9 highlights from Fuorisalone and Salone Del Mobile at Milan Design Week
Historically known for its global importance in the design field, Milan Design Week surpassed every expectation in this 2022 edition, editor-at-large Ilenia Martini reports.
By ILENIA MARTINI
June 14, 2022
Last week saw both Fuorisalone — the set of events arranged in different areas of Milan — and Salone del Mobile events spanning across disciplines and geographical locations with an unprecedented fervour as a result of the forced pause during these last two years. A general atmosphere of positivity and generosity touched everyone involved, visitors included, despite the extensive list of exhibitions and activities in this short amount of time.
Armed with plenty of water, a generous amount of SPF and sunglasses, I ventured through the endless list of venues for Scandinavian MIND and rounded up a few of my favourites in a highlight for the Milan Design Week 2022, starting with Fuorisalone.
Located off-centre in an old military ground (Centro Ospedaliero Militare Baggio), in a wing never opened to the public before this year’s edition, Alcova set the scene for a series of international exhibitions and installations in a variety of disciplines exploring talents in the fields of textiles, materials, technology and sustainability. An incredibly vast space, surrounded by decadent buildings and greenery, Alcova was split into eight individual sections each including a roster of talents adding up to a hundred unique installations making it an endeavour lasting hours. As opposed to previous editions, this year, I noticed an influx of US-based talent and design collaborations.
An aperitivo garden and installation presented by Lambert & Fils with a new mesmerizing lighting collection by DWA Design Studio and wall coverings by Super Flower Studio.
A beautiful, collaborative and light-filled cafe in collaboration with Solidnature, Andlight, Zeitraum, Avoir and 4Spaces.
This is America
An exhibition curated by Hello Human founder Jenny Nguyen and Aditions co-founder Alma Lopez-Moses touching on the topic of diversity and inclusion in the design world featuring a series of all US-based underrepresented designers and design practices.
Known for their storytelling and quite poetic approach to design, once more, Dimoremilano opened its doors to their apartment located in the heart of the Brera Design District for an immersive experience that didn’t leave any sense untouched. This year’s exhibition Oublié featured furniture, textiles and lighting designed by the brand’s founders Emiliano Salci and Britt Moran in a concept ’where time stands still’ as if the space had long been abandoned by its owners and is now coming to life once again. Surrounded by the light coming through half-closed shutters with an atmospheric fog moving through the rooms of the apartment, we were invited to discover the new collection within a series of carefully thought-through details, from classical music playing in the background, intimate veils covering pendants and rolled-up rugs. A beautifully calm moment with impeccable storytelling in the heart of a throbbing city.
The all-female collective Misschiefs, founded by Paola Bjäringer, landed its first international exhibition in collaboration with Milan-based curator Federica Sala. Over 600m2, the Italian edition was located inside the beautifully reconverted Fabbrica Bini, a space for creative experimentation founded by designer and illustrator Gentucca Bini. In a wild mix of disciplines, under the curatorial guide of the talented Federica Sala, a new addition to the collective already featuring 26 Swedish womxn artists and designers — part of the original Misschiefs collection — was added for the first international edition. The Milan-based artist Nelcya Cantoni-Chamszadeh presented a delicate piece, Pleased to meet you, honouring the uterus where hidden behind a mirror, the visitor is invited to peek inside a keyhole representing the artist’s anxieties about the different stages of a women’s life — a tribute to women and their resilience.
La Manufacture at Palazzo Poldi Pezzoli
Old historical venues as a backdrop for contemporary design pieces are somewhat of a Milan classic, especially during design weeks. This year, in a temporary and site-specific exhibition curated by Luca Nichetto owner of Nichetto Studio, a celebration of the process of the newly launched Parisian brand La Manufacture spanning over 871 days, 50 products, 17 international designers all united by 1 single colour, were presented in the historical Palazzo in the heart of Milan just a short walk from the iconic Duomo di Milano. Taking inspiration from the ’work in progress’ concept and its workwear, specifically vests used by construction workers, Luca Nichetto thought of conceptually covering all the products in a vivid orange as a visual representation of the evolving nature of the brand itself.
Triennale In a Box by Arthur Arbesser
Arthur Arbesser, the Austrian designer globally recognized for his lasting impression in the fashion industry with his homonym label renowned for the unique sensibility to graphic aesthetic and the use of colour, took part in the Milan Design Week with his first furniture design project, In a Box, presented at the Triennale Milano. Some of the most characteristic graphic elements of his brand’s visual language like stripes, checks, arches, and vibrant flowers, were translated into a coffee table, a chair, and a set of modular containers, all starting from the same concept — the one of a cube. The design pieces are juxtaposed to a homeware textile collection featuring five iconic patterns that visually represent Arthur’s creative vision.
SUNNEI + Bloc Studios
The forward-thinking Milanese fashion house SUNNEI has set the tone in a collaboration with material-driven design practice Bloc Studios in a collection that transformed the objects typically found in a dining room into one-of-a-kind marble pieces. Set in the SUNNEI headquarters in Milan, the all-marble limited-edition capsule collection with its installation, like a Brutalist-inspired ode to the Made in Italy, saw a majestic table softened by light veined marble and a series of objects from plates to wine coolers as a result of the collaboration between the two culturally relevant houses. ”Making tableware in marble might sound like a non-sense academic exercise but it is rather exploring the limits of such material. Marble expresses Bloc Studios’ DNA, while SUNNEI brought light-heartedness, provocation and realness to the project,” said Bloc Studios’ founder Sara Ferron Cima.
In the beautiful setting of Palazzo Isimbardi in the heart of Milan, LOEWE presented Weave, Restore, Renew. Through repairs and interventions from expert craftspeople, the Spanish fashion house gives new life to materials and objects that would have otherwise been forgotten. Repaired in Spain is at the heart of the exhibition where LOEWE gave 240 existing baskets, from all over the world, a new life and function. The result is a series of unique baskets that are an example of creativity and therefore very playful and fun. At the crossroads between respect for the environment and true craftsmanship, this installation was a celebration of the care and love for quality that lasts for generations over mindless consumption. Creative director Jonathan Anderson: ”Throughout this project, we celebrate the transformative power of manual labour. I am proud to have created a series of objects that ’mend’ temporal correspondence, wear and tear, transmitting a message of development and transformation that I consider progressive and uplifting.”
Salone del Mobile
Characterized by a series of global challenges, each brand present under the same roof at Salone in Fiera Rho, had truly embodied the definition of resilience. With a global audience of over 260.000 visitors, the halls were filled with high expectations and an audience eager to discover both new talents and established brands. Worth mentioning:
Going beyond the confines of traditional walls typical for fair stands, a series of white flowing textiles suspended from the ceiling created enough separation between the spaces without harsh structures. This flow was at the core of this year’s concept, the ’Project of Living’ which is, of course, about how we want to live in spaces and combine home and work life where the environment should actively reflect the flexibility and dynamism of the two realms merging together. Arper has translated these choices with the choice of materials, colours and ultimately new product functionalities.
Continuing on the same topic, pushing the boundaries of traditional fair stands, another unexpected booth is the one designed by Kengo Kuma for Gandiablasco. Softly bent, half-moon-shaped partitions, made of wood slats and bamboo canes are suspended from the ceiling creating a variety of spaces dedicated to each of the collections presented this year including Kuma’s ’Partition Walls’ representing his Japanese tradition and aesthetic. As a reinvention of Mediterranean shutters, the Partition Walls effectively blur the line between indoor and outdoor creating a respectful separation of spaces in harmony with the environment.