In the heart of Milan, Dean and Dan Caten have created a design oasis in DSquared2’s global headquarters. Via a private guesthouse, the duo behind the fashion brand succeeded in creating an immersive, livable experience of the fashion brand.
As visitors enter, they are greeted by a grand staircase where light from a chandelier dances across mirrored walls. Through tactile materials like warm wood, stone, metal, and silk, a cozy mood is struck, complemented by moments of surprise, color, and a vibrant collection of art that includes a number of Warhols and Basquiats.
Last fall, we were given an intimate tour of their urban escape, and discussed how artists continue to inspire their growing art and fashion collections.
WHITEWALL: What was your initial vision for the guesthouse?
DSQUARED2: We wanted a space that was a reflection of us and the brand, creating an environment where visitors could experience the brand fully.
WW: Tell us about the entryway, with its grand staircase, chandelier . . . What kind of welcome did you want to create?
D2: “Welcome, you’ve arrived!” is exactly what we wanted the staircase and entrance to exude. We wanted the chandelier to be the focal point, which is why we opted to have the walls surrounding it covered in mirrors. It reflects the chandelier’s light and shows off its beauty, adding to the architecture of the space. The Juliet balcony midway up the grand staircase is a cozy element that serves as a point for greeting guests.
WW: What materials were you drawn to for the interiors?
D2: We led with a mood and let that be the catalyst for the materials. There is an amazing mix of silks on wall paneling, metal, natural woods, and gorgeous stone. They all work together in harmony, highlighting key elements of the space while being very inviting.
WW: Can you tell us about the artwork that hangs in the guesthouse? Which artists made sense there? How did you decide what went where?
D2: We chose to include what we love and were naturally drawn to. We have an extensive collection of Warhols and Baquiats. The Basquiats made the most sense to us because they are works to which we have the strongest personal connection.
WW: Do you have a favorite art moment in the guesthouse?
D2: It’s difficult to choose just one because they all help create the mood for each space, so they are all favorites because they each add their own specific element, which adds to the whole spirit of our home.
WW: There are some hidden bars throughout the space—how did you want to create elements of surprise here and there?
D2: The entrance to the third floor where our bedrooms are located is hidden. This was to be our private retreat, and given its private nature, we wanted its entrance also made private.
WW: You’ve talked before about the importance of waking up in a nice atmosphere. How did you create that in the bedrooms?
D2: With subdued lighting, soft textures, and traditional, cozy, herringbone-designed floors. The space doesn’t feel overwhelmingly large, but rather intimate.
WW: Do you have a personal favorite corner or room?
D2: The cozy reading chair—it’s placed beside the fireplace and is a perfect space to sit relax and reflect.
WW: How did you start collecting art?
D2: We have always been drawn to art. You can’t help having it be a part of your life. It’s an element that inspires us on a daily basis and informs much of what we do. We’ve always been collectors but what we have collected has changed over the years.
WW: Who are the artists you followed early on?
D2: We’ve always been die-hard Warhol fans.
WW: Who are the artists you follow now?
D2: We still follow Warhol and Basquiat. We have also had the chance to work with many great photographers who are also our friends, like Steven Klein and Mert and Marcus.
WW: Are you interested in emerging artists?
D2: Yes, absolutely. There is so much great new talent. It’s also important to see what is happening currently. It’s quite inspiring.
WW: Is it important for you to know the artists whose work you collect?
D2: We’re drawn to what moves us, and by default it’s interesting to see the parallels with your own emotions and that of the artist. So in that sense it is important, and that knowledge comes naturally based on your attraction to the work that artist has created.
WW: Has your art collection ever influenced a DSquared2 collection?
D2: Not so much a collection, but, rather, an artist and their body of work. Warhol is one such example. We love what he stood for and what he was able to accomplish. That in and of itself is a constant inspiration.
WW: Has designing this guesthouse inspired you for any future projects on the horizon?
D2: Very much so! We worked with Storage Associati architecture, who helped us with the guesthouse on the remodel of our first global flagship here in Milan located on via Verri. There are many parallels between that location and our guesthouse. We’re very proud of both.