Zona Corso Magenta, one of the oldest parts of Milan and most famous for Leonardo da Vinci's sublime depiction of The Last Supper in the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie, has always been my family's base. My fabric and textile showroom C&C Milano () and neighbouring Son Milano (), for my furniture and design accessories, are both in this area, on via Zenale. In my view, Rossana Orlandi () is a true creative genius and Milan's greatest champion of contemporary design. Her eponymous gallery and shop, with a sun-dappled courtyard and café at the back, showcases unique or limited-edition works from international emerging talent. In beautiful Piazza Tommaseo - the magnolias in spring are spectacular - sister brands Pupi Solari for womenswear and children's clothes and Host for menswear (pupisolari.com) are the city's fashion benchmarks.
Brera, Milan's former artistic and bohemian quarter, is known for its cobbled streets and cornucopia of shops and bars. There are numerous browsing opportunities, but two of my favourites are the Boffi Solferino kitchen and bathroom showroom () - an architectural and design masterpiece - and the Fornasetti store (), where the whimsical, surreal decorative creations of Piero Fornasetti are now overseen by his son, Barnaba - a good friend of mine. I always enjoy a visit to Il Segno del Tempo (), a brilliantly eccentric shop for canes, walking sticks, industrial furniture, sculpture and one-off design pieces. For fashion, I go to Massimo Alba ().
Revitalised for Expo Milano 2015, the harbour and canal area around Darsena and Porta Genova is the trendiest part of the city for the young designer crowd. Via Savona and via Tortona are the hub for shops, studios, bars and restaurants. For fabulous furniture and accessories in bronze and brass, I go to Carati Ambrogio (). For lighting, nowhere is better than G B Tansini (), which has a showroom at viale d'Annunzio Gabriele and a warehouse on the edge of the city with thousands of chandeliers.
Food and drink
After a huge restoration project, Leonardo's Vineyard () opened this year for Expo Milano 2015. Combine a trip there and to the wonderful Renaissance Casa degli Atellani with breakfast or a light lunch at the newly opened café. In Brera, La Latteria San Marco is a traditional Milanese trattoria, where the welcome is warm and the food superb. Try the risotto all'arturo, with its cold, freshly squeezed tomato sauce, or the delicious spaghetti al limone.
Langosteria 10 on via Savona () is one of the best fish restaurants in Milan, offering a huge variety of super-fresh seafood in an attractive environment. Don't miss Porta Genova's lively Metropolitan Market () for amazing produce, regional specialities and street food.
A stone's throw from La Scala, the Mandarin Oriental () is Milan's new hotspot. Architecture and interiors - overseen by design maestro Antonio Citterio - are at the heart of the hotel but, for wow factor, check out the geometric-patterned Mandarin Bar Bistro. Double rooms start at about £600.
An Art Director's guide to Milan