May 31, 2018

Salone del Mobile 2018:
Milan Design Week

Milan Design Week is an annual event organized in April and the most vibrant, innovative and creative moment in the world of design. Designers, architects and artists from all over the world are coming to Italy to show their work and, in many cases, to create something unique for this special week. It is not only an opportunity to stay up to date with the latest trends, but also a wonderful way to network. For this reason, over half a million visitors came to Milan this year to enjoy all the energy and inspiring designers.

The event is divided by “Salone del Mobile” which is the main fair where companies are presenting lights, furniture and products within their booths – usually designed by famous architectural studios. Then there’s “Fuorisalone,” which is everything else going on in the city: exhibitions, art installations, shows and parties. The whole city of Milan takes part in the Design Week and shares with the public its palaces, beautiful courtyards, galleries and gardens. Streets are busy with visitors, performances and special pop-up events. Almost all design studios are opened and often become a stage for their new designs. Galleries present emerging talents and it is usually a starting point of many successful careers.

Empathy Design

The main theme this year was “Be Human: Designing With Empathy.” Designers discussed the problem of identifying with the people and designing with their everyday needs in mind.

The many exhibitions were playful, focused on interaction and emotions. Humor and accessibility on one hand and surprise on the other.

Ingo Maurer Exhibition by Ingo Maurer

The award-winning lighting designer Ingo Maurer’s exhibition was humorous and ephemeral. “Between Humour and Serious Creation” was a collective show of similarly-thinking designers and their amusing work. Ingo Maurer presented for instance, “Bellissima Luzy,” a lamp made of blue plastic gloves and frosted light bulbs at the fingertips. The show included fun works like Theo Möller’s “Blow Me Up”- an inflatable lamp with sensor-fitter LED strips on one side and a reflective surface on the other or Axel Schmid’s “Koyoo” that featured a re-located light source to illuminate the paper disc above it. The statement was clear: design can literally play with the light.

Fontana Arte Pop-Up Installation by Francesco Librizzi

One of the leading Italian lighting companies, FontanaArte changed its main showroom into “The Stage,” a young and fresh interpretation inspired by Gio Ponti works. The designer and new art director, Francesco Librizzi, showed, in his own style, a tribute to the first art director in FontanaArte history. In the first room the elegant and sophisticated collection of “Setareh” lamps created a levitating constellation of stars in the showroom and in the other, we could admire the beautiful “Equatore” installation suspended below the new surface of the ceiling.

This project was a real burst of fresh energy for the company, where tradition plays and important role and as we saw, it is surely inspiring.

Cos Installation by Phillip K Smith III

The historical courtyard of Palazzo Isimbardi in the center of Milan was transformed into an amazing game of lights. The range of mirrors carefully installed by the artist played with the sunrays constantly changing the surrounding environment. Throughout the day different parts of the historic architecture and the whole palette of colors were reflected in the artwork. “My work is inspired by the constant shifts in light, colour and form that are presented in the natural and built environment” says the artist Phillip K Smith III. The sculpture brought Milan sky so close to visitors that they could almost touch and feel it.

The Labirynth of Bulgari

“Reinventing Design Rules” was a surprising maze of geometrical illusions, never-ending tunnels of light, mirrors and sound experience. Crafted by diverse designers (MVRDV, Storagemilano and Ivan Navarro) the exhibition made visitors feel like they had entered an unknown world where architecture meets jewelry design and optical illusions seem to be the entrance to a new dimension.

The Dinner
Celebrating 25th Anniversary of the Surface Magazine

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Surface Magazine, David Rockwell and Studio 2x4 created a contemporary interpretation of a classic American dinner.

The space was divided into four zones: Roadside Dinner, East Coast Lunch, Midwest Dinner and West Coast Dinner. Each zone was underlined by different materials and colors that together created one complete environment inspired, of course, by a classic American restaurant. Shiny silver lamps and pink tables flowed smoothly into low soft chairs, sofas and ended with a big curtain showing the sunset.

The pop-up restaurant, inside the dark, usually hidden spaces of Milan’s Central Station, was a clear celebration of American design and a real success.

Louis Vuitton Objets Nomade

This year among Objets Nomades, Louis Vuitton made an exclusive preview of the first collection Les Petits Nomades described as a “creative, elegant and poetic line of decor objects,” In the hall of Palazzo Boccioni, visitors were welcomed by a beautiful installation of red flowers suspended above the ceiling. Everything was made from high quality leather - a signature of the brand. Each chamber of the palace was a stage to put a product in the spotlight: tables of India Mahdavi, chairs by Patricia Urquiola, Marcel Wanders and lamp collection from a Swiss Atelier Oï. They looked like precious art pieces carefully highlighted by mirrored pedestals and theatrical lights. Everything from the details of the products to the arrangements of the space were truly magical.