Combining the euphoric ebullience ushered in by the advent of spring with the ecstatic anticipation for a white Christmas, Milan Design Week (MDW) is an annual celebration of design whose week-long, multi-venue, kaleidoscopic congregation of cultural wonders evokes an awestriking experience that can only be described as religious. Each April, multitudes of visitors make the pilgrimage to the city of Milan for the Salone Internazionale del Mobile to immerse themselves in Fiera Milano’s trade fair extravaganza and the dizzying array of exhibitions, pop-ups, product launches and events that take over the city’s galleries, palazzos and piazzas.
As always, this year’s event, which was held from the 17th to the 22nd of April 2018 with a record number of attendees, didn’t fail to dazzle and exhilarate with the quality, flair, ingenuity and variety of the hundreds of participating brands and designers showcasing their work and ideas. Of course the sheer amount of products, artworks and installations on display across Milan’s districts, from the bohemian Brera and the sleek Tortona, to the emerging 5 VIE and the multi-ethnic NoLo, would require the power of omnipresence to fully experience and sort through. Luckily for our readers, Yatzer has collected the best of what MDW18 had to offer and hereby invites you to come aboard for a kaleidoscopic ride of wondrous delights.
When we talked about taking you on a ride of Milan’s highlights we were actually being literal, at least where the Brera district is concerned. Inspired by the historic streetcars of the city, Italian designer Cristina Celestino has created “Cinema Corallo”, a travelling salon inside an authentic 1920s tram where passengers can lounge on sumptuous settees away from prying eyes on the street or enjoy the screening room where they can watch the town go by. Just as evocative was the journey that visitors embarked upon at DIMOREGALLERY’s TRANSFER exhibition, on foot this time, as they progressed through several rooms of distinct cultural ambiance in two locations on Via Solferino, featuring iconic 20th-century design pieces inside Bedouin tents and a mazelike display of the latest collections by DIMORESTUDIO.
Undoubtedly one of the most stunning exhibitions was located at the recently renovated 19th century Teatro Gerolamo where Czech glassmaking and design company Lasvit presented "Monster Cabaret", a fantastical show full of beasts, antiheroes, vicious genius minds, egos, outcasts and fantastical creatures, all made out of glass. Complemented by the brand’s ethereal lighting fittings, a multi-storey installation featuring over 100 TV screens and hourly shows by burlesque dancers, it was truly a uniquely satisfying experience. But don’t take our word for it, the exhibition was awarded the prestigious Milano Design Award 2018.
Lest you think Lasvit’s cabaret was the only party-themed show, have a look at the new Disco Gufram collection. Inspired by Linea Discoteca, Gufram's upholstered "disco seats" from the 1970s, the collection was showcased in a nightclub environment at Mediateca Santa Teresa, complete with Dutch artist duo Rotganzen’s Dalíesque disco balls, French studio GGSV’s “Dance Floor” carpets series, and Atelier Biagetti’s gleaming upholstered disco seats. In the same Brera venue, the ELIT PROUN BAR by London-based architectural practice Carmody Groarke shared Gufram’s affinity for gleaming metallic surfaces but drew inspiration from a completely different source, this time Russian Avant-garde. Developed under the auspices of elit® Vodka, the conceptual bar is part of Wallpaper* Handmade, an eclectically curated exhibition that never fails to disappoint.
Dancing and drinking aside, this year saw Salone del Mobile’s first ever Manifesto that among other things urged the design industry to embrace innovation and sustainability. Nowhere was this trend more illustriously demonstrated than in “3D Housing 05” by CLS Architetti who, in collaboration with engineering firm Arup produced Europe's first 3D-printed house. Printed by a robot on site at Piazza Cesare Beccaria, located two blocks away from the Duomo, the one-storey concrete house showcased the possibilities of 3D printing in the field of sustainable architecture in the most literal way. With that being said, architecture is not the only discipline that can innovate by taking advantage of 3D printing techniques as demonstrated by "Brave New World: Re-thinking Design in the New Age of Technology", a pioneering project by Spanish newcomer Nagami, showcasing among other pieces a pair of coral-like, 3D printed chairs by Zaha Hadid Architects.
Two new spaces that made their debut in MDW18 also caught our eye. The new 60-meter-high Torre, which marked the completion of Fondazione Prada’s OMA-designed Milan venue, and the abandoned panettone factory in the NoLo district that was taken over by ALCOVA, a project by Space Caviar and Studio Vedèt. While the two venues couldn’t be more different, they both however introduced a new viewing experience that took our breath away, the former by hosting an illustrious selection of artists from the Prada Collection, such as Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and Carsten Höller, across six progressively taller floors blessed with panoramic views of the city, and the latter by poetically juxtaposing contemporary design with the sprawling decadence of the dilapidated factory spaces partly overtaken by vegetation. Notably, ALCOVA also included a solo exhibition by Georgian design studio Rooms, “Sculpting in Time”, showcasing both iconic works from their 10 year career and exciting new work that combines ethnic Georgian furniture design with brutalist architectural forms.
Another venue not to be missed was the historical Palazzo Clerici which hosted a collaborative installation by Danish design brand Hay, co-working and office company WeWork, and sound specialist Sonos joining forces to share their common vision for the living and working environment of the future. Just as grand in venue terms was Palazzo Isimbardi that hosted “Open Sky” by COS × Phillip K. Smith III, a multifaceted mirrored installation that took over the palazzo’s courtyard. On a much smaller scale, but as sublime in their repetitive sculptural forms and light manipulation, was “Horah” at Spazio Krizia, a 30 piece illuminated glass installation designed by Raw Edges and developed by WonderGlass.
Finally, we have to mention Emma Elizabeth’s “LOCAL DESIGN, LOCAL MILAN”, the largest independent showcase of Australian design in Milan to date, “Lina Bo Bardi Giancarlo Palanti - Studio d’Arte Palma, 1948- 1951” at Nilufar Depot, the first exhibition on the work of the two Italo-Brazilian designers, and Charlotte Macaux Perelman’s mesmerizing installation for Hermès at the Museo della Permanente that immersed visitors in a colorful, labyrinthic scenography made out of 150,000 Moroccan zellige tiles.
Of course the above were just a few of our favorites picks, all of which we have lovingly gathered here for your information and convenience—you can find additional details on each project if you follow the links in the picture captions—as well as enjoyment. So go ahead and indulge your senses in the best of what Milan Design Week 2018 had to offer, it’s our treat!
COS × Phillip K. Smith III | Open Sky.
A highlight of the KOSMOS exhibition by WonderGlass at the Istituto dei Ciechi was the stop-motion film Invisible Cities by artistic duo J&PEG. "A surreal tale of a glass ball lost in a magical world that both celebrates the utopian vision of the city and the role of glass within architecture and urban environments."
Kamaro’an - Umbrella Sedge Series
製作公司 Production : 好作設計 Sitemak Studio
導演 Director：Chun-Kai Yang , Tim Shih
監製 Executive Producer：Tim Shih
執行製片 Producer：Chris Chen
攝影 Photographer：Kai Tsai , Yuan-Tse Lin
燈光 Gaffer：Ahuei Zhang , Shaocheng Zhuang
剪接 Editor：Kai Tsai
"TRANSITIONS by Panasonic Design" celebrated the Panasonic’s 100-year anniversary with a landmark installation entitled "Air Inventions" in a huge "water-drop pavilion" in the courtyard of the Pinacoteca de Brera, showcasing the company's latest air-conditioning technology, allowing visitors to experience the cleanest, purest air in Milan. Winner of The Best Technology Award 2018.