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Acqua di Parma to Set Up Temporary Café in Milan

The LVMH-controlled company will take over the city’s central Caruso restaurant to mark the launch of its new Colonia CLUB scent.

MILANItalian fragrance house Acqua di Parma is to open a temporary café in the heart of Milan.

From Wednesday until March 23, the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-controlled company will take over the Caruso restaurant, which is part of the historic Grand Hotel et de Milan nestled in the city’s Golden Triangle.

The initiative will mark the launch of the brand’s new fragrance Colonia CLUB, which is an acronym for Community Life Unique Bond.

In sync with the conviviality evoked by the name of the scent, the location aims to celebrate the return of social gatherings with a restyling of the venue and a busy schedule of events.

Design-wise, the location will be revamped in the label’s signature yellow color and will feature arches and ropes, nodding to the Italian courtyards portrayed in the fragrance’s advertising campaign photographed by Koto Bolofo.

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Covering three different areas — an indoor hall, a veranda and the exterior — the Acqua di Parma Caffè will also be refurnished with items developed by all-Italian companies.

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For instance, the beauty brand has partnered with Manifattura Geminiano Cozzi in Venice to create exclusive dishes featuring 18th century-inspired ornaments in the shades of yellow, white and black. It has also tied up with Luxury White — a Milanese atelier established by Lucia Cavaliere — to develop handwoven linen tablecloths. As for the seats, tables and sofas, these will be supplied by Poltrona Frau, which has already collaborated with Acqua di Parma on the launch of a smart, high-tech home scent diffuser and a car diffuser.

Inside the Acqua di Parma Caffè to open in central Milan.
Inside the Acqua di Parma Caffè to open in central Milan. Courtesy of Acqua di Parma

Open to the public by reservation, events staged at the location will encompass olfactory laboratories, including one dedicated to children and curated by Kikolle Lab; literary panels, such as the presentation of the new book of Guido Maria Brera, author of the “Devils” financial thriller which inspired the namesake TV series starring Patrick Dempsey and Alessandro Borghi; a workshop with photographer Maurizio Galimberti, who lensed Acqua di Parma’s campaigns in the past; classes on flower arranging with designer Vincenzo Dascanio, and a mixology session offering a selection of drinks inspired by the brand’s fragrances.

The calendar of events will open with a masterclass centered on the discovery of the Colonia CLUB fragrance, which features citrus and bergamot notes on top, an aromatic heart combining pink berries and black pepper with shiso and rosemary and a base of musk.

The new Acqua di Parma Colonia C.L.U.B. fragrance.
The new Acqua di Parma Colonia CLUB fragrance. Courtesy of Acqua di Parma

The new scent builds on the successful Colonia pillar, which boasts more than a century of history. In 1916, Baron Carlo Magnani was in search of a different fragrance and commissioned a perfume artisan in the Italian town of Parma to create a cologne, which resulted in the original Colonia.

Offered in an Art Deco glass bottle, the scent rose to popularity in the 1930s and gained international success in the ’50s, when bespoke tailors used to spritz the fragrance on made-to-measure suits before handing them to their high-end clientele, including Hollywood actors of the time.

The label’s aristocratic heritage was strengthened through the years as the company started to build on its Italian lifestyle and understated luxury image by introducing new colonias; the “Collezione Barbiere” line of shaving products; the “Blue Mediterraneo” and “Blue Mediterraneo Italian Resort” fragrances and cosmetics inspired by exclusive locations on the Italian Mediterranean; home fragrances, and leather accessories, among other products.

But the Colonia fragrance remains at the core of key developments by the company, such as the ColLab artistic initiative Acqua di Parma recently launched by partnering with six emerging talents at the Instituto Europeo di Design, or IED.

Conceived as a co-creation project, ColLab sees the artists developing different concepts to decorate by hand 300 pieces of 180-ml. sized Colonia bottles, and enables clients to customize these themes, adding a personal touch to their final product.

Acqua di Parma to Mark New
The Acqua di Parma ColLab project. Courtesy of Acqua di Parma

Talents involved in the initiative include Anna Spreafico, who designed illustrations nodding to horoscopes and constellations; Margherita Caspani, who recreated gladiator imagery from ancient Rome with a playful twist; Claudia Bernardi, who focused on symbols from card games; Lucrezia Viperina, who reinterpreted Italy’s iconic monuments; Sara Brienza, who explored lucky charms, and Paolo Moscheni, who evoked love, hope and friendship with his colorful graphics.

One-on-one appointments with the artists will be available by reservation at Acqua di Parma’s Milan flagship store from April 4 to 10, while clients who can’t physically attend will be able to personalize their bottles online on the brand’s website.

The "Sky Signs" theme by Anna Spreafico.
The “Sky Signs” theme by Anna Spreafico. Courtesy of Acqua di Parma

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