Milan is once again alive with an abundance of happenings, initiatives, and exhibitions celebrating the best in design. We take a look at 8 must-sees while in town.
By ILENIA MARTINI
In addition to the renowned Salone del Mobile, which is now in its 61st edition, a diverse range of events will take over the city, inviting the visitors to immerse themselves and discover the most creative and innovative installations. And just like every year, the fashion world continues to make its mark during this important moment. Designers and brands work together to form partnerships that go beyond their respective areas of expertise, blending their values and transforming them into installations and product concepts.
Bottega Veneta, for instance, maintains its close partnership with Gaetano Pesce, featuring an immersive installation and a capsule of hand-screened bags; Louis Vuitton returns with a new collection of Objets Nomades, the decor elements that embody the spirit of travel; and finally, Hermès offers a captivating experiential journey to discover its fabrics, decorative objects, and home furnishings.
Nexum by Naessi Studio
Secondome and Studio F have collaborated to create a collection of necessary furnishing accessories in recovered solid wood. The project, curated by Claudia Pignatale — Founder and Art Director of Secondome — features five Italian designers: Simone Fanciullacci, Duccio Maria Gambi, Giulio Iacchetti, Naessi Studio and Gio Tirotto each asked to design a ’necessary’ piece of furnishing using a single type of wood from a single tree, a 5-meter tall antique maple tree in Turin that collapsed due to woodworm infestation and was subsequently reclaimed. The collection aims to meet individual needs and values by creating objects that satisfy the soul.
— Nexum is born to celebrate the ancestral function linked to the need for a table: the need to share, where sociality features as the fil rouge that connects dining companions, and the matter of which the object is composed. An object made up of numerous small parts, a volume that acquires its identity from the union of many small cylindrical elements that alone would not have the same expressive force. A single piece, in which the union of fragments create a whole, just like a community borne from an encounter, Secondome and Studio F comments.
INTERNA_MENTE by Materica
Interna_Mente is an immersive installation created by Materica, a company specializing in the wire-metallization of diverse surface materials. The installation, on display at Alcova, is a chamber of mirrors that encourages self-reflection and listening. Materica’s process of wire-metallization transforms various materials such as wood, marble, stone, steel, and textiles. The metal can be oxidized, coloured, silvered, antiqued, or polished, resulting in various sensory effects. The installation is an area outside of time and space, inhabited by a mysterious figure that reveals Materica’s transformative abilities. The space is intended to be a temple where visitors can take a moment to feel like themselves, away from the pressures of society, appearances, and absences.
Loehr’s W1 Stacksystem
Supported by Swedish brand Wästberg, Archive of Thoughts is a collaboration between Berlin-based design brand Loehr and German form magazine for Milan Design Week 2023. The exhibition explores themes of structure, perspectives, construction, and deconstruction, with the scenography conceptualized by spatial designer Enzo Zak Lux featuring the new Stack shelving system by Loehr. Possessing both practical and architectural qualities, both boards and side panels are made from sheet metal and can be combined to create a sturdy grid structure that is supported by invisible mounting points. Stack’s modular shelf dimensions are based on everyday objects and office needs. The design of the shelf is minimalist and industrial, with the option of customization with a rear panel or leg frame to serve various purposes. It can be used as a sideboard, display rack, or even a side table in retail environments. The product is shipped in a flat pack and can be easily disassembled for recycling or replacement of parts.
MOHD Sinfonia show curated by Nichetto Studio and Steinway & Sons
Nichetto Studio takes over Mohd officina with ’MOHD Sinfonia’ installation bringing for the first time in Europe the Gran Nichetto Limited Edition Steinway designed for the legendary piano maker. The piano is a micro-architecture project that combines Steinway’s craftsmanship with the artistic concept of Luca Nichetto and Nichetto Studio. The piano is limited to only 50 editions worldwide and takes a minimum of 12 months to build from start to finish. Mohd Officina, a home furnishing destination, commissioned Nichetto Studio to create an installation that combines music and design to create an immersive sensory-rich journey for visitors. Thirteen purpose-built sets showcase product launches and exclusive brand partnerships with Mohd, including the Steinway & Sons Spirio technology, the most advanced high-resolution player piano in the world. The space will also host three performances by internationally-renowned pianists.
PROWL Studio and M4 Factory’s PEEL Chair
PROWL Studio’s new product, PEEL, is a biodegradable and compostable responsible alternative to plastic stacking chairs. Made primarily from hemp PEEL reflects the brand’s commitment to designing with healthier materials combating fast furniture. The chair’s entire lifecycle is explored in the exhibition concept titled ’Expect Death’, which showcases the brand’s efforts to incorporate an accessible end-of-life plan from the beginning of the design process. The exhibition, hosted at Alcova’s new venue at the former Porta Vittoria abattoir, offers an immersive experience that takes visitors through the chair’s journey, from decomposition to its arrival flat-packed in hemp packaging at the buyer’s home. Additionally, visitors will witness a dynamic animation of the PEEL chair’s material journey at the molecular level. The product is developed in collaboration with M4 Factory, representing a first-of-its-kind partnership in the industry, as both companies share a common belief in material innovation and material strategies.
AMeBE — Extra Vergine for Bitossi Home
Studio AMeBE is an Italian design duo composed of Alessandra Mantovani and Eleonora Barbareschi, known for their eclectic and artistic craftsmanship approach. Blending art and design, producing unique and innovative pieces, they have collaborated with various brands including Seletti, Riva 1920, Sitap, Modo, and lastly Bitossi for which they launched, during this Milan Design Week, a new product, ”EXTRA VERGINE” a visibly Italian Pop oil-dispenser, in collaboration with BITOSSI Home, the historic Italian manufacturer that has evolved from traditional local production to unique and globally exported creations that showcase the excellence of Made in Italy. The product, Extra Vergine, is a tribute to Mediterranean culture and Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a precious Italian ingredient. The design maintains the aesthetics of the famous cultural icon, Our Lady of Lourdes, and is composed of a natural glass body with a functional blue crown cap designed to be drop-free. The product is an example of the relationship between craftsmanship and technology, and a perfect union between devotion and nourishment.
OMG-GMObyRobert Stadler for Carwan Gallery
Carwan Gallery presents a new commission by Paris-based designer Robert Stadler called OMG-GMO at Fuorisalone 2023, featuring whimsical ceramic functional objects handmade by the leading Italian, family-owned ceramics company BITOSSI. The project, available exclusively through Carwan Gallery, is a witty comment on the relationship between humans and their environment, highlighting the fact that fruit and vegetables have been genetically modified and selectively bred over thousands of years to become the tamed versions we know today. Stadler borrows the forms of engineered fruit and vegetables to create ten ceramic, hand-painted objects that transform the organic into something structural and functional, critiquing and mocking human manipulation of nature.
Toogood’s Esquisses collection For Maison Matisse
Founded by the painter’s family, Maison Matisse keeps the unique spirit of its forefather alive by working with renowned designers across the globe and opening up its extensive archive of Henri Matisse originals for inspiration. Faye Toogood has collaborated with French design house to create a new collection of furniture, rugs, and accessories called Esquisses. Inspired by Henri Matisse’s Chinese black ink drawings in Dessins: Thèmes et Variations, the collection features neutral shades and is guided by the play between two-dimensional and three-dimensional creations. It includes hand-upholstered armchairs, hand-tufted rugs, a coffee table, and a blanket, all of which have the energy and slight irregularity of a drawing.