The Rinascente department store is a Milanese icon, and one of the city’s faces. Our brief for the renovation plan for Rinascente’s womenswear floor was to incorporate elements that would give visitors a tangible sense of the city. Our first move was to install 17 large windows, reminiscent of those seen around Milan, to function as subtle space dividers. Inspired by the unexpected encounters with shop windows, courtyard gardens and public squares that come from wandering Milan’s back streets, we applied a film to the windows to make them opaque when viewed from an angle but transparent when viewed directly. This allows products to suddenly ‘appear’ in front of shoppers’ eyes as they move through the space and creates a constantly changing spatial experience, much like the constant but unpredictable ‘small surprises’ of Milan itself. Hangers, shelving and other shop fixtures provide a soft impression, much like a half-hidden curtain viewed from outside through a window. Details on the lighting fixtures recall Milan’s outdoor lighting, strung from cables between buildings, and the entrances to in-store mini-boutiques are arched like those of many Milanese buildings. Our hope is to have condensed the excitement and small pleasures of exploring Milan by foot.