10 Corso Como History
In September of 1990, after a career in journalism and fashion, Carla Sozzani opened Galleria Carla Sozzani for photography, art and design in a converted garage on a street called Corso Como in Milan. The gallery was soon joined by a garden café and a bookshop, which housed new and classic publications on art, architecture, literature, design, graphics, a prolific collection of photography books and a selection of music from around the world.
A year later, in September 1991, 10 Corso Como opened its doors. Named after its street address, the striking interiors of the pioneering “concept store” and its signature black and white circular logo were designed by artist and New York native Kris Ruhs, who would go on to design the interiors at all subsequent branches.
10 Corso Como is a confluence of culture and commerce, blending fashion, design, dining, art and music in a unique, carefully curated experience. This retail philosophy centered around an experiential lifestyle became a marketing phenomenon through the 1990s and set a new vocabulary for international style which continues into the 21st century.
The Milanese 10 Corso Como continued its evolution with the addition of a gallery shop, the charming 10 Corso Como garden café, a line of its own branded and co-branded products, including collaborations with many global brands and the opening in Tokyo in 2002 of a co-branded store with Comme des Garçons, and in 2003, the 3 Rooms Hotel, an intimate 3-suite lodging.
In 2008 10 Corso Como joined with the Samsung Group to open a location in Seoul, South Korea and four years later a second store opened in the city. In 2013, in partnership with Trendy International Group and Samsung,
10 Corso Como launched in Shanghai, China and in 2015 a 10 Corso Como Café opened in Beijing
Last year the iconic brand opened two shops selling their own line of products in Tokyo, Japan. This year will mark the opening of
10 Corso Como’s first U.S. location at the Seaport District in New York.
The DNA of 10 Corso Como
The personalities of Carla Sozzani and Kris Ruhs are interwoven like a double helix and over the last 30 years, have formed the now internationally recognized DNA of 10 Corso Como. Both see 10 Corso Como as an ever-evolving experience with their individual contributions continuing to generate new cultural and aesthetic ideas and perspectives.
This confluence of ideas, which was first carefully cultivated at
10 Corso Como in Milan, is receiving a new vessel in New York City. The DNA, the heritage and history of 10 Corso Como will be the foundation upon which this next chapter of their grand experiment in commerce and art will unfold.
Carla Sozzani on the DNA of 10 Corso Como
Every day the wonderful experience that is 10 Corso Como grows in new and exciting ways, but at first 10 Corso Como was simply a vision.
In 1990 with the opening of the Galleria Carla Sozzani I began this project without really knowing where it would naturally and organically drive us.
Today the Sozzani Foundation oversees the Galleria that for 28 years has been the center and heartbeat of 10 Corso Como. And its roots and what came to follow grew from my editorial life in publishing. That editorial curiosity is still my driving force to explore what every day brings my way.
Working in magazines informed my thinking about the balance and flow between aesthetic and practical concerns. Each project no matter what its size, will always need a philosophy to give it a direction in which to grow and express itself. A point of view in every aspect – creative, curatorial, editorial and final production – is essential to a truly creative result. My experience in the field of magazines was pivotal to the idea of
10 Corso Como. It would be like turning the pages of a magazine and finding surprises and always new ideas.
It was important to keep everything changing, looking for individuality in every single expression in the Gallery and then beyond. It is the great work of Kris that for almost 30 years has given and continues to give
10 Corso Como its unique voice.
10 Corso Como is a true cross-pollination between all the arts – design, architecture, fashion, art, history, cuisine, music, photography, and literature. Bringing to each and taking from each a passion for sharing in this experience called 10 Corso Como.
Today 10 Corso Como is held together by my passion and the passions of all the people who work with me and who are inspired by Kris’ strong visual identity and his art.
Kris Ruhs on the DNA of 10 Corso Como
I have been involved before the beginning, when 10 Corso Como was only a building. Carla and I were out to dinner talking of the future.
It started in 1990 with the number 10 – a line and a circle – that became the visual foundation for Carla’s new project. At the heart of the idea was her love of photography and her vision of creating a living magazine, a space into which one could walk and live an experience. The number 10 became the visual frame on which it all would grow – art and commerce joining together in time and space.
The 90’s were very exciting for me as an artist. To think of everything as an artistic opportunity to be shared was a dream. Transforming the original empty raw space was an inspiring challenge.
The idea of building something where art would become a part of everyday life – get it off the walls, incorporate it with objects and create our own objects is still extremely integral for my work. I started thinking like this when designing the mobile glass chandeliers in Murano, Venice. Combining vision and skill, more and more pieces came from my studio, growing into the 10 Corso Como world. I continue to see no boundaries between design, fine art and the art in the gardens.
How much of this visual identity is Carla and how much is me is hard to tell, it is a wonderful conversation which has been going on between us for 30 years. Each of the 10 Corso Como locations we have built together have their own unique personalities. To keep building the 10 Corso Como world and grow its personality even stronger, to keep writing its story, is our passion.