Dinner becomes a theatrical performance at Carlo e Camilla


Carlo e Camilla, Milan
Porcelain plates and centrepiece by Richard Ginori. Photo by Nathalie Krag for Tanja Solci studio.
Carlo e Camilla. Segheria, Via G.Meda 24, Milan, Italy / carloecamillainsegheria.it

Located in Milan-Via Meda 24, the building dates back to 1932. Damaged during bombing in the Second World War, it was rebuilt in 1946 according to the architectural style of the factories of the period. Brick and concrete walls and a shed roof make the most of the natural light, covered in perforated bricks on the inside and tiles on the outside. The factory’s production of shipping cases stopped at the end of the 1970s. In 1999 Tanja Solci walked in and, together with her father Carlo Solci, restored it into the building as we see it today. In the art world, they call it “conservative repair”. It’s the same approach that Carlo Cracco used in this last adaptation (in 2014) to convert it into an unconventional bistro within a factory. Under the owner’s artistic direction, engineer Umberto Montorfano from Impresa Renato Montorfano skilfully directed the works, contracting a selected group of artisans from the restoration culture and tradition.

Photo by Nathalie Krag for Tanja Solci studio.

“A dramatic setting halfway between dream and reality. Carlo and Camilla are the male and female side of an imaginary couple that welcome their guests into a surreal country home within a converted factory in the heart of Milan. It’s a scene suspended in time that awakens a naked industrial shell bringing it back to life; a ritual that recurs every night, with ever-changing guests, dishes and conversations.”

The set-up is simple: two long tables crossing at the centre and large crystal chandeliers strategically suspended to create a dramatically lit space. Reflections create leaf patterns on the wooden tables, while the light illuminates the guests’ hands only when they reach for their plates. Dinner becomes a theatrical performance. The history of design finds a dedicated space on this set, with Cappellini chairs: white and cobalt blue Fronzoni ’64 on one side, symbolically gendered by Carlo’s male side. Jasper Morrison’s blue and green Tate chairs line the other, dedicated to the imagined Camilla’s femininity. Solci dresses the tables with an unusual mise en place. Mix-matched ceramic tableware from Richard Ginori’s vintage and out of production collections, elegantly sits next to over 100 pieces of strikingly white crockery: tea pots, kettles, milk jugs, sauce boats and sugar jars, all from the Florentine maison.

Dinner becomes a theatrical performance at Carlo e Camilla in Segheria, Milan
Photo by Nathalie Krag for Tanja Solci studio.

Tanja Solci says “There is no idea if it’s not capable of telling a story”

After a degree in Philosophy at the State University of Milan, Tanja Solci has been win over the professional profile of artistic director in more then 15 years experience. Her work is to forge ideas into a unique image and style. She creates visual identities and concept’s format that become alive through space and graphics, and translates them into public spaces, commercial projects and exhibitions. She designed and curated the first and largest retrospective ever dedicated to American photo-reporter Steve McCurry. Inaugurated at Palazzo della Regione in Milan, the event was conceived as a narrative of travelling and living through time, which has been resident for four years now. She is the mind behind the “Milan brand”, designed to promote the city, and currently used for the cultural communication of exhibitions and the Milan Expo. She designed the new concept for the civil wedding hall at Palazzo Reale, Milan.

Porcelain plates and centrepiece by Richard Ginori. Photo by Nathalie Krag for Tanja Solci studio.

Between 1999 and 2013, she turned her love for spaces into a project, with Segheria: throughout the years this family space has hosted world-renowned designers and architects, internationally acclaimed photographers and the most prestigious fashion brands. From 1999 to 2007 she revolutionised Milan’s fuorisalone. With her, for the first time, the design crowd was invited to grand installations where a deliberate absence of product was replaced by the representation of the brands’ values, brought to life in poetic and conceptual ways. Authentic cultural events revealed public spaces until then unknown. She is the pioneer of a new way of communicating that makes the public part of the representation. “There is no idea if it’s not capable of telling a story”.