As usual, Milan Design Week was a whirlwind as architects, designers, dealers, journalists, and PR firms descended to the most storied furniture brands pavilions at Salone del Mobile and showrooms across the city. Here are a few highlights from the week:
Salone del Mobile Rho Fiera
The main event, particularly for the trade, spans over two million square meters and is housed in building by Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas. Thousands of pavilions were carefully crafted to attract furniture buyers, dealers, and press for the 55th Salone del Mobile. The larger brands have teams who spend up to a year designing pavilions, which have to be assembled in a week. Some impressive pavilions this year included Cassina’s recreation of the Rietveld Pavillion built in Holland in the 1955. Also impressive was Kartell’s “Talking Minds,” where each designer had his or her own “room” with video interviews playing on loop explaining the inspiration and methodology behind the designs, Arper’s carefully curated color stories, and Dedon’s verdant “Jungalow.” Cosentino’s creative rooms around the world by Canadian studio Ciccone Simone, complete with a full cafe serving up drinks and charcuterie.
A must-see for all, Rossana Orlandi’s gallery features a wide range of up-and-coming and independent designers from around the globe. This year, Spazio Orlandi was accompanied by Marta Di Bibendum next door where AirBnB and Ambra Medda hosted the extremely popular Makers and Bakers event. The entire café was furnished with the designs for people to use as they ate in the café. Norwegian Gallerie S.e. also hosted a minimal space with luxurious furniture in rich metals and velvet. Incredible designers such as Maarten Baas, Piet Hein Eek, Yukiko Nagai, Alcarol, and Nika Zupanc.
Set in Milan’s Sempione park, this year’s XXI Triennale theme “21st Century: Design After Design” was interpreted into exhibits such as Stanze (Rooms), Architecture as Art, Neo Preistoria, La Metropoli Multietnica, and more. We particularly enjoyed the Stanze at the Triennale musem, where visitors walked through a series of rooms designed by notable figures—Gio Ponti, Franco Albini, Carlo Mollino, Carlo Scarpa, Carlo De Carli, Vittoriano Viganò, Ettore Sottsass, Joe Colombo, etc—as well as newer architects, such as Andrea Anastasio, Fabio Novembre, Duilio Forte, Elisabetta Terragni, Carlo Ratti, and Francesco Librizzi. The focus was on Milan’s reputation as having architecture with plain exteriors and stunning interiors.
Set in the stunning, hyper-elaborate rococo Clerici palazzo, young designers presented forward-thinking designs and concepts. RAM House by PROKOSS + Space Caviar offered a place to sit in the courtyard.
Inside the space, Aldo Bakker’s amorphous video installation Pause offered a preview of his upcoming retrospective at CID Grand-Hornu. SapienStone’s Smart Slab is an integrated cooktop design with technology that allows almost quarter-inch-thick stone to be heated, cooled, or transformed into a stovetop by touching the interactive surface. Textile brand Buro Belen used natural dyes that slowly change over time, reacting to touch, sun, and wear to show how materials interact with their users.
To learn more about some of the designers we saw at Atelier Clerci, don’t miss our upcoming May Interiors issue!
A sprawling neighborhood of showrooms for both furniture and fashion houses, a few Brera highlights included the incredible HAY market, a gymnasium with maze-like rooms packed out with the company’s wares. Hem presented a series of ice cream socials to celebrate Max Lamb’s new “Last Stool Splatter” collection. In addition there were works by Philippe Malouin, Karoline Fesser, and Studio DeFORM. The showrooms by Valcucine, DePadova, Boffi, Miele, Agape, Cappellini, Fantini, and more, opened their doors to display new designs and offer cocktails each night.
The Hotel Wallpaper in the Via San Gregorio arcade displayed collaborations among architects and designers to create a “hotel” with a bar, bedroom, bathroom, lounge area, and even a mini golf course created with thick Bolon fabric (a sponsor of the exhibit).
Part block party, part exhibition space, Via Tortona hosted the SuperDesign Show and a gamut of events featuring designs by major brands and designers, such as Marcel Wanders, Naoto Fukasawa, and Maarten Baas.
The SuperDesign Show, 10,000 square meters of space, chose the theme White Pages, that according to the press release, “implies writing together the world waiting for us tomorrow…. An invitation to exhibit not only ready-to-use objects and proposals but also futuristic and experimental projects and to ‘narrate’ them to the public with words and installations in an ideal ‘white page.’”
Clothing and company COS collaborated with Sou Fujimoto for this room filled with fog, cones of light, and custom-made noises.
Located in a former gym in the north east Section of Milan, Spazio Lambrate features designers such as Roberto Negri, Arredi Siamo Scarti, Agostino Favarelli, and Laura Daza. It is part of a burgeoning creative district in Milan and we predict it will continue to be an important part of future saloni.