The history

La Penna d’Oca restaurant – 1927

The building which in the 1930s contained the famous restaurant La Penna d’Oca – the home of Futurist cuisine – designed by Gio Ponti, conserves traces of the frontage on the canal that once flowed along Via San Damiano.
“Naviglio” in Via San Damiano – c. 1870

The ghost canals

The windows once opened directly to the water, in a completely different Milan. In the past, the space that now hosts the Arena was a sostra, a facility for the storage of coal, in an 18th-century building positioned on what used to be the ring of the canals. The famous canals projected by Leonardo da Vinci.

“Naviglio” in via San Damiano – c. 1870
“Naviglio” in via San Damiano – c. 1870


La Penna d’Oca

The restaurant “La Penna d’Oca” on Via San Damiano was a rendezvous for Milanese intellectuals in the early decades of the 20th century. It was one of several meeting places where artists, writers and thinkers, as well as members of the bourgeois and industrialist class, would come to eat, converse, exchange ideas and discuss the issues of the day. Frequented by avant- garde thinkers, it became a seedbed for revolutionary artistic movements.

Giò Ponti
Blowing decoration – Giò Ponti 1927
Central hall | La Penna d’Oca – 1927
La Penna d’Oca – 1927
Bar | La Penna d’Oca – 1927


The Futuristic cuisine

Specifically, the restaurant was popular with leading Futurists such as Munari, Depero and Marinetti, as well as their young acolytes. Indeed, it was here that on a November evening in 1930 the father of Futurism, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, launched his crusade against pasta,  a food he regarded as belonging to a superannuated tradition that was hindering the advent of the future by inculcating “weakness, pessimism, nostalgic inactivity and neutralism” among consumers. 

This led to the invention of the “Futurist Cuisine”, which later found theoretical expression through the publication of a manifesto urging a change in eating habits that would finally liberate cooking from retrograde practices. The manifesto advocated exploring new frontiers of taste with the help of chemistry (along with, of course, the renunciation of pasta).

The restaurant was housed in an elegant 18th-century former coal warehouse overlooking the quays of the city’s canals. 

“Milan has long been a city of waterways, which date back in the historical record to the time of the first Celtic settlers who drained the marshlands and dug channels. When the Romans conquered the city, they applied their advanced hydraulic engineering techniques to the construction of a network of navigable canals used for both agriculture and trade. The Naviglio Grande (or Grand Canal) dates back to around 1170. “

F. T. Marinetti, Fillia
La Cucina Futurista

Futuristic dinner – 1930

Over the centuries, the network grew along with the city, eventually reaching, to the north, Lake Maggiore and Lake Como, which opened access to Ticino and Switzerland, and, to the east, the River Po, which opened access to the Adriatic Sea. Occupying a crucial point in the topography of the city, the restaurant was part of the history of Milan.


The Renaissance

The person appointed to design the restaurant is now recognized as one of the great masters of modern architecture in Italy: Gio Ponti. In 1927, Gio Ponti, then a partner of architect Emilio Lanci, joined forces with Tomaso Buzzi and Gigiotti Zanini to restore the building. He preserved the majesty and grandeur of the 18th-century rooms, refurbishing them in his typical elegant and refined Neoclassical style. Images of the building’s past glories are to be found in some old and rather blurry black and white photographs that yet evoke something of the lively and smoke-filled atmosphere of the former bar and restaurant. 

© Arch. Edoardo Guazzoni
Showroom Guzzini


AMDL Circle

Michele De Lucchi infused new life in this space in Milan which opened its doors one year ago at Via Santa Cecilia , with large windows facing Via San Damiano, right in the throbbing heart of uptown design district as a gathering place, a site of interaction but also calm, in contact with wood in all its natural purity.

© AMLD Circle
© AMLD Circle
© AMLD Circle


Listone Giordano arena

Woven into the historical fabric of Milan, the building, now known as the Arena, serves  as the new exhibition space of Listone Giordano, and was inaugurated in 2019 during Milan Design Week.

Michele De Lucchi and his studio AMDL Circle are responsible for the conversion of the building to its present use, which is also predicated on the principle that the Arena, part of the history of Milan, should be restored to the community as a place of interaction and exchange.

The name of the studio, AMDL Circle, captures the essence of Michele De Lucchi’s approach: a place conducive to the circulation of ideas; a studio premised on the principle of continuous dialogue between architect and client, between Listone Giordano and the city of Milan.

Natural Genius | Danilo Rea in concert