Milano Design Week, towards new frontiers

Back to their usual slot in the month of April, the Salone del Mobile and the FuoriSalone were a moment of confrontation and an opportunity to think about the various issues involved in design and more

by Mariateresa Campolongo – photo by courtesy Salone del Mobile.Milano

Above, at the Euroluce fair, Workmates was part of the new Flos products that characterised the stand designed by Calvi Brambilla.

A city in ferment, a strong desire to move, to personally interact with designers and companies and to have a first-hand experience of as many objects and installations as possible. The 2023 Salone del Mobile and Milano Design Week reminded us of the golden editions, whose numbers were probably even surpassed this year.

Giorgetti’s proposal in its new showroom in Via della Spiga 31 was an experience developing over several floors. A glass corridor on the side leads to the ground floor which, like in a scenic box, offers constantly new suggestions to people walking by.

What is certain is that we were able to ascertain a decidedly high level of quality in this last edition. It was naturally impossible to participate in all 949 events in the programme, but every occasion to observe the exhibited novelties was no doubt a valuable input that triggered several reflections and helped me understand the new trends in design and beyond.

Pininfarina x Reflex, 
Sedia Nido.

«THE 2023 EDITION WAS A HUGE SUCCESS, WITH 307,418 VISITORS IN SIX DAYS, A 15% INCREASE CONCERNING THE NUMBERS IN 2022. BUT ABOVE ALL, IT WAS AN EDITION WITH TOP-QUALITY VISITORS».
MARIA PORRO, PRESIDENT
OF THE SALONE DEL MOBILE

Maria Porro, President of the Salone del Mobile, commented: «The 61st edition was an international success and we feel great satisfaction in having exceeded all expectations. The footfall was exceptional and the result of our efforts to attribute new meanings and values to the visit in the fair and offer new experiences to all visitors who decided to come and meet us».

Paola Lenti.

The set-up conceived for the 2023 Design Week staged both indoor and outdoor novelties in the wide spaces of Via Giovanni Bovio 28 – the brand’s future flagship store in Milan. The 25th year of Paola Lenti’s collaboration with Francesco Rota brings along the re-edition of the first indoor chaise longue Linea, and its twin for outdoor use, Wave, part of Aqua, the collection that celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Lively and contemporary colours, sinuous or geometric shapes, sophisticated colour combinations, suggestive patterns, and original choices of fabrics and materials, are the distinctive traits of the new collection.

One of the strengths of the FuoriSalone, as opposed to the majority of trade fairs of its kind, is that there are no pre-established itineraries to follow: behind every corner, you can discover something new and only your curiosity drives you to take in as much as possible.

Matrizia, More-So.

«THE SUCCESS OF THIS EDITION IS THE RESULT OF A FORMAT AND TRADE FAIR OFFER THAT HAS BEEN ABLE TO RETHINK AND RENEW ITSELF, ALSO THANKS TO THE LESSONS LEARNED DURING THE PANDEMIC».
CLAUDIO FELTRIN,
PRESIDENT
OF FEDERLEGNOARREDO

The FuoriSalone is a moment in which everyone can become familiar with the fascinating world of design, a term which is unfortunately still often abused and reduced in simplistic terms to synonyms of ‘beautiful’ or ‘beautiful line’, while the intrinsic meaning is much deeper and complex and could be defined as a catalyst of modernity and a possible solution to present and future problems.

Visionnaire.

‘L’impero dei Sensi’ (The Empire of Senses) is an immersive installation in the Wunderkammer of the Visionnaire Design Gallery. A synesthetic narrative based on a vision of Studiopepe – Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto – to describe the Shibari armchair, the Parade lighting system, and the Blanche set of two mirrors. The installation was a tribute to our senses as tools to explore and know the world.

The title of the 2023 edition, ‘Future Lab’, precisely refers to the desire for experimentation which is the soul of the FuoriSalone, intended as a large space in which companies, architects, universities, curators, designers and artists are called upon to imagine new visions and languages to innovate. All this while trying to avoid a clean break with the past and maintain historical memory alive since this memory needs to be treated as a treasure, as in Cassina’s masterful exhibition ‘Echoes, 50 years of iMaestri’ curated by art director Patricia Urquiola with Federica Sala at Palazzo Broggi.

THE MINOTTI PAVILION AT SALONE DEL MOBILE WAS A SPECTACULAR PLACE WITH UNIQUE AND UNEXPECTED CHARACTERISTICS PROVIDING AN ALL-ROUND VISION OF THE HISTORY OF A BRAND THAT IS CELEBRATING ITS 75TH ANNIVERSARY THIS YEAR AND MOVING TOWARDS THE FUTURE WITH AN ABILITY TO RENEW ITSELF IN TIME WHILE REMAINING
SOLIDLY ROOTED IN ITS ORIGINS.

Minotti.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the iMaestri Collection, Cassina’s modern and industrial set-up conveyed the story of a unique method that the company put in place over time to edit the great classics by enhancing the authenticity and culture of design: a celebration of the past with a new vision directed towards the future.

MOLTENI WELCOMED A SELECTION OF GUESTS INVITED BY THE BRAND’S CREATIVE DIRECTOR VINCENT VAN DUYSEN IN ITS HEADQUARTERS IN GIUSSANO, BRIANZA, TO CELEBRATE THE COMPANY’S NEARLY
90 YEARS OF HISTORY IN THE DESIGN INDUSTRY
AND THE LAUNCH OF THE 2023 COLLECTION.

THE FOURTEENTH EDITION OF THE BRERA DESIGN WEEK TRIGGERED
A REFLECTION ON THE CHALLENGES OF THE CONTEMPORARY AGE,
WITH A PARTICULAR FOCUS ON PROJECTS AND PRACTICES CAPABLE
OF LAUNCHING ACTIONS FOR CHANGE.

The layout of Euroluce was highly appreciated by companies and is a point of departure to rethink all the environments of the Salone.

The theme ‘Future Lab’ was declined interestingly in all the city’s districts: the fourteenth edition of the Brera Design Week triggered a reflection on the challenges of the contemporary age, with a particular focus on projects and practices capable of launching actions for change. The future has been conceived as something you build with the quality of your present.

One of the installations that mostly captured people’s attention here was no doubt ‘Dry Days – tropical nights’, presented by glo™ together with Agostino Iacurci, who invited visitors to observe what our planet could look like in the future and to build a better future together. The Design Week was also the last opportunity to visit the impressive palazzo in Largo Treves designed by Arrigo Arrighetti which is soon to be demolished.

With the exhibition ‘Echoes: 50 years of iMaestri’ curated by Patricia Urquiola with Federica Sala, Cassina celebrated the 50th anniversary of theiMaestri Collection at Palazzo Broggi. The novelties exhibited in the brand’s showroom in Via Durini 16 included projects by Barber & Osgerby, Antonio Citterio, and Patricia Urquiola, in addition to other products celebrating the new maestri. The company presented its first authored lighting collection.

5VIE Design Week has reached its tenth edition and explored the main theme by working with ‘Design for Good’, i.e. an invitation to consider design as a tool to create and cultivate deeper human connections, given sustainability rooted in mutual care for each other. Widespread interest was also awakened by the installation ‘Meta-Physical’ presented by the brand JCP Universe. An opportunity to think about the boundaries between nature and artifice, reality and fiction, generated by Eliseo H. Zubiri’s original creative vision and by the multifaceted creative direction of CTRLZAK Studio. In the heart of the 5VIE district, the installation ‘Human Mandala’ by designer Sara Ricciardi represented an invitation for spectators to contemplate how we are all connected and how the world is connected to us.

30,000 m2 of exhibition space and the common theme of ‘Urban Metamorphosis’ for the Milan Design District, which once again asserts itself as a reality representing excellence in design. The Showrooms of brands like Cappellini, Cassina, De Padova, Foscarini, Luxury Living, Minotti, Molteni&C, and Natuzzi, – to quote but a few, – were the core of a dynamic and engaging circuit that provided creative input for all fans of the industry and gave them a chance to get a first-hand experience the various novelties launched by the different brands.

Qu.

“Infinitude. A circular lighting experience”, a circular organic and integrated project by Qu embracing the garden and indoor spaces where light is the fil rouge of the experience. The concept was conceived by architects Parisotto and Formenton.

The seventh edition of the Isola Design Festival featured seven collective exhibitions that focused mainly on issues like circular and regenerative furniture, collectable design, new craftsmanship, design tech and wellbeing. 

Talenti.

Talenti proposed its collections signed by Carlo Colombo, Ludovica and Roberto Palomba, Marco Acerbis, Ramón Esteve, and Nicola De Pellegrini, in a mix of shapes, colours, and materials celebrating outdoor furniture in all its creative power.

The project of the ID-EXE district focused on various aspects: the promotion of Made in Italy on an international scale, circular economy, sustainable manufacturing and new craftsmanship, technological and digital innovation, the design of public and private urban spaces, inclusive design and social sustainability.

The Tortona Design Week presented the topic ‘Future to Share’ to the larger public, expressing the desire to once again share a common future, expressed in all its acceptations: innovation, technology, and reprogramming of a daily routine which – at least in its usual form – seems to belong to a distant past.

Fiorella and Giorgio Besenzoni.

Flow is the installation presented at the Design Week by Besenzoni. It is a suspended staircase in a mirrored shell offering visitors a sense of the flow of things. When you get on board a boat there is a moment when you are almost suspended between land, sea, and sky in a sort of dreamlike scenario.

Some of the trends that cut across all exhibitions were the design of sensorial experiences, attention towards sustainability, the conscious use of technologies, and the interaction between people and their surroundings. The historical Salvatori showroom exhibited the new Hito collection designed by Piero Lissoni and the original claddings in the Wood Collection. An invitation to experience through sight and touch; the same aim pursued in the new collections by Vincent Darré and Studio KO for Bisazza.

Sanlorenzo.

‘The Impossible Machine’ is the exhibition event designed by Piero Lissoni for Sanlorenzo at Università degli Studi di Milano. The movement of the coloured propellers and notched wheels was made possible thanks to the new hydrogen system from green methanol which Sanlorenzo is developing in collaboration with Siemens Energy for the propulsion of its yachts.

A focus on sustainability was also the focal point of Piero Lissoni’s installation ‘The Impossible Machine’ for Sanlorenzo, which presented itself as a synthesis of the future of propulsion in pleasure boating. In the centre of the Cortile del Settecento in the Università degli Studi di Milano, the impressive metallic sculpture based on a platform with suggestive and colourful propellers and notched wheels invited visitors to reflect on the new hydrogen system from green methanol. The installation is an anticipation of the technology that Sanlorenzo is developing for the propulsion of its boats in collaboration with Siemens Energy, based on the use of combined modules of reformers/fuel cells. It will be employed to fuel on-board services on Sanlorenzo yachts between 24 and 73 metres in length, and starting in 2024 it will be inaugurated on the new 50Steel.

Azimut.

At the Milan Design Week 2023, Azimut presented The Sea Deck, an installation inspired by the Seadeck series and designed by Michele De Lucchi and AMDL CIRCLE. Architect Michele De Lucchi and his team interpreted the series’ philosophy as an emotional walk on water that tells of the desire to go beyond expectations and, as in the case of the new Seadeck yachts, to discover contact with nature again.

A journey to discover the technologies developed by Azimut Yachts to reduce environmental impact was the scope of the installation ‘The Sea Deck’, designed by AMDL Circle and Michele De Lucchi. It was created with sustainable and recyclable materials, such as the flooring made with bottle stoppers in recycled and ground cork, which will be subsequently re-processed and made into insulating material for architecture. ‘The Sea Deck’ was conceived as an authentic floating walk and a highly engaging experience that fully immersed visitors in the environment of the Darsena docks. In five interactive stations, the installation was transformed into the story of a new series of hybrid yachts based on the intention to lower CO2 emissions and reduce energy consumption.

DePadova.

Spanning from sofas and armchairs to coffee tables and trays – and in the most recent release, water-repellent, quick-drying outdoor furniture – the Everyday Life collection is defined by its clean lines and clever use of colour. Paul Smith’s distinctive eye and DePadova’s singular understanding of modern luxury characterise the selection, with discreet contrast stitching in a primary palette adding a dash of personality to pieces. Meanwhile, the coloured leather straps on the backs of upholstered pieces offer a subtle nod to the Paul Smith Signature Stripe.

The winner of FuoriSalone 2023 was the installation ‘Beyond the Surface’ by the Dutch brand SolidNature, an industry expert in the processing of natural stone. Design by Ellen Van Loon and Giulio Margheri from Studio OMA, the installation led visitors through a dreamlike and immersive landscape and traced a parallel between the birth and extraction of natural stone and the making of dreams. The goal? Inspiring visitors to dream and push themselves beyond the limits of their creativity.

In addition to the various exhibitions and installations, FuoriSalone was also an occasion to discover the beauty of the city’s historical buildings such as Palazzo Broggi, Palazzo Serbelloni, Palazzo Orsini, Palazzo Bovara, Palazzo Citterio, Palazzo Reale, Palazzo Turati, and to explore places that are usually inaccessible, like Palazzo Treves, the former slaughterhouse in Porta Vittoria, Istituto Marchiondi Spagliardi, and Dropcity, the city’s new hub for Architecture and Design.

(Milano Design Week, towards new frontiers – Barchemagazine.com – July 2023)