June 22, 2020

Massimo Iosa Ghini

Architect and Designer
Iosa Ghini Associati
Milan, Italy


New York has always been a place of cultural reference for me, since my early American design exhibitions in the 80ies: my solo-exhibition at the Modern Living Gallery and the event Italian Genius organized together with Andrea Margaritelli at Guggenheim.

My very first experiences with New York, however, are linked to the lounge club disco I designed, located between 18rd and 5th, finished in 1988.

It took a year and a half of projects and many flights to make it. I discovered the difference, almost impossibility, of realizing design objects in United States and the importance of Italian design manufacturing which were, and still are, able to make appreciated products, perfect for Manhattan cultured public.

I remember that I went to New York 7 times in only one year, when I discovered the Gramercy Park Hotel, which was still extraordinarily original, with its piano bar where people used to have breakfast in the morning and a Manhattan cocktail in the evening, and where it was possible to meet Lou Reed or my myth Jerry Casale of Devo.

Even nowadays I go to Gramercy and I like my friend’s Julian Schnabel renovation, a very intense and atmospheric.

After  weeks spent visiting all the clubs of the time, all heirs of Studio 54, we discovered MK, a former bank, which gave me the main inspiration to create a very New Yorker place but where there was also a bit of Boccioni Italian FUTURISM, creativity and the Italian art connected to the visual dynamism of the American metropolis.

Thus, the most successful Italian design club in the New York of the 80ies, BOLIDO, was born together with Giancarlo Soresina and Reto Cantoni of Cafè Roma.

The opening took in a wonderful New Yorker winter place at New Year’s Eve, with snow and Christmas lights on the trees.  I was so exhausted and happy that during the opening, I felt asleep on a drop-shaped sofa I designed for Moroso.   It was really astonishing to wake up on the sofa and find myself next to Simon Le Bon of DURAN DURAN who was trying to talk to me.

Every time we land in Manhattan, Milena, my boys and I, we go Gallagher’s for a T-Bone, we cross the city and pass through 18th street, so every time I think back on that beautiful project, outcome of the evocative power, strength and energy of this city: New York.

Massimo Iosa Ghini

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