Milan Design Week has been one of the best leading events when it comes to defining international interior design trends Worldwide! This top design event first came to be all the way back in 1961. From focusing originally on Italian furniture to opening up to many more foreign brands, whether we’re talking about Salone del Mobile or Fuorisalone, there’s no doubt that this event has brought forward many interior designers as well as some of the most relevant projects in the interior design spectrum.
Over the last years, it’s clear that more and more designers and brands (both Italian and international) have begun to invest more and more in this Milanese event which attracts millions and millions of design enthusiasts during the last couple of years. In this article, we’re having a look at some of the most relevant projects and new collections that have been (and will be) brought to us by some of the most prestige designers and brands that are known from all over the world.
Let’s meet some of Milan’s top design figures
From the 60s to current day there’s no doubt that Milan Design Week as a whole has managed to bring some design magic to a whole city for one week in April of every year. Whether it’s on Salone del Mobile, Fuorisalone, or on either of the design district of Milan (Brera Design District, Ventura Centrale Design District, Tortona Design District, and 5 Vie Art Design District) wherever you go during this period, you can feel and breathe “innovation” and “design” all around Milan.
Of course, Milan is the host for such an event due to the fact that it’s a city with a lot of history in regards to the area of design. We will begin by introducing you to some influential designers, both from the past and present, who have undoubtedly made a strong career for themselves as well as contributing for the reputation Milan has as the city of fashion and design.
There are many designers that will continue to influence and still make many new generations of designers to come. Piero Fornasetti is a name that still inspires many designers to this day. We can definitely see a tribute to this work on “Architettura Celeste” (celestial architecture) designed by Barnaba Fornasetti, created as a is a reworking of the historic motif created during the 50s by Fornasetti himself.
This collection comprises a wide range of furniture and accessories, among them being the iconic trumeau, a screen, a cabinet, and a corner cabinet, tables, chairs, mirrors, and panels. Barnaba Fornasetti’s collection pieces symbolize a perfect synthesis of art and craftsmanship, as well as a true reflection of his father’s influences.
Probably one of the most memorable pieces by Gaetano Pesce has to be ‘Montanara’, a collection made by the Italian designer alongside Italian brand Meritalia. The beautiful couch of upholstered furniture shows a lovely waterfall scenario printed in the fabric of the couch. We can’t also forget to mention ‘Colorado’ (a couch with an odd mix of blue and orange in its color) and also ‘Gli amici’ (Meaning “friends”), a series of pieces inspired by childhood drawing of several wild animals. Without a doubt, these were some of the most visually stunning objects from the Italian designer.
Patricia Urquiola is a famous Spanish architect and designer that lives and works in Milan. She’s well-known for regularly working with Italian brands, offering her expertise and knowledge in functional yet poetic design, which often makes her one of the best designers of our time.
Antonio Citterio is an Italian designer mostly known for his collaborations with prestige Italian brands, among them B&B Italia. He’s made several collections for the brand, most notably the Maxalto collection which was enrichened last year with some more elegant chairs, and seating systems, featuring new range extensions and new finishes.
Citterio was one of the designers who collaborated with Consentini with the project “Deep Words Light”, an installation featured at the University of Milan as part of the “Interni, Energy for Creativity 2015” event. The initiative was inspired by Teatro Olimpico of Palladio, by creating an outdoor theatre in the largest courtyard of the University of Milan. Citterio himself has stated that the project was a unique way to show off the city of Milan and all elements associated with it (history, culture, social and economic World).
We are still stunned by “Rational and the Emotional Worlds” presented by Marcel Wanders for LG Hausys during Milan Design Week. The amazing installation explored the wide range of possibilities by LG, mapping out two different worlds: one of rationality and one of emotion. It was in this same exhibition that “Blooming Universe”, a collaboration between Wandes and the brand, shined with complementary furniture blending in perfectly with the surroundings.
The French architect made an impact with “Project: Office for Living”. This initiative was revolutionary not on the fact that it explored the changes taking place in the workplace, but also the alternative to some “unbelievable” offices that will be rendered as useless 30 to 40 years from now according to Nouvel himself. Within the exposition, there were many new office scenarios, as well as some new pieces by new pieces by designers Michele De Lucchi, Marc Newson, Philippe Starck, and Ron Arad.
The Japanese architect left his mark in Milan with the opening of Duvetica’s store and showroom in the city. This space’s main features involve an inclined and curved cement wall, used to divide the two floors of the 240 square meter interior, revealed by a wide window positioned at the main entrance. As a tribute to Tadao Ando’s work, the same establishment exhibited ten museum buildings that were designed by the architect himself in 2012.
Philippe Starck managed to introduce Kartell into the world of wood, with the Woody collection unveiled in Milan. This innovative collection not only showed some advantages to wood but also proved that this material is more flexible than you expect. The French designer had made several chairs and other design works in the past for Kartell however this collection marked new possibilities for the brand.
What about the brands?
Of course, the brands make the event. Every year Milan Design Week has managed to attract many design enthusiasts, so it’s only natural that some of the World’s top brands (Italian or foreign) would make it to the event. Every year they manage to marvel and amaze millions of visitors who are either there to get a chance at showing their own projects or simply to learn about the upcoming new trends of that year. Now, we delve a little deeper into some of the best projects by some of the world’s leading brands.
Perhaps one of the most notable works for Milan Design Week from Zaha Hadid was the resulting chairs in collaboration with Nagami. Despite the chairs being all by the Spanish company, Zaha Hadid was responsible for the 3D painting of the chairs, alongside Ross Lovegrove and Daniel Widrig.
The collection, named “Brave New World: Re-thinking Design in the New Age of Technology”, essentially combined computational design and large-scale robotic 3D printing on the products with the goal of exploring new innovative ways of creating furniture that challenges the limits of imagination.
One of the most noticeable products from Chipperfield is the all-wood family, specifically the Fayland table, the Fawley bench, and the Langley stool. The Fayland table was originally designed for a project in rural England, featuring a linear form and a clear structural concept. The three pieces were presented at Salone del Mobile, showing that they completed each other in any living room style.
Roberto Cavalli Home Interiors is a recurring presence at this event, of course. Last year the brand presented a unique furniture collection filled with sparkling shades of citron, banana leaf print, and new animal patterns. In this collection, there was the Key West Swivel Armchair, the Tahiti Chaise Longue and the Acapulco Modular Bookcase, all of them with tropical touches to them, derived from Roberto Cavalli’s vision, philosophy, and style.
Being involved in the creation of luxurious furniture for around 30 years, it’s only natural that Italian brand Fendi Casa was involved in more than one initiative during this Milanese event. On last year’s edition, the brand presented a brand new collection designed by Parisian designer Thierry Lemaire. These furniture pieces consisted of several luxurious pieces including sofas, tables, lamps among many others. In this collection some cushions designed by late design legend Karl Lagerfeld all the way back in 1965.
You can’t mention an Italian brand without including Armani’s name in the mix! One of the most marking entries by Giorgio Armani in the event has to be “The dream of living according to Giorgio Armani”, launched at the Armani Theatre. This exclusive event was an exhibition dedicated to all of Armani’s design projects, among them Queen’s Gate Place in London, the World Towers in Mumbai, the Armani Hotel in Dubai and Milan among many others.
One of the most noticeable entries from Porada to Milan Design Week has to be the Gargantua armchair in collaboration with Staffon Tollgard in Canaletto walnut with customizable upholstery in fabric or leather.
Table Egeo was definitely one of the top furniture pieces that Edra has ever shown off during Milan Design Week. This table was heavily inspired by the glass tradition of the Brasilia table designed by the Campana brothers. In the case of this piece has a top in thick glass (that can be either black or gold), one central pedestal or legs. With a base made from tubular steel, this lovely table gives any dining room a unique touch of luxury.
Created in 1964 in Mantova Seletti has since then had a reputation for striving for improvement, innovation, and originality in all of their lighting designs. Every year during the Milan Design Week Seletti is the host for Design Pride, also known as “the most democratic party of the Milan Design Week”. This event, which takes place at the 5 VIE art + design and sponsored by the city of Milan, consists of a street parade that aims to celebrate creativity and design in a fun alternative way while showcasing some innovative design works by newcomers.
The Luxury Living Group is also a group that never misses an edition on Milan Design Week every year. Owner of several well-known brands such as Fendi Casa, Bentley Home, Trussardi Casa. Every year some of the top brands in both Italy and around the world present some of the finest furniture ever seen.
B&B Italia is another presence that makes Milan Design Week shine. we’re talking about one of the leading Italian companies in the international world of designer furniture. They create pieces for both home (B&B Italia Home Division) and contract (B&B Italia Contract Division).
This brand has presented in the last couple of year several works by designers such as Antonio Citterio, Naoto Fukasawa, Piero Lissoni, Michael Anastassiades among many others. We’ve previously mentioned the Maxalto collection, designed and coordinated by Antonio Citterio, which features sophisticated chairs and seating systems with some new range extensions and new finishes made for pre-existing products of the brand.
One of Poltrona Frau’s greatest highlights has to be, without a doubt, the Bretagne sofa. This exquisite piece provides new and elegant decorative combinations made from different and diverse materials. The seat cushions come in a new version with removable fabric cover which definitely helps in emphasizing their softness and comfort. Not to mention the fact that the frames, upholstered in Pelle Frau leather, create an overall effect of great visual and tactile warmth.
Jean-Marie Massaud is a recurring collaborator with Poliform for around ten years which has resulted in over 40 pieces in the collections of the brand. One of the most notable furniture design pieces is the Mondrian sofa with complementing accessories of the Cosmos tables. This duo was inspired by the Dutch painter of the same name (Piet Mondrian), and the piece’s design is a clear reflection of the clean lines and asymmetrical balance that defines the most of his paintings.
Swarovsky Palazzo is something amazing to see every year. It consists of site-specific installation in a grand greenhouse set within a hidden courtyard of a neo-classical Milanese palazzo. In this exhibition spot that the new collections of the brand are unveiled alongside some home collections by several designers and brands such as Nendo, Patricia Urquiola, Peter Pilotto and John Pawson. Each year Atelier Swarovski presents a new home collection inspired and informed by a crystal with a presentation at the annual Milanese tradeshow.
Among many of the names that have collaborated for Baccarat, we can count those of Alain Moatti, Henri Rivière, Jaime Hayon, Michele de Lucchi, Philippe Starck, among many others. Some of these names were involved in many of the projects this brand has presented for Salone del Mobile, most notably the beautiful Philippe Starck’s ‘Marie Coquine Chandelier’, structured around an umbrella to create a unique ambiance.
The Galleries and Showrooms in Milan city
But who wants to showcase temporarily in Milan when you can just create a gallery or showroom in Milan city and make a more permanent presence there? Over the years many galleries and showrooms have been created in the city, which is only natural seen as this whole area is a safe haven for shopping addicts and design enthusiasts. When Milan Design Week comes around these showrooms we’re about to show you become obligatory stops for you to enjoy
Cassina has been another example of a brand that has managed to create a strong presence in Milan city. Led by Patricia Urquiola the brand’s establishment has been the perfect spot for it to showcase some of the main novelties of the brand. This showroom with over 50 years old has been the target of numerous interventions by some of the most famous names in Italian architecture. Some other relevant names that have collaborated with this brand are Michael Anastassiades with Ordinal or even Bouroullec brothers’ Cotton collection.
Armani/Casa (as well as Armani Home) is another recurring presence at this design event. As a matter of fact, the designer and the brand as a whole have a weight presence in Milan, specifically thanks to the Armani/Silos museum, the Boutique Giorgio Armani, the Emporio Armani concept store and even a hotel (Armani Hotel Milano). Every year all of these spots become full of fans of the brand or just some curious folks wondering what trends is Armani himself up to.
Molteni is notable for having the largest design showroom in Milan, as well as for being a clear reflection of Vincent Van Duysen’s design approach which mainly focuses on high-impact settings, infused with a sense of well-being. The spatial experience, the materials and the lighting (in partnership with Flos and Artemide) were deliberately designed to offer an atmospheric and involving experience, a new home concept based on the skillful alternation of spaces and material geometries.
The opening of Nilufar Depot was a big step for Nina Yashar. Milan’s top design dealer and her Nilufar Gallery in Via della Spiga have pulsed as the epicenter of achingly expensive mid-century gems as well as some of the hottest contemporary designs for the last two decades. In this three floored showroom, you can expect to be amazed by the huge atrium, inspired by La Scala opera house with the special touch of several vintages and colorful design elements. Every year during Milan Design Week this is one of the main stops for any design lover who wants to be amazed by Yashar’s creativity.
Galleria Rossana Orlandi is a must stop for anyone especially during Milan Design Week. Orlandi herself aside from proposing many challenges to young and aspiring designers has a large showcase of several furniture objects in her gallery such as lighting, mirrors, sofas, tables. The Gallery also mixes together a retails store, a showroom, a couple of offices and a courtyard for events and meetings. If you’re lucky you might even get the chance to meet the design legend herself Rossana Orlandi.
Mooi has been an inspiring brand for several years when it comes to lighting, and many more innovative furniture products currently on the market. In their showroom in Milan, you will be able to find a mix of their very best products reunited in one living room decoration solution.
A spot you can’t afford to miss if you’re going to be in Milan during the Salone del Mobile and Fuorisalone is the showroom in this same city. Located in Brera Design District it was first opened in 2008, being renovated ten years later. Aside from the new look of the showroom, many new collections by Carlo Colombo, Luca Galofaro, and Mario Ferrarini were introduced by this brand over the years.
A little preview of what’s to come at this year’s edition
So now that we’ve given you some of the main highlights that you can check out throughout the city as a whole, you’re probably wondering what’s coming for the 2019 edition right? Some details are being released bit by bit however we can let you in on a couple of novelties, that we are aware of to come this year. This year’s edition will be celebrating DaVinci’s 500th anniversary of death. With that in mind, the fair organizers have two major installations planned to celebrate his life and legacy.
This year those who will be attending Salone del Mobile can expect o find a range of displays that will pay tribute to Renaissance ideas incorporating them into modern design. There’s also some buzz around “S Project”, a new display format expected to bring together multiple brands and products (both newcomers and usual guests) into one single space.
These projects we’re previewing to you are a good example of how every year Milan Design Week is definitely the perfect showcase spot for beautiful and innovative new ideas in the design area.
This year marks the return of Tom Dixon to Milan! The Manzoni is the new 100-cover restaurant has been created by Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio. The main reason behind the opening of this new establishment (which is both a restaurant and a showroom) was due to the fact that Tom Dixon and his team wanted to have a more permanent presence in Milan. The Manzoni is set to open during Milan Design Week 2019 and will also be showcasing three specific new collections: Fat, Spring, and Opal.
One of the main novelties for this year’s edition of iSalone comes from the Italian brand Zanotta. This year they will be presenting a new set of tables entitled Enchino. The innovative feature going for these new products is the fact that instead of showing glass tables with metal legs, this new concept reverses these two elements by showing tables with metal surfaces and glass legs. There’s a lovely detail regarding the legs of the tables which are hand-blown in Venice by craftspeople using an ancient technique that dates back to DaVinci’s period which is fitting seen as this year the event will be dedicated to this Renaissance master’s life and legacy.
Lastly, we have to mention Japanese brand Nendo that will be showing a certain project that was first introduced at IMM Cologne trade show and will also be making its way to Milan Design Week this year. Oki Sato worked alongside Venetian brand WonderGlass to create a series of cast glass chairs. The Melt collection features a chair comprised of an inverted arched base topped with a contrasting, flat pane of glass, and backed with a larger rectangle of glass.