Milano Design Week

Report from Design Week in Milan

In April every year, the largest and most important event in the design world is held in Milan. Team Formex was naturally on location to see the most recent developments within the design industry. Here is a sample of the places and exhibitions we visited during the week. Don’t miss our list of the clearest trends from Milan.

Salone del Mobile.Milano

Interior designers, architects, designers, producers, suppliers, exhibitors, trendsetters and design enthusiasts flock to the enormous furniture fair Salone del Mobile.Milano, which features 14 gigantic and well-stocked halls. There were 650 designers at Salone Satellite, which is the fair’s department for new and unestablished designers and various design schools, where we met the Formex Nova winner from 2017, Qian Jiang, with an exhibition from his company Studio Dejawu. More information!

Milano Design Week - Fuorisalone

It is not only the fair that attracts visitors; it is estimated that the extensive schedule of parallel events in the city draws roughly half a million visitors. Add to the mix that many of the design installations throughout the city are open to everyone, both residents of Milan and visitors, and it is often crowded at the most popular addresses and there are lines to visit the most publicized designers or brands.

The Design Week program covers six days, and most events are in Brera Design District, 5 Vie Art+Design, Tortona Design Week, Triennale di Milano and Ventura Centrale. It is not easy to get an overview of everything that is on offer, but the magazine Interni lists most of the major activities in a printed design guide.  And Fuorisalone, a communications platform, lists the events in an app, also including other design-related sectors such as industrial design with cars, technology, and telecommunications but also art, fashion and food. More information!

Brera Design District. For those with limited time, Brera is a safe bet, and almost every address along Via Solferino and Via Brera offers some kind of design activity. Just look for the flags that mark the location of a listed and official event. Pinacoteca di Brera and Orto Botanico di Brera are two musts.

HEMMA gone wild was at via Solferino 15. The concept “HEMMA gone wild” is part of the Swedish design initiative Swedish Design Moves and is being managed by the Swedish Society of Crafts and Design, which in turn invited Joyn Studio to create an exhibition with beautiful scenography and many strong Swedish design and furniture companies over two floors.

Interni, which lists events and prints the official event catalogue, is always in the University area, which is a good starting point for first-time visitors to Design Week. Pick up the printed guide here and have a chat with Interni’s helpful staff members.

Via Durini, located in the quarters surrounding the cathedral in downtown Milan, has increasingly become home to a number of prestigious international design companies, and these companies form the Durini Design District. More information!

5 Vie Art+Design: There are also a lot of activities arranged in this area, which encompasses significantly more than five streets. One truly wonderful experience was to visit a private home at villa Casa degli Atellani, once Piero Portaluppis’s residence. Leonardo da Vinci’s vineyard is also located here, and it is open to visitors during other times of the year, as well. More information!

A must-see in Milan regardless of whether it is Design Week or not is of course Rossana Orlandi’s store and gallery and the 10 Corso Como lifestyle store, which is close to Porta Garibaldi and the Garibaldi train station. More information!

Isola Design District is a fairly new initiative in the attractive Isola neighborhood, and it is definitely worth keeping an eye on. Here, sightings of the trendy beard increase sharply after passing Bosco Verticale on the way to the neighborhood. The initiative is also strengthened by an ambitious food program held the same week with Isola Food District.

Trends from Milan

- Giant green plants from the 1970s and Japanese maples again this year.

- Bulky stuffed furniture, with a design that hints of cartoon magazines.

- New and antique blended together, and we saw a never-ending number of magnificent still lifes.

- Marble and stone continue to be big, but we must not forget that we are in Italy…

- Ceramics, small-scale or more industrially exciting shapes and colors.

- Tile, tile, and more tile.

- The 1980s, and Memphis design in particular, is a clear source of inspiration.