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.
First, The Fair
It’s the reason for the season! After the reduced-capacity “Supersalone” in September 2021, Salone del Mobile.Milano was finally able to properly celebrate its 60th birthday. With seven exhibitions across 24 sprawling halls, this year’s fair championed innovation and sustainability across domestic and commercial spaces. Dozens of big-name architects and designers collaborated with brands to deliver impressive booth and product designs. To spotlight up-and-coming talent, Salone Satellite corralled over 600 designers under the age of 35 around the theme of “Designing for our Future Selves.” Curated by Marva Griffin, the exhibition spread through two halls for the first time in its 23-year history and explored creative and sustainable design solutions from young studios, sole practitioners, and students.
Famed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma designed an environment of undulating wooden blinds for Valencian furnishings company, Gandiablasco Group. Reminiscent of traditional Japanese sudare screens, the blinds paid homage to the Spanish company through their use of Valencian wood and are upheld by hand-made lattice structures.
Design with Nature by Mario Cucinella Architects
Within the S. Project exhibition, which highlighted design products and interior architectural solutions, Mario Cucinella Architects debuted a 4,600-square-foot educational installation that put circular economy concepts and cutting edge sustainable materials on display. The curvy organic form also branched out to create a lecture space, kitchen and cafe, book store, and multiple seating areas.
Making its fair debut, Cimento is an Italian company that manufacturers products, ranging from facades to furniture, out of a signature light-weight cement compound. Collaborating with international architects and designers, the booth included designs from Patricia Urqiola, Parisotto + Formenton, Defne Koz & Marco Susani, Omri Revesz, Studio 63, and BBA Studio.
Re-Rug by nanimarquina
Ceiling-height piles of recycled wool served as a bold introduction to Re-Rug, a line of sustainable rugs by nanimarquina. The booth, designed in conjunction with fellow Barcelonian design company Arquitectura-G, was intended to serve as a physical display of nanimarquina’s commitment to transparency and sustainability.
Comprised of just five basic modular shapes, Arcadia is a configurable acoustic partition system that can be used to create myriad space solutions for the workplace. Designed by Spacestor in collaboration with Gensler, the pieces are equipped with a patented quick-release joining system for easy adaptability and are available in a wide range of colors.
The Project of Living by Arper
Presented in a nearly 10,000-square-foot exhibition space, Arper’s The Project of Living reinterprets living spaces as dynamic and fluid, blurring the boundary between home and work. Winding white curtains guided visitors through various vignettes employing soft, light, and colorful materials with the intention of conveying a positive and calming energy.
SCHOCK: the Home of Colourful by Schock
As part of Salone’s biennial EuroCucina exhibition, German quartz composite kitchen sink manufacturer Schock put on a sprawling, polychromatic display. A rainbow gradient of arches curved over two oversized island units equipped with food prep stations and sinks in Schock’s latest color offerings.
morito by Shinnosuke Harada
Translating to both “with the forest” and “guardian”, morito by Shinnosuke Harada is a nod to the Japanese forests and the indigenous craftsmen who have protected them. Made from thinned cypress not suitable for commercial use, the collection includes the Enoki Light, the collapsable Chochin Stool that can double as a lantern or side table, and Mikazuki Sakasuki, a series of sake vessels varying in thickness to enhance the individual characteristics of different sakes.
Fil Rouge Collection by Studio Notte
Reflecting on both the physical and metaphorical connections between separate entities, the Fil Rouge Collection by Studio Notte sews metal plates together as if they were fabric to challenge the notions of rigidity and fluidity. Founded in 2019 by Luisa Alpeggiani and Camila Campos, Studio Notte experiments with varying production techniques and materials to “establish a dialogue that is capable of arousing fascination and surprise.”
ilo+milo 2.0 by Dedàleo
Prototyped at Milan Design Week in September 2021, ilo+milo 2.0 by Dedàleo is a reconfigurable, modular steel kitchen concept developed to accommodate the rapid mobility of modern life. Designed by interior architect and Dedàleo co-founder, Ntaiana Charalampous, the kitchen is intended for perpetuity: users can start with three or four modules and grow the collection as needed over time.
A playful cohesion of color and form, the Alexander Rehn Design Studio display was a simple yet effective ensemble of desk, stool, screen, lounger, lamps, and wall hooks. Either made from sustainable materials like recycled PET bottles or requiring minimal materials and manufacturing, each piece contributed to a design-sensible and sustainable whole.
Exploring the parameters of flat-pack design, Helsinki-born furniture designer Aino Michelsen presented a series of sumptuous elm and ash wood chairs and tables in a range of finishes. Produced in Finland by local carpenters, the products incorporate straightforward shapes and elements, designed with ergonomics, usage, and convenient manufacturing in mind.