Lucas Oliver Mill of @CollectorWalls Paints Milan Red at Salone

Lucas Oliver Mill

Lucas Oliver Mill, photographed by Mitchell Nugent.

Between bowls of spaghetti bolognese and negroni-fueled gossip sessions at Bar Basso, design lovers flocked to Piazza San Fedele last Monday for the opening of On The Rocks, Bottega Veneta’s activation at this year’s Salone del Mobile. In partnership with Cassina and Fondation Le Corbusier, the installation showcased the Venetian luxury house’s adaptations of the LC14 Tabouret Cabanon, the iconic Jeanneret design that received two fashionable makeovers for Milan Design Week: one appliqued in a charred-wood technique, and the other in a technicolor Intreccio weave. Like a live game of Tetris, cocktail-goers experienced an install that resembled the old fashioned cocktails being served on silver trays: a cascade of whiskey-colored boxes that toppled over like ice cubes falling from the venue’s vaulted ceilings. One such guest was Lucas Oliver Mill, the art advisor and brain behind @collectorwalls, the Instagram account that boasts a bevy of art and interior research with whom I talked about Le Corbusier, Gianni Agnelli’s iconic pad, and getting foot massages next to Julianne Moore.


MITCHELL  NUGENT: We’re here at On The Rocks. What’s your first impression of the installation?

LUCAS OLIVER MILL: The first thing that struck me when I filmed was the lighting was super intense. It kind of reminded me a bit of something out of a Caravaggio painting—this kind of really intense spotlight on this mountain. Then I noticed these pops of color and got a bit closer and you immediately noticed the classic leatherwork that’s characteristic of Bottega Veneta at this point, and I just thought it was a really interesting take and a very natural harmony of design and fashion coming together that didn’t feel forced.

NUGENT: I also love that the stools were recycled from Matthieu Blazy’s show back in February.

MILL:  Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, I remember that. I was very intrigued by the whole thing. Someone that doesn’t know Le Corbusier, they’ll kind of look at these—I hate to call them crates, but that’s kind of what they are at the end of the day, or what they were inspired by. And elevating that with the leatherwork of Bottega is a really fascinating development. So yeah, I love it.

NUGENT: Interview worked on a fun project with the brand for the Winter 24 show, and when I arrived at the venue I was so gobsmacked  by the floor and stools. I knew the stools would be sold at Salone, but I was like, “What are you guys doing with that floor after the show? Can I take them for my walls at home?” 

MILL: [Laughs] Yeah. Also, on a side note, that what’s so great about Bottega as a brand and their involvement with Design Week and design at large: this kind of this progression of integrating a designer into the fashion show like they did with Gaetano Pesce a few seasons back. And then it kind of spills over into the activities with Design Week. It never feels forced, and all the collaborations seem very considered and kind of leveraged Bottega’s skill as a brand and their focus on color and leatherwork.

Lucas Oliver Mill


NUGENT: If you were to buy one of the Intreccio leather LC14’s, which color would you get? 

MILL: I think it’s the burgundy colored. I don’t know if you can see [in this light], but I’m actually wearing a burgundy sweater right now. It’s my favorite color. A third of my closet is all burgundy clothes. Red is my favorite color when it comes to art, so I love anything with red undertones.

NUGENT: Everyone in design right now keeps talking about a “surprise red,” so you’re right on trend.

MILL: Oh, I like that. The reason I love the burgundy one and maybe why it’s the color I’m thinking about most these days is ’cause I just went to go see this amazing Rothko show in Paris. They had this huge retrospective, and burgundy and red were two of the most prevalent colors throughout his work and particularly his later works, when he was kind of spiraling a little bit.

NUGENT: I live for a good spiral. Is there an aspect or specific piece from Corbusier’s oeuvre that you really liked?

MILL: Yeah, funnily enough, the first piece of design I ever bought was a pair of LC1 chairs, which are kind of the classic Corbusier armchairs. Not the really puffy ones you see in the dentist’s office, but the really chic ones with straps as arms. So yeah, I bought a pair of the LC1 chairs, and that was kind of my gateway into discovering design and all of its possibilities, and it got me into collecting. I kind of credit his designs to kind of opening up this new obsession of mine.

MITCH NUGENT: I love that. The LC14 was inspired by that washed up whiskey box. How do you take your whiskey?

MILL: I’m not the biggest whiskey drinker but when I do drink whiskey, I like to have it with one ice cube, ideally a large ice cube so that it doesn’t melt and water down the whiskey too much. And my favorite whiskeys are always Japanese whiskeys. There’s a brand of Japanese whiskey called Nikka From The Barrel and I buy that a lot and drink it on occasion.

Lucas Oliver Mill 

MITCH NUGENT: So Japanese whiskey, on the rocks. I’m obsessed with your Instagram @collectorwalls. Tell me what makes for a really fabulous wall.

MILL: An interesting question. One of the things that has always attracted me when looking at collector’s homes and interiors is the dramatic use of scale, so either a painting or an artwork that’s really big or really small. For me, there’s no in-between. I love a huge painting with maybe some small objects of design or, on the flip side, a very, very small, delicate painting with some oversized design pieces. I love that dialogue of varying scales and just making it a little bit dramatic.

NUGENT: Was there a wall at Salone that made you drool?

MILL: I don’t know if this counts because technically it wasn’t at Salone, but it is in Milan, and it’s my favorite place in Milan. It’s a place called Villa Necchi Campiglio, which you probably know. There is a specific wall upstairs, it’s a study and they have a series of [Amedeo] Modigliani drawings hanging above the desk. I’ve always loved that whole room.

NUGENT: That place speaks to my soul. You can just scatter my ashes at Villa Necchi! I’m curious if there’s anything specific that you collect. For me personally, I am really obsessed with Elsa Peretti homeware. I started collecting her original pieces from the 1970s and I have so many iterations of the bone candlesticks.

MILL: I collect a lot of vintage art books because that’s where I get a lot of source material for my Instagram. So vintage interior books, vintage art books. I have fallen down this kind of rabbit hole where I’m obsessed with vintage Cy Twombly books. Cy Twombly’s one of my favorite artists and there is this whole group of people who collect his books specifically. They go for tens of thousands, so I’m always trying to hunt them down in vintage bookstores to see if I can find anything good. God, what else do I collect? I collect a lot of lamps, specifically Italian design from the ’60s. And chopsticks as well. I eat a lot of sushi and I have a lot of pairs of chopsticks.

NUGENT: Ha, very niche. I love that.

Lucas Oliver Mill

MILL: I recently discovered metal chopsticks. Maybe that’s like a sin in Japan, but I love it. I think they’re great and they’re so chic.

NUGENT: For the magazine’s 50th anniversary back in 2019,  we hosted a dinner at Indochine and we made custom chopsticks with different Warhol quotes on them.

MILL: I need to add that to my collection.

NUGENT: I’ll send you some. I have probably 300 of them.

MILL: Please do.

NUGENT: How do you curate your Instagram feed? 

MILL: I used to work as a researcher as my first job for an auction house and I spent a lot of time in the library there. I was just surrounded by old interior books and art books and I slowly started building a catalog of all these amazing archival photos that I discovered over the years. And more recently I’ve been doing a lot of reading, so I read a lot of books on art collectors and the stories of how they came to collect certain pieces of art or design. I always try to open up new dialogues around an individual or a collector. For instance, someone I post a lot of on my profile is Miuccia Prada, and I’m really interested in her art collection. So I post a lot about her relationship with Lucio Fontana and how she’s collecting Fontana’s work.

NUGENT: Have you read the book The Castle on Sunset?

MILL: No, I haven’t. It’s on my list.

NUGENT: Yes. What you said make me think of it. I am a huge fan of the Chateau Marmont, and they not only talk about the development of the interiors and how it’s changed with every owner, but also how it hasn’t changed, and how that hotel really defined the landscape of Los Angeles from a street and neighborhood perspective. It’s defined a lot of aspects about L.A.

MILL: L.A. architecture is fascinating to me. I kind of love this whole crumbling, old Hollywood aesthetic. Actually, maybe one more thing about my Instagram is that a lot of my posts are inspired by what’s happening in culture recently. So for instance, I was watching the new Ryan Murphy show, Capote vs. The Swans, and as a result of that I fell into a deep dive of researching all of the homes of the Swans and their art collections.

MITCH NUGENT: There’s a really amazing anecdote in Bob Colacello’s Holy Terror about Truman Capote. When Capote was on the cover of Interview in 1979, he was so obsessed with his cover that he ordered crates of the magazine. He wanted so many copies of it that he actually wallpapered one of his rooms in his apartment completely with the cover.

MILL: That’s great. I love that.

NUGENT: Bottega has this famous slogan from their first advertisements. It’s like, “When your own initials are enough.” What are the initials of your favorite or most famous follower?

MILL: Okay, so it’s a hard one. Someone that I think is famous may not be considered quite as famous by someone else. But I would say my favorite famous follower, the initials are J.M, and they’ve been on the cover of Interview magazine before. 

NUGENT: I’ll guess. Julianne Moore

MILL: Yeah, that’s my personal favorite. She’s just an incredible actress. I grew up watching her in movies, and she also loves design as well, which is something I more recently discovered. I mean, I had seen her home tour on Architectural Digest, but I was a little starstruck.

NUGENT: Both she and her husband are so, so lovely. I just met them at the Bottega show when we did that project a couple months ago. One of my favorite haunts in New York is this foot massage place on West 8th Street. One time I had a foot massage next to Julianne and I was gooped. It’s like, $25 for an 40-minute foot massage, and that’s one of my favorite New York memories. 

MILL: I feel like that kind of stuff only happens in New York.

NUGENT: Most definitely. I’ve never gotten a footage massage next to Lily Rose Depp in Paris [laughs]. My dream in life is to live in Halston’s 101 East 63rd Street townhouse. Is there a dream space that you would kill to live in?

MILL: Halston’s would’ve been up there. An apartment I’ve always loved is Gianni Agnelli’s Milan apartment from the 1960s. It was designed by Gae Aulenti and Gianni Agnelli. I mean, people know him for his impeccable fashion, but another aspect of him I’ve always found really interesting is his obsession with art and design. I love Gae Aulenti, especially her lamps, and she was such a pioneering designer. And Marc Jacobs, I love his art collection and how he curates spaces.

NUGENT: He’s so fabulous, I love him. What was the best thing that you saw during the past week?

MILL: There was a pop-up by a design team called Studioutte

NUGENT: Oh yes, Patrizio Gola is so lovely. I just saw him at Bar Basso last night. 

MILL: I went to go see his little pop up and I thought the whole installation was so great. It kind of reminded me of Twin Peaks or something like that. They’re doing some really interesting projects at the moment and they’re both very young, so I’m excited to see what they end up doing.

NUGENT: What sort of interior elements give you the ick?

MILL: Decorative wallpaper. I hate really any kind of wallpaper, to be honest. I know as a British person, maybe I should like wallpaper because we have wallpaper in basically every public building. 

MITCH NUGENT: No. Wallpaper. Ever. Got it!

MILL: [Laughs] Yeah. I hope you don’t take offense to that statement.

NUGENT: What’s the juiciest gossip that you’ve heard during Salone?

MILL: The juiciest gossip would be that Sotheby’s is coming out with a new publication in September. I think it’s going to be amazing. 

NUGENT: And I heard you’re going to be a contributing editor. Congratulations! I’m excited to see what the team and Kristina O’Neill has cooking!

MILL: I mean, feel free to mention that, but I don’t know how juicy that is. Otherwise, it was my first time in Design Week and I was just a bit overwhelmed. I got to meet Jonathan Anderson, that was fun. But he didn’t give me any juicy gossip. 

NUGENT: Veal Milanese or risotto Milanese?

MILL: Veal. It was the best thing I ate when I landed in Milan. We have it here in London, but it’s not good.

NUGENT: What’s your go-to Bar Basso order?

MILL: I would say probably just a classic Negroni, I heard that’s what they’re most famous for.

NUGENT: They invented the Sbagliato, iconic! What do you love about Milan?

MILL: I love the city’s appreciation for design. I mean, other than Paris, I don’t really know any other city that embraces design to that level. And then I love all of the entryways of the buildings. I know there’s actually this coffee table book called Entryways of Milan. I don’t know if you’ve also noticed, but the little intercoms are often gold-plated and engraved. And even the street signs are these amazing stone-engraved designs. It just makes London look embarrassing in comparison. So yeah, I love all of the design details around the city.

MITCH NUGENT: Bellissima, indeed!