The Small is a unique, strong place with a special soul, because so is its creator, the designer Giancarlo Petriglia, a life dedicated to beauty, art and fashion.
Second home of the designer Giancarlo Petriglia, full marks at NABA in Milan, for years artistic director of Trussardi and today owner of his brand of bags and accessories, the place reflects the love for culture, his addiction to collecting and research, and that innate sense of provocation that only true genius can transform into art.
The small restaurant and cocktail bar was born in 2008, from Giancarlo’s desire to achieve something together with his great love of the time with the idea of creating a hot spot in Milan that combined the passion for art with good Italian cuisine, a place to meet up, organize exhibitions and feel good with friends.
In The Small all my experiences and dreams come together: fashion, food, art here contaminate each other without borders, just as it should always be.
(Giancarlo Petriglia, founder)
Initially, the restaurant was located in a room of the current location, and this is the origin of its name, The Small, because with only 12 seats it was the smallest restaurant in Milan. The building, dating back to 1919, housed on the ground floor one of the first supermarkets in the city, of which it retains the beautiful original floor, then converted into individual shops that Giancarlo has gradually acquired over time, thus enlarging the bistro which today has three beautiful adjoining rooms.
The cuisine is that of the Italian tradition that focuses on the quality of the raw material, little worked to maintain its flavor, and presented in a simple way. The ever-evolving menu is inspired by the origins of Giancarlo, a Milanese by adoption but with Apulian and Ciociarian blood, and pleasantly contaminated by the countries of origin of the many friends and loves that have followed one another in the designer’s life. So on the menu, we find the grandma’s meatballs and the spaghetti with lobster and datterino tomato, the Milanese veal cutlet breaded with Taralli and aromatic herbs, or the tuna fillet in pistachio crust.
The decor of the restaurant is a masterpiece in itself, actually made up of the many works collected by Giancarlo over time and during his research trips: each object has, in fact, a special meaning linked to a memory or an emotion. Like the references to his childhood, from Mickey Mouse, Disney’s latest American creation before moving the production of its gadgets elsewhere, to the giant Lego characters, up to the many convex mirrors that remind him of the first one given to him by his beloved grandmother to protect him from bad luck (it is said, in fact, that this type of mirrors protect against negative energies).
On the other hand, from his journeys come the classic statues purchased in Barcelona, the nineteenth-century paintings found in Paris and around antique shops around the world, such as the one with a red background in the second room depicting Leone Fortis, founder of Il Pungolo, the first Italian newspaper published in Milan.
And Gianpietro also has a special eye for talented artists, many of whom are friends with him. An example is the large painting at the entrance, a work that the artist Simone Fugazzotto created expressly for the venue, a tribute to love, sometimes as complicated as the Rubik’s cube, or the Kiss by Marco Lodola which was recently chosen by Dior for an original international collaboration.
The restaurant houses a small art gallery on the lower floor used as a venue for events, which is accessed from a spectacular golden portal that comes from the sacristy of a 14th-century deconsecrated church in Bergamo.
Giancarlo’s passion for art can really be felt everywhere in the place, explained in the typographic work “I want more space for art”, actually referring to the small spaces that the place originally had, that today has become a symbol of the philosophy of The Small.
God save the Queen and The Small!
Giancarlo’s passion for fashion also stems from the beauty he breathed in the family: his mother was in fact a wedding dressmaker and she passed on to him the knowledge for tailoring and fabrics. Even today she helps him in the restaurant, in particular taking care of the mise en place and the perfect ironing of the tablecloths.