The time to reflect on the fantastic wonders, brilliant innovations and breathtaking dreams-come-to-life that made up the lifeblood of Milan Design Week 2017 (MDW17) has come! And, as has always been the case, the Salone Internazionale del Mobile was so chock-full of a record-breaking number of experiences that we're still awestruck at the sheer scope of it all. This year, we were also lucky enough to attend MiART on its last day, April 2nd, two days before the official launch of MDW17, an art fair we highly recommend that our readers jot down in their calendars for next year!
All the usual districts of the creative city of Milan took part in the celebrations - from Tortona and Lambrate, to Brera and the 5VIE/Sant'Ambrogio district, not to mention the sprawling RHO Fiera with its endless halls hosting the Salone. So for a mental retrospective of the week, join us and get a taste of what it was all about:
Two award winning installations were not to be missed. The incredible light installation "S. F. Senses of the Future" by Tokujin Yoshioka x LG showcased at Superstudio Piu in the Tortona district - winner of Milano Design Award 2017 - and the installation, "May I Have Your Attention, Please?” designed by Maarten Baas in collaboration with Lensvelt, an installation presented in one of the vaults adjacent to Milan's Central Station's Magazzini Raccordati - winner of the Milano Design Award 2017 for Best Concept.
The New Spring installation by COS in partnership with Studio Swine at the former Cinema Arti theatre in central Milan was also the talk of the city during the Design Week. Featuring a super collaboration between Japanese architect, Azusa Murakami, and British artist, Alexander Groves, the installation was centred around a focal sculpture that reached six meters in height and was constructed entirely out of recycled aluminium! Incredibly, the interactive sculpture emitted mist-filled blossoms that burst on contact with skin… but would survive when touched by textured fabrics. We were lucky enough to get to the venue on the first day of its official opening and were surprised to find no queues! But thanks to the power of instagram, it only took people 24 hours to discover it and to form the longest queues in the city to check it out!
At the more historical end of the design spectrum, the extraordinary, Palazzo Franscesco Turati (200 meters away from Duomo) saw a high dosage of Dutch design essence at the MASTERLY exhibition curated by Nicole Uniquole. Another not to be missed hot-spot was Salvatori at Home, wherein the private pied-à-terre of Gabriele Salvatori, the CEO of the eponymous design company was opened to the public, inviting guests to experience the design principles of not just the brand, but of Gabriele himself. In the same vein, DIMORE STUDIO's Emiliano Salci and Britt Moran opened up their Milanese apartment on Via Solferino 11, converting it into their studio's covetable exhibition space which was invariably the talk of the town - just as it is every year! Then of course there was The Visit exhibition by Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto from Studiopepe in collaboration with Matteo Artemisi and Sonia Pravato, which was held inside an early 1800's apartment. Still in keeping with the domestic theme, we have to mention HERMÈS luxurious new house collection which was exhibited at La Pelota in the upscale Brera discrict!
But leaving domesticity behind for a moment, many "otherworldly" inspired exhibitions had us talking this year such as the Aero Series by Los Angeles based artist, Alper Nakri and Maria Cristina Didero's latest curation, GOD at Atelier Biagetti. Meanwhile, “In the Shadow of a Man”, Child Studio brought us back down to earth with their display of sculptural light objects and glass spheres. As did the haunting "SOS - Save our Souls" installation presented by MOROSSO at their Via Pontaccio Showroom which was created by 16 year-old artist, Achilleas Souras, out of hundreds of life jackets that had been worn by immigrants arriving on Lesbos island in Greece and retrieved from its shores.
During the week our inspiration was bring fed but our bodies were famished from all that running around the city! Thankfully, we were saved by the pop-up Bistrot Lita Ventiquattro designed by Elisa Ossino Studio inside Palazzo Litta - it was THE ideal place for a fortifying breakfast, lunch or a quick drink while at the same time affording us the opportunity to catch the "A Matter of Perception: LINKING MINDS" event organized by DAMN° magazine and Mosca Partners.
Crafts were very much integrated with art this year. Take for instance, the PaperBricks Sculpt series of furniture pieces crafted out of "bricks" that showcased the duality, i.e. the strength and suppleness of paper. Staying with building products, the following stood out: Caesarstone's Stone Age Folk installation by Jaime Hayon at the Palazzo Serbelloni, followed by the "LOCAL MILAN" exhibition. This showcased the products created by eleven established Australian designers curated by the designer, stylist and creative director of LOCAL DESIGN, Emma Elizabeth, under the sponsorship of Brickworks Building Products, all under the roof of the Oratoria della Passione in the Sant’Ambrogio district.
Honestly, there were so many noteworthy installations and exhibitions, we can't possibly mention all of them here so we'll just give you a quick run through of a few that we're still thinking about: Lee Broom's "Time Machine," a carousel the designer filled with products he created over the past decade to celebrate his studio's 10th birthday. The PYRAE/STRATA installation by Luca Nichetto for SALVIATI displayed at Ventura Centrale. The FARE LUCE (Shedding Light) installation by architect Giovanni Maria Filindeu for Foscarini at their Spazio Brera. The "Invisible Outlines" exhibition by NENDO shown inside the Jil Sander showroom for the duration of Milan Design Week 2017. The Precious Garage exhibition designed for Cartier by New York-based Puerto Rican visual artist Desi Santiago wherein the esteemed jeweller presented the new Juste un Clou and Écrou de Cartier collections in the “When the Ordinary becomes Precious” themed design exhibition, a pop up installation at the Garage Sanremo, in the heart of historical Milano which explored the appropriation of everyday hardware elements as jewellery. And finally, the grand exhibition/event INTERNI MATERIAL IMMATERIAL by the famous Italian design magazine INTERNI.
But enough of the verbal descriptions! We suggest you grab a (very) strong espresso and pull up a chair to join us on the celebratory visual feast that was Milan Design Week 2017… You can also find additional details on each project if you follow the links in the featured pictures’ captions.
New Spring installation by COS in partnership with Studio Swine, an artistic collaboration between Japanese architect Azusa Murakami and British artist Alexander Groves, at the former theatre, Cinema Arti, in central Milan.
The installation, centred around a focal sculpture reaching six metres in height and constructed nearly entirely from recycled aluminium. The sculpture emitted mist-filled blossoms that burst on contact with skin but that survive when met with textured fabrics, allowing visitors the chance to interact with the installation.
Video © Studio Swine.
Chromatography exhibit by Stefan Scholten and Carole Baijings of Scholten & Baijings in the Herman Miller featuring
Mahatma textiles that were hanging from the ceiling, and beneath them elements of their new ColourForm Sofa Group for Herman Miller.
Photo by Ben Anders.