Exerting significant brand stretch, Italian notebook manufacturer Moleskine has partnered with the Italian arm of brand consultancy Interbrand to create a ‘café littéraire’ in Milan – a café/art gallery/store conceived as a destination for incubating “interaction, creativity and meditative relaxation”.
The layout is consciously ‘soft sell’, with the ground floor’s central space made up of seating, while books are displayed more covertly around the edges. There’s a space dedicated to exhibitions and events, and a wall split into three hosting line drawings of famous Italian artists’ work, which visitors are encouraged to colour in. It also features notes and sketches from famous creatives including late American illustrator John Alcorn, architect Cino Zucchi, and fashion designer Salvatore Ferragamo, as well as an account of Moleskine’s story so far, also as posted-up notes.
Further building on the brand’s core premise of supporting an ideas generation, is a series of shared tables and seating areas. Additionally, a 12-seater communal table fitted with plug sockets (see also Commuter Commerce) is used for breakfast learning sessions and workshops hosted by creative professionals, on topics such as travel writing, photography and sketching.
Spotlighting Moleskine’s products is an ‘experience table’ where customers can feel paper grades, colours and page layouts. NYC-based brand Seven Grams also hosts a coffee bar, while a mezzanine level boasts private seating with a sofa area for reading and working.
The concept was originally piloted in Geneva airport in 2015 – look out for Travel Retail: Trends & Innovations, publishing August 25 for similar examples.