We can’t help stopping off there during our trip to Milan. The Six Gallery is one of those places that leaves you breathless with admiration. Nestled in a former sixteenth-century monastery, the project by entrepreneur, Mauro Orlandelli, SIX, has already attracted a great deal of comment in the media. Since its opening last September, no fewer than three spaces have shared the venue in the midst of the luxuriant flora. In addition to the opportunity to discover a venue where the selection of pieces has pride of place, and where customers can discover the floral creations of Irene, the owner of Irene at Six, or simply indulge in the culinary creations of Sixieme Bistrò. A genuine “holistic space, with a result that is more than the sum of its parts,” as Mauro Orlandelli described it himself when asked to define the unique soul of his latest creation. Today, it is the turn of David Lopez Quincoces and Fanny Bauer to present this wonderful project that bears their names. As well as leading the curation of the Six Gallery, the pair heads up the Quincoces-Dragò & Partners, and they explain their desire to create a unique space where different types of designs coexist and feed off one another without “too many barriers.” Where, in other words, they can reach out to a wider audience and successfully engage or build an emotional connection with more people through design, saying that the appreciation of design should, in their view, “not be limited by the price or the possibilities.” It remains to be seen whether the pair will manage to convey this spirit in their first collection for the SIX PROJECT, jointly signed off under the Quincoces-Dragò name and to be presented at this year’s Salon del Mobile.
David, Fanny: who are you? What is your background?
We’re both architects and designers and we work on anything ranging from industrial products to interior restorations to architecture ex-novo.
Our background is rooted in history of art as we both studied it before studying architecture and design. We met in Milan at a bigger firm where we were both working, but David had founded Quincoces-Dragò eight years prior so it was quite natural for me to join once they met, as their ideas and approaches were similar. Hence around five years ago.
What is your role within the Six Gallery?
We curate Six Gallery that we founded last year. Six gallery is part of SIX – a space dedicated to a series of creative disciplines. SIX was founded by our partner Mauro Orlandelli who put all partners of SIX together to make it happen! SIX is composed of three spaces: Six Gallery, Bistrot Sixieme and Irene at Six. That took six partners to create: Mauro Orlandelli, Samuele Savio, Sergio Carnevale, Irene Cuzzaniti, we, as Quincoces-Dragò, designed all of the spaces, from our offices, connected to Six Gallery, to the Gallery itself and the Bistrot Sixieme and Irene at Six. Mauro worked with all partners to make the realities happen: with Sergio Carnevale to create the bones of Sixieme. Samuele Savio, a good friend of us and Mauro, created the image of all spaces, from their logos to their branding of Six Gallery and Sixieme. Whilst our florist Irene, owner of Irene at Six creates all floral arrangements for the spaces and collaborates with us at Quincoces-Dragò as a landscape architect and floral designer. Together with Mauro she manages and creates for any events at Six Gallery.
How did it come about? Who took care of what?
Regarding Six Gallery we work very closely together, Fanny often does a lot of basic reaserch to find the historic pieces, whilst I will have a special idea about how to curate it together. Its a constant collaboration between the two of us, to make the final reality come together, we feed off one another for inspiration.
What does it offer that is different from other similar venues in Milan?
The idea behind the Six Gallery started off quite simple, its very straight foreward: the gallery reflects the office’s reaserch and aesthetic. It is not about creating an exhibition space for rare one off pieces or collectors items onlyinstead its about our research that is always changing and developing just like our office next door. Milan has so many increadible historic galleries that offer incredibly rare pieces of design. We did not want to compete or compare with that, so its more about reaserch and change than singular pieces. We wanted to create something where different type of design could coexist freely without many boundries, hence an historic piece is often juxtaposed to an anonymous one, or a scandinavian piece paired with a maurituanian rug. With the Six Gallery we wanted to cater to a wider audience and hopefully make more people feel involved or moved by design, whose appreciation shouldnt be limited to price and possibility, it is after all functional commodity.
Do you have a particular style of your own?
We like to work with the existing features of a space, and add too it with a slow layering rather than take from it. We think its important to respect the history of a space whether its a new build or a historic building – we use this as a main source of inspiration and work around it. This reflects in both our architectural work and our design work. It is how we confronted the restoration of the Six Gallery and how we chose the pieces that fill it today. They need to converse with the environment and eachother notwithstanding their origin. We’re so lucky to be able to have a free space next to our office where we can experiment and deepen our reaserch for own projects! We love to find these pieces, restore them, re-upholster them and tell new stories with the old, as well as inventing new tales with new objects, and see how it all evolves together into its own story.
Why have you decided to highlight the work of certain young designers in particular?
Last year when we opened we only had historic pieces in the gallery ranging from Gabriella Crespi, to Gio Ponti, to Kaare Klint, some more unique others more common but bound by their history and always with a wonderful patina. So far we havent collaborated with other young designers, we will launch our first line of new pieces at this years Salone del Mobile. The collection will be entitled SIX – PROJECT. Its the first collection we co-sign as Quincoces-Dragò (David designs already for many furniture houses like Lema, Living Divani etc). Once we launch this, we would like to work with many other young designers and broaden the collection of contemporary pieces of the gallery.
We think its important to respect the history of a space whether its a new build or a historic building - we use this as a main source of inspiration and work around it.
What is a favourite object or piece of furniture in your collection?
Fanny was very much in love with a pair of armchairs she found in Denmark, with a Viennese straw pattern. I love the incredible lamps from BBPR or Gardella. In our own collection we both love a round low coffe table in burl wood we designed together.
What do you think of the city of Milan today? What about the neighbourhood in which the Six Gallery is located?
Milan is having an incredibly wonderful moment. It is having a renaissance, with so many young creatives flocking to the city, its becoming increasingly international and full of interesting creatives. We feel lucky to be here, as it gives you the possibility to pursue interesting projects with wonderful people and work both in italy and internationally. We also love the neighbourhood in which we are in, right between Sant Ambrogio and Ticinese, the old historic area vs. the younger one which is a little bit what the gallery is all about so it feels like a perfect fit, especially with our secret garden between Sixieme and the Six Gallery where the two worlds meet.
What other projects do you have on at the moment? Where will we see you in 2018?
As Quincoces-Dragò we have many interior and architectural projects that we are working on. From commercial ones like restaurants or retail to private homes. As curators of Six Gallery our biggest launch is our collection during this design week!
Photography: Valerio Geraci – Text: Caroline Balvay – Translation: TextMaster @thesocialitefamily