Lapo Elkann's 'Garage Italia' celebrates cars, food

Menu by Carlo Cracco, design by Michele De Lucchi

(ANSA) - Milan, November 8 - Lapo Elkann, great-grandson of Fiat founder Giovanni Agnelli, has created a new venue opening on Thursday called Garage Italia, combining a love of fast cars with food, fashion, and design.
    Elkann collaborated with Chef Carlo Cracco, who designed the menu for Garage Italia's restaurant, and designer Michele De Lucchi, who remodeled a historic Agip service station in Piazzale Accursio that had long since been abandoned.
    "When I imagined this place, I thought of a concept that I had seen in a book by my great-grandfather, Giovanni Agnelli - not 'The Lawyer' but the genius of the family - with the spot 'Fiat sky earth sea'," Elkann said.
    "There's no comparison between me and him, but in my own small way I want to bring back that concept to an industry that's in full ferment, that of motion," he said.
    Elkann said he looks back to the years when the building was commissioned in 1952 as a time "when we were a country that dominated the world", and he now imagines a "Dolce Vita 4.0".
    "Italy has incredible craftsmanship, with extraordinary entrepreneurs and artisans; by uniting these strengths we win if we compete abroad," he said.
    The space includes an area where visitors can simulate the experience of racing a Ferrari by using the same professional simulator that Gran Turismo Championship drivers use for training.
    The ground floor also has a shop with ties and jackets by Rubinacci, sweatshirts by Hydrogen and cashmere by Majestic.
    Upstairs is the restaurant, with a Ferrari 250 GTO transformed into a cocktail bar in the middle of the dining floor.
    There are also nine Ferrari Daytona seats and two Ferrari 599 seats that function as armchairs.
    The menus are designed to look like speedometers, and Cracco said the dishes represent "the great Italian tradition tied to Lapo's memories", such as his Grandmother Marella's garden and his grandfather's salad.
    Architect Michele De Lucchi said he was inspired by the "propulsive strength of the optimism of the 1950s, in which there was a sense of wanting to build a new world".
    "It's the same optimism that drives us today," De Lucchi said, adding that Lapo Elkann is "speed in person".
    Elkann, for his part, said "going fast is important, but calm is also needed to understand and make this project 100% perfect before taking it around the world".
    "Which I will definitely do," he said, adding that he also feels ready to have a "stable relationship with a woman and have children".