The Nu Hotel project emerged out of informal discussions between Massimo Gao, a Chinese businessman, and Milanese architects Nisi Magnoni and Sabrina Gallini. Their aim was to create an Art Hotel. They envisioned a novel unconventional building, all of whose architectural features, from the room floor plans to the distribution of the common areas, to the choice of materials used, would blend into a single ambiance, made of essence and raw unrefined materials, with the accent on a language in part already known and recognisable from the style of the restaurants owned by the Gao family. The design came to life with the clearing out of an existing building at 19/b Via Feltre. All of the building's contents were removed apart from its outer walls. Five floors were built including the terrace, designed to host the NU Italian Restaurant, 38 rooms, a meeting room, a lounge bar and a balcony overlooking the lobby.