over two hundred exhibitions would transform the building at number 10, then transform the street, and now transforms the entire neighborhood into a locus of radical trends in photography and art.  

In September 1991, 10 Corso Como’s bookshop opened its doors. Named after the street address, the industrial building was designed by American artist Kris Ruhs, who also created the black and white logo that became an icon of global style. 

The bookshop offers new and classic publications on art, architecture, literature, design, graphics, fashion with a strong emphasis on photography and a selection of music from all over the world. Browsing through the shop can take hours and you will certainly forget how fast time is flying when you’re diving into all the interesting books and magazines. 

In the opening year, Sozzani’s never before seen mix that was growing at 10 Corso Como. At the time, no one named their business for their street, nor did they have philosophies. 

With no show windows, in an unfashionable part of town, Carla Sozzani was rejecting ordinary retail forms and promoting a new philosophy – that of slow shopping – through a succession of spaces and events that would prioritize lifestyle over consumption, she established a nexus of global networks and cultural exchanges brought together through fashion, food, art, and photography that still continues to inspire. It would grow to become the template for unique retail marketing.

Carla Sozzani’s vision created a new vocabulary of taste through the blending of commercial, social and cultural ideas continues to direct its future around the world.

In 1998, the café opened. It’s designed to create movement within the gardens. Hidden in the heart of 10 Corso Como’s quiet courtyard, behind a discreet facade of gates and gardens, the garden café is surrounded by a conservatory of plants and seasonal flowers. When not shopping or visiting 10 Corso Como various showcases, one can stop to eat in the café / restaurant and bar. This unit offers another aesthetic surrounding. 

In 2003, a small 3-room hotel opened. The rooms offer pleasant views to the gardens below. The intimate hotel offers to a weary traveler a personal hospitality. The three suites can be reached by a private entrance, are furnished in homage to the vision of many mid 20th-21st- century designers and architects from around the world. Get more information and some visual impressions here
In 2010, the terrace roof garden opened. As a unique combination of nature and art, the terrace hosts works of contemporary sculptures and ceramics by Kris Ruhs. The urban oasis is recognised by Lipu (Italian union for birds protection) as a sanctuary for many birds both sedentary and in migration. You will notice the calm and enjoy the view. 
Next to Milan, 10 Corso Como has also venues in Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo and will be opening a store in Manhattan, New York this year (2018). 
Address: 10 Corso Como, Milan (Italy) // Metro lines 2 or 5 “Garibaldi FS” 


Carla Sozzani in her studio. Image courtesy: NSS Magazine
All photos (except for the ones with credit) by Judith Bradlwarter. ©


2 Comments Add yours

    1. Glad to hear that you like it. Best wishes!


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