As the dust begins to settle on a month of back-to-back international design shows, a mountain of moments from Milan Design Week have coalesced into a dreamy highlight reel.
After three long years away, the world’s largest contemporary furniture expo, Salone del Mobile.Milano, returned for a full-fledged celebration of its 60th edition. Despite higher temperatures than Salone’s usual April run, from June 7-12 over 260,000 visitors hiked across the expansive Fieramilano fairgrounds to survey the 2,175 brands exhibiting at the show. In town, 800+ design events of all shapes and sizes, known collectively as Fuorisalone, added to the revelry. A fervent energy abounded throughout the week as three years of ideas, conversations, and creativity amalgamated into a celebration of design that will not soon be forgotten. It felt good…and dare we say, normal?
Alongside an impressive emphasis on sustainability efforts and innovations, we also noticed a trend among brands who turned back the clock, rolling out reissues that play into the social media-fueled era of nostalgic design. Big name collaborations also garnered considerable attention, both on the ground in Milan and across the globe via Instagram posts and stories. Although it would be impossible to summarize all the incredible design that the week had to offer, we have put together a few lists of moments you won’t want to miss.
Fuorisalone is the collection of design events that take place around the city throughout the duration of Salone del Mobile. Together with the fair, this amalgamation elevates the celebration to a proper design week. And with Milan as a backdrop, it’s easy to see why this particular week is regarded as the pinnacle event in the design industry—a design Superbowl, if you will.
This year, Fuorisalone encompassed over 800 events from installations and exhibitions to cocktail parties and concerts. After three years away, the energy was palpable across every inch of the city where designers, architects, and artists collaborated with institutions, brands, and the public to spread their design and creativity.
See the Stars Again
To celebrate the brand’s 60th anniversary, FLOS went all out with a full-scale takeover of Fabbrica Orobia, a sprawling industrial space in the southern part of city. The temporary showroom included lighting collections across all FLOS divisions—Decorative, Architectural, Outdoor, and Bespoke— by a group of renowned international architects and designers including Michael Anastassiades, Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Antonio Citterio, Piero Lissoni, Patricia Urquiola, Vincent Van Duysen, and Marcel Wanders studio.
Louis Poulsen x Taveggia
Teaming up with famed Milan institution Taveggia patisserie, lighting manufacturer Louis Poulsen created a playful pink café installation to showcase the brand’s launch of the PH Pale Rose collection. In collaboration with Italian architecture and design studio Locatelli Partners, the installation featured the PH Pale Rose and as well as the brand’s iconic PH Artichoke and PH Septima in complimentary shades of pink.
Nilufar Depot, a 16,000-square-foot silver factory-turned exhibition space by Nilufar Gallery, made a strong showing with designs from over 20 international creatives. A favorite was the Reborn Project, promoted by Ginori 1735, that included designs from Martino Gamper, Flavie Audi, Andrea Zucchi and Federica Perazzoli.
The Cassina Perspective
New releases and timeless reissues abounded within Cassina’s impressive, multistory showroom at the center of Via Durini, one of Milan’s notable design streets. Downstairs, Gaetano Pesce’s Tramonto a New York screen complimented the limited reissue of his iconic Tramonto a New York sofa, designed in 1980. Antonio Citterio and Patricia Urquiola also presented bright sofa designs—Ecosoft and Sengu Bold, respectively. Upstairs, Modular Imagination, an exhibition by the late Virgil Abloh for Cassina, debuted a series of black, configurable furniture modules against a vibrant orange backdrop.
Building upon the release of Rock.01, a sinuous 3D printed sink designed by Daniel Arsham for Kohler in 2021, Divided Layers was a large-scale immersive art experience at Milan’s Palazzo del Senato. A series of panels with staggered cutouts created a walkway for visitors to traverse, terminating at an exhibition on Rock.01. Each panel was intended to reference the single layers of printing clay that come together to form the amorphous sink.
Alessi 100 – 001
To honor the company’s centenary year, Alessi 100 – 001 both paid homage to the company’s history and unveiled its first new project of the coming century. Situated within a shopping mall designed by rationalist architect Alziro Bergonzo in 1949, the exhibition was divided into two parts: 100 was a series of 12 installations, created in collaboration with AMDL Circle, that illustrate the brand’s core values and 001 was cutlery set designed in partnership with the late Virgil Abloh and his design studio, Alaska Alaska, which was showcased in a green, graphic installation by Studio Temp.
The True Evolution Experience
Another anniversary celebration took place just down the road at Poltrona Frau’s impressive flagship showroom. The interior courtyard of the 18th-century Palazzo Gallarati Scotti opened to the public for the first time; the brand invited visitors to The True Evolution Experience, an immersive installation designed by Greta Rosset that artistically interpreted Poltrona Frau’s past, present, and future. Within the conical, mirrored form, LED screens displayed a looping video that emphasized Poltrona Frau’s commitment to craftsmanship, materials, and sustainability. The installation was accompanied by The True Evolution Collection, a line of new furnishings for 2022.
Occupying a large gallery space in Milan’s Brera District, Divine Inspiration was the first lighting release in four years for British lighting, furniture, and interior designer Lee Broom. The exhibition celebrated the brand’s 15-year anniversary by debuting six new lighting collections heavily influenced by Brutalist places of worship.
Curated by Christoph Radl, the Memphis Again exhibition at Triennale Milano presented over 200 original pieces of the iconic, postmodern Memphis Collection, created between 1981 and 1986. Displayed chronologically through the Trinnale’s upstairs Curva gallery, the collection of objects stretched over 300 feet. The exhibition design and an expertly curated playlist from American DJ Seth Troxler were meant to evoke the notion of a fashion show or nightclub.
A Statement of Form
Atop the tennis courts of Villa Necchi Campiglio, an impressive art deco manse in the heart of Milan, German kitchen Manufacturer Gaggenau presented a large-scale culinary installation complete with cooking demonstrations from three-star Michelin chef, Christian Jürgens. The design for the installation, which featured Salvatori marble and Kaufmann ceramics, used basic geometric elements in a minimalist, industrial composition to highlight the sophistication of Gaggenau’s versatile line of kitchen appliances.
871 days, 50 products, 17 designers, and 1 single color
La Manufacture with Luca Nichetto
A bold orange intervention took over Milan’s historic Museo Poldi Pezzoli in the form of 50 contemporary furnishing products created by 17 international designers. A poignant portrait of contrast, the show was curated by prominent Italian designer Luca Nichetto for Parisian fashion and design brand, La Manufacture. Nichetto pulled the orange hue from construction vests to demonstrate the evolution of the company where he has served as art director for (now over) 871 days.
At Kvadrat’s Corso Monforte showroom, the Danish textile company debuted Quotes, a high-end residential curtain and rug collection created in collaboration with artist Alain Biltereyst. Translating the signature graphic language of Biltereyst’s paintings into the medium of textiles, the Quotes debut presented a bold conversation between form, color, texture, and scale.
Germane Barnes with Aqua Creations
As part of Superstudio’s Superdesign Show in Milan’s Tortona district, automobile manufacturer Lexus presented Sparks of Tomorrow, a multi-faceted showcase of the brand’s commitment to sustainability. The centerpiece of the show, designed by American architect Germane Barnes, was a suspended wire-frame Lexus RZ, Lexus’ first dedicated battery-electric model. Large colorful pendants from Aqua Creations’ Code 130° silk collection illuminated the structure, creating a memorable tribute to carbon neutrality.
Lucia Eames: Seeing with the Heart
Although the Eames name may conjure images of midcentury design, Lucia Eames, daughter of storied American architect and designer Charles Eames, had a creative streak of her own. Taking over a modest Milanese apartment, this in-depth exhibition revealed snippets from the late Lucia Eames’ long artistic career—playful, never-before-seen works of photography, mixed-media, sculpture, and drawing.