“We knew we liked to sunbathe, drink by the pool, work out, and have a bite to eat,” says one half of the duo behind Italian fashion label Dsquared2. “But there was nowhere to do all of that in Milan.”
So eight years ago when the designers, Toronto-born twins Dean and Dan Caten, went looking to establish their global headquarters in Milan, they settled on a 1930s gunmetal-gray, Brutalist office building in an industrial stretch bordered by a graveyard and Milan’s Chinatown. The 53-year-old Catens knew the building had more than enough workspace—it had been the offices of Italy’s largest electric company—but the first time they toured the roof, with its 360-degree view of the city, including the iconic Unicredit Tower, identical light bulbs appeared above their matching salt-and-pepper heads. “We immediately knew we would get to do everything we like to do here, all in one place,” says Dan.
The building, now called Ceresio 7, is more of a compound, with offices, a gym, a spa, a two-bedroom guesthouse, and a rooftop restaurant with not one but two pools. Known for their witty, sexy mens- and womenswear sold at stores such as Barneys New York as well as in their own boutiques, the Catens were inspired by the rooftop of the Fasano Hotel in Rio, which was designed by Philippe Starck. “We are very social,” says Dan, “and we wanted our rooftop to be that kind of place.”
The Catens, who are based in London, travel constantly and call themselves “obsessed” with hotels. When a smaller building next to Ceresio 7 became available last year, they considered acquiring it for themselves. “But then we realized we could have it for celebrities in town, events, and clients,” says Dan. So they bought the two-bedroom, three-floor structure and converted it to a guesthouse.
Visitors walk in and are greeted by a black wood staircase—carpeted in green velvet, accented with brass, and lined with mirrors—beneath an enormous glass chandelier that previously hung in Milan’s train station. (“It’s a good entrance,” laughs Dan.) Halfway up the stairs awaits the first of three Warhols (a Mao silkscreen), followed by silk wallpaper, Nero Marquina marble, satin, and more velvet. Fireplaces abound, as well as Picassos (three) and possibly hidden bars (Dan likes to tease about secret doors and passages).
The Catens decline to say if they will ever open a full-scale hotel. (“Never say never,” muses Dan.) But he remembers something he and his brother love, other than sunning, drinking, and working out.
“Waking up in a nice atmosphere.” ceresio7.com