Italian culture is everywhere in New York: in restaurants, design shops, and neighborhoods. But the real Italians aren't satisfied. The Triennale di Milano, a government-funded program that aims to recolonize the world with contemporary Italian culture, has announced that they're planning on building a sprawling gallery/restaurant/cafe/shop in New York, designed by Michele De Lucchi and Pierluigi Cerri, with New York-based CUH2a.
To be completed in September and located in Midtown on West 53rd Street, it's part of a three-part expansion, which in 2009 saw an outpost in Seoul, Korea. In 2011, another space will go up in Shanghai.
The emphasis will be on authentic, contemporary Italian culture. The exhibitions will feature Italian art and design, while the restaurant's menu will be "curated" by a rotating cast of leading Italian chefs (who will, of course, be featuring Italian food imports). The gallery's first show will be drawn from the archives of legendary architect and furniture designer Gio Ponti.
Presumably, the Italians, who've seen chefs such as Mario Batali get rich and upstart designers from Scandinavia and America claim international reknown--are looking to get back onto center stage.