The Milan Design Week is still arguably the biggest design event on the design calendar. This year more than 300,000 visitors are expected, over 2000 exhibitors along with various talks, exhibitions and furniture and product fairs.
In addition to the Salone del Mobile in Rho Fiera it consists of clusters of design events spread out through the city of Milan. if you want to catch up with anyone this is the place and time to do it. Some areas that have been used in the past are run-down and in process of development, such as buildings in the Zona Tortona or the Ventura Centrale (old warehouses adjacent tot he Central Station) or the Ventura Lambrate. For those that are not only visiting the Salone del Mobile that gives each year its special dynamic and character.
Most design companies do their product launches in Milan, often in stunning locations in the city itself.
Hidden Art has been launching products from our designers for many years and from 2005 – 2010 have taken a stand in the Salone Satelite. This year was the 20th anniversary of the Salone Satelite and we were pleased that 7 of our designers were included in the show. You can read more about the exhibition below.
With so much to see it is not easy to come up with the main themes of the year, so each one makes his own choice from what he/she has managed to see. We arrived on Monday 3 April and left on the Saturday 8 April. One day longer than normally but we still felt we didn’t have enough time to see it all.
So this is a summary of what we visited and what we liked. First of all definitely for me this year it was about immersive experiences. It was brilliantly summarised by Tom Dixon as Milan this year being the “ Glastonbury of Design, a huge explosion of ideas, colours, shapes and functions, a massive influx of design obsessives all seeking the latest ideas.”
Passeggiata: An Airbnb Experience of Milan
Curated by Montine Mondadori, Passeggiata: An Airbnb Experience of Milan had taken over the Casa degli Atellani, where Da Vinci resided while painting The Last Supper.
Personal objects of well-known and up and coming designers and architects such as Faye Goodood were placed among bookshelves, baroque tables and window ledges like a huge cabinet of curiosities.
It included a live classical concert in the garden by musicians of the Filarmonica della Scala on the opening day. It was also the meeting point for a series of designer-led tours of local destinations.
Hidden Art at Salone Satellite: 20 years of New Creativity
The exhibition brought together more than 500 projects and designers who have taken part in the Salone Satelite since its inception in 1998. It presented an anthology of pieces that have gone into production or have influenced future work, It included 7 Hidden Art designers.
Ryan Frank – Grapple Hook. Exhibited with Hidden Art in 2007
Nick Fraser – Hall Stand. Exhibited with Hidden Art in 2005
Anthony Dickens – Origami Side Table. Exhibited with Hidden Art in 2007
Gareth Neal – Anne Table and George Chest. Exhibited with Hidden Art in 2008
Jake Phipps – Jeeves and Wooster Lights. Exhibited with Hidden Art in 2008
Kirsty Whyte – Array Bowls and Drew Range. Exhibited with Hidden Art in 2010
Bright Potato – Peg. On Hidden Art E-Shop.
Salone Satelite in the Fiera
Bright Potato that sells their work on the Hidden Art E-Shop also had a presence at the Salone Satelite in the main Fair.
Salone del Mobile
Undoubtedly the biggest furniture fair in the world. 14 halls and over 2,400 exhibitors and more than 300,000 visitors from over 165 different countries. This year it also included Euroluce, the Fair focused on lighting.
Kartell’s show was called ContamiNation. They defined it as follows: On the design planet, Kartell is a Nation contaminated by different ideas and styles. It has no limits or boundaries and no barriers stand in the way of creativity, which roams freely inside the Nation. Kartell’s population is a mixture of ethnic groups and thoughts. Its territory is crossed by rivers of colours and vast expanses of projects and volcanoes from which new technologies and the energies of continuous innovation erupt.
During Milan Design Week you also find design in unexpected places such as in Corso Como.
Holy Handmade! A Temple of Devine Design from Wallpaper
Mediateca Santa Teresa, a former church on Via Della Moscova, Milan.
Holy Handmade! Is a ritual celebration of divine inspiration, high craft and the sacred union of miraculous materials, the maker’s mark and the odd infernal machine.
Designers have been asked to reimagine ritual, rework worship and reconsider the communal.
Stairway to Heaven – Snoehetta, Erik Joergensen Moebelfabrik and Everything Elevated.
The Veil – Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec and Lesage Interieures
Via Savona 56, Milan
A Life Extraordinary!
Exploring the worlds of Interiors, this year’s presentation consisted of different areas which all have their own functional appearance reflecting Moooi’s ideas around interior settings like hotels, offices, hhomes and bars.
With hospitality in mind Moooi created an atmosphere of extraordinary attention and dedication and invited people to come closer. Within this context Moooi launched over 20 new designs and product extensions.
Photography was by Levon Biss showing his Microsculpture Series the Hidden World of microscopic insect portraits.
Via Dante 14
There was some lovely work at Designersblock.
Bodging Milano and Chris Eckersley
Bodging Milano originally came about when artist and designer Chris Eckersley was asked to design a chair for the Midlands furniture company Sitting Firm. The resulting chairs (called ‘Arden’) were a modern development on the standard English Windsor Chair.
Later on Chris came across Gudrun Leitz’s chairmaking courses and thought he should research green-woodworking (a.k.a ‘bodging’) to see what it was all about. He sent some pictures back from the woods to Rory Dodd at Designersblock, who said: wouldn’t it be great to do something like that and present it at the Salone del Mobile in Milan? So Bodging Milano was born.
Chris Eckersley has been researching the old chairs and he has not just copied them, but he has taken the ‘feel’ of each chair and updated it for today. This exactly fitted the philosophy behind Sitting Firm Chairmakers, whose founder Dave Green is keeping the Windsor Chair tradition alive by making it relevant for the 21st century living. The first piece in the Modern Regionals collection is the ‘modern Mendlesham’.
Candice specialises in leather products including hanging planters in addition to purses.
The Ventura Centrale was based in a series of abandoned warehouses at Milan Central Station.
Lee broom launched TIME MACHINE its 10 year show at the Salone. He showcased a limited collection of furniture, lighting and accessories from the past 10 years all reimagined in whit and in new materials and finishes. Set inside a disused vault in the famous and historic Milano Centrale Station, the location provided a memorable background. Limited to ten editions of each design. The collection was presented on a dramatic and modernist interpretation of a fairground carousel placed in the centre of the Milano Centrale Station vault. He also revelated a new and exclusive design in the form of a limited edition handcrafted Carrara marble grandfather clock. This is also a limited edition, an edition of ten, one for each year Broom celebrates.
The exhibition by Maarten Baas for Lensvelt is called May I Have Your Attention Please? The exhibition presents the 101 Chairs and the Maarten Baas table, both produced by Lensvelt. The chairs are grouped in the centre of a space, set up as a sort of theatrical stage, encircled by a ‘forest; of stems such support hundreds of metal megaphones of every possible size. The megaphones spread around the sounds of thousands of voices. The design of the 101 Chairs combines the idea of a series with uniqueness and aims to bypass serial industrial production. The chairs are identical yet different. Despite being serially produced, each of the chairs is unique.
I am Tired of Eating Fish, a site-specific project by Paola Pivi curated by Cloe Piccoli . Paola Pivi puts her famous feathered bears inside the eight windows of La Rinascenta Department Store. The main protagonists of the installation are feathered polar bears which Paola Pivi shows in different situations and postures that show references to art, design, lifestyles and to free time, nature and to work.
The installation invites people to enter the universe of the artist, a surreal world governed by the laws of the absurd, a daydream where anything is possible.
All of Tom Dixon’s new collections were on display at Multiplex, a two-story temporary exhibition space housed in a 840 seat cinema built in the 1950s alongside pop-ups from brands such as Sonos and Mabeo. The exhibition takes visitors around a fully immersive experience themed Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
The year of Euroluce – new lights include CUT alongside the veterans MELT which has an addition to the family MELT Surface.
He will also be unveiling his upcoming collaboration with Ikea – a ‘living platform’ bed-cum-sofa, which comes with an open source aluminium frame that allows for add-ons and modifications such as lamps and side tables to suit people’s personal tastes.
The organiser (Margriet Vollenberg, director Ventura Projects) defines The Ventura Lambrate as “the place that presents the ideas, the concepts and the products of emerging talents, innovative brands and design academies from all around the world, Ventura Centrale is a pop-up museum where you can revel in the work of some of the most important names of the design scene “
This year for the first time it was also home to Ikea’s Festival Let’s Make Room for Life.
It was a vibrant program of music, design, live acts and happenings that entertain, educate and inspire. It invited visitors from all over the world to share in an immersive experience about Democratic Design, ambient live acts and happenings to entertain, educate and inspire.
It was a place to rest and refresh during the busy Salone with tempting food and drink options, comfortable seating and plenty of recharging points. Inside a 3500ms warehouse space there was a Soft Spot Stage to hang out and recharge, which include yoga and music, as well as inspirational speakers.
It also facilitated a digital collaborative workshop. The Ikea Today Stage offered a behind -the-scenes peek at product development. Workshops and prototyping sessions include a painting robot. the Rooms for Life Stage, with different living rooms styled by experts, the IKEA Food market5 and the Dezeen Lounge.