MVUY’s Il Foyer Alla Scala Restaurant Promotes Global Designs Bearing Authenticity and Balance

December 2, 2021



Maria Rebecca Abaya

Humility. If there’s one word to describe this remarkable Filipino talent, Michael Vincent Uy, that is the word humility. Michael is currently based in Milan, a practicing architect, and is the principal of the brand MVUY. His practice is mainly on the international platform that focuses on luxury retail to hospitality design. Michael acquired his Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Santo Tomas and was awarded by the former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as one of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines in 2006. After graduation, he left for Milan to pursue further studies and graduated with Latin honors from the School of Architecture Politecnico di Milano. He also attended the Ph.D. School of Spatial Planning and Development XXVIII Cycle Politecnico di Milano while teaching as an assistant professor at the Masters in Architecture program. Amidst all his achievements and experiences, he still never considers himself as an established designer, “I would like to believe that this is just a start,” shares Michael.

Il Foyer Alla Scala Restaurant

Il Foyer Alla Scala is the historical restaurant of the world-renowned Teatro Alla Scala of Milan. MVUY wanted to bring out the whole theater experience through its intricate details, the recalls, and the private transition of spaces resembling that of an opera. As a historical landmark, preserving heritage was a concern. “We married the heritage of the space, while maintaining chromatically the red velvet colors of the theater and fusing it with positive voyeurism, and the consumption pattern know-how to produce an anticipated visual experience solution,” explains Uy.

Great design involves a lot of elements – proportions, integrity, materiality, function, form, color, and time. But in order for them to works, we need balance. Extremes are easy, but balance requires the delicate talent of knowing when to add and when to subtract. When to move forward and when to step back.

Standing Bar Foot Rest in Brass

There are two entrances for the guests, one leads to the bar-coffee area and the other to the breakfast/lunchroom. Going in further, the standing cocktail area warmly greets the guests. The double-side cocktail bar area with high seats leads guests to the Privé dining area, having high back lounge chairs and movable lamps. Exhibiting that black mood is the elegant washrooms located at the further side of the restaurant. Unknown to most is the secret back entrance that leads to a VIP room, all in graffiti and torn theater posters.

MVUY team went under a difficult heritage conservation approval process from the theater foundation, the cultural bureau, and the municipality. The terrazzo flooring, the column capitals, the arches, the window mullions had to be retained while at the same time, give the place a more contemporary feel. There’s a need to balance the past, the present and look forward to its future. To also balance the design and the time to fulfill the designs are of utmost importance in this project.

As a global Filipino architect, my design strength is to showcase the various opportunities that I had been exposed to. Some might call it simply “eclectic”. This is who we are, and we should embrace it rather than pretending that there can be only one coherent all-encompassing Filipino style. This has never happened during our recorded colonial history, this did not happen in the pre-colonial Philippines, I strongly doubt that this is neither the future of our design. Eclecticism should come with great taste and restraint,

The Low-Relief Wall with Ornamental Details and Juta Print

On Global Designs

Michael developed his style from the prestigious design studios he had worked for, both in Milan and abroad. He served as the Regional Store Planning Manager for Dolce & Gabbana, for their boutiques in the Middle East and the Caribbean. His experience at the crossroads of fashion, design, and architecture all manifests in his attention to joinery details and finishes. His recent and ongoing works involve the historical restaurant of Milano Teatro Alla Scala, the series of high-profile private villas, and the Residences at Mandarin Oriental Tel Aviv. Vastly diverse, Michael’s portfolio calibrates subtle history with the contemporary, the fine details that improve the experience, the contrasted spatial harmony, and the unique hints of the Orient woven with design savoir-faire of the west.

On the nearing Connecting to the New Modern BluPrint Webinar, Michael Vincent Uy will be one of the resource speakers and his talk will focus on how global influences are great resources for finding that sweet balance between local and international and marrying them into one cohesive, functional design. The unconventional elements that help address design solutions, whether it can work together with traditional methods or simply stray from them completely.

Join Michael Vincent Uy, the Filipino Milan-based architect and principal of the brand MVUY, where details, curation, and perfection are of prime importance, in his talk entitled “Global Designs: Groundbreaking Design Explorations that Break Away from Mainstream Ideals”.


January 27-28 2022, From 3pm-5pm

Check out BluPrint’s Facebook event page to stay tuned for more details about the event:

Click on this link to register:

Photo Credits: MVUY and Luca di Meo ©

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