Last week the design world descended upon Italy for the annual Milan Design Week. Initially made up of the huge Salone del Mobile trade fair, and the lighting fair Euroluce - where international brands launch their latest collections - it is the fringe events around the city itself that have secured its transcendence from industry-only to a global spectacle that sets the city alight for a week every spring. Set inside some of Milan's most spectacular palazzos and industrial spaces, 'Salone', as it is known to the initiated, is serious business, and not just for those who work in the design industry. Much of its potency lies in the fact that it is the place where the worlds of design, art and fashion and - this year markedly - technology, collide on a scale they rarely do anywhere else. The installations here are bigger, the ideas being explored are more exciting. Here are the things you need to know from the 2019 edition.
To find out more about the designers listed below, or to see the full collections go to their Instagram feeds by clicking on the picture.
Six Gallery and The Sister Hotel
Opening last year to universal acclaim, Six Gallery is surely one of the city’s most exciting design galleries. Curated by architects David Lopez Quincoces and Fanny Bauer Grung, the duo behind Quincoces-Drago & Partners, its aim is to ‘combine design from different epoques and origins without being restrained by any boundaries’. The pieces shown range from collectors' pieces to anonymous ones, and this year included a smattering of their own designs, as well as the exciting news that the team would be opening a new project called The Sister Hotel. Located in a building next door, the nine rooms will function as an extension of the gallery, where all the furniture is for sale and the decoration is constantly evolving.
Diptyque are launching homeware
French fragrance brand Diptyque launched its first foray into homeware in collaboration with some of our favourite designers including Atelier Vime, who have produced highly covetable eye-shaped table mats, alongside textiles by Antoinette Poisson, ceramics by Laboratorio Paravicini, and very nice Murano glasses by Lobmeyr. The pieces will be sold at a series of pop-up shops - coming to London soon!
Salvatori’s Brera showroom was transformed in to a series of rooms with pieces designed by high profile collaborators John Pawson, Piero Lissoni and Elisa Ossino, whose monolithic marble bath is pictured below.
BDDW opened up the downstairs of their shop, and set Instagram on fire with their new hand-painted bathroom.
Dzek and Formafantasma at Alcova
At this year’s Fuorisalone as part of Alcova, innovators in material development Dzek, and Dutch design studio Formafantasma created a spectacular installation using their new collection of volcanic ash-glazed tile. Called ‘ExCinere’ the tiles are the result of more than three years of research and experimentation.
The invisible collection
The Invisible Collection launched a new collaboration with ETEL, the preeminent makers of modern and contemporary Brazilian design who have spent more than 30 years promoting the legacy of the great masters who have fallen from the public consciousness.
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Cocktail Time at #Salone! Join us to celebrate Brazilian masterpieces on 9th April and find out more about our new exciting collaboration with #ETEL, the ambassadors of #Brazilian #design and #culture. Pictured here, is the iconic JZ Tea Trolley, by Jorge Zalszupin, a classy sculptural piece of the utmost elegance and modernity. First designed in 1959, it still stands beautifully the test of time, and can easily accommodate an aperitivo or two… Order it now on #TheInvisibleCollection. Cocktails and reception Tue 9th April 4pm – 7pm, ETEL, via Pietro Maroncelli, 13 #TheInvisibleCollection #EtelMilano #JorgeZalszupin #DesignIsArt #SaloneDelMobile #Milan #MilanDesignWeek #MilanDesignWeek2019 #Brazil #Cocktail
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Bethan Laura Wood at Nilufar Gallery
British designer Bethan Laura Wood launched some great new pieces at Nilufar Gallery. Her delicate, iridescent plexi-glass ‘Hex’ ceiling light and a new series of tables.
Dalila Formentini at Lisa Corti
Italian lifestyle brand Lisa Cortihad some lovely new things in her showroom including tables by Italian designer Dalila Formentini - a name to have on your radar.
Charming new accessories at Paola C
Italian accessory supremos Paola C showed a charming collection of objects in collaboration with designer Jaime Hyon, as well as beautiful coloured hand-blown glass pieces by Neri and Hu (pictured below).
Only Hermes could make a cashmere blanket adorned with a glittering horse desirable. The standout pieces from this year’s collection were the table lamps, which included the mushroom-shaped ‘Halo’ created by Barber & Osgerby, and the delicate, sculptural ‘Coulisse’ table lamp by Spanish designer Tomas Alonso, reminiscent of a Mondrian made 3D. There were also some incredibly pretty boxes designed by Gianpaolo Pagni.
Studio Pepe 'Les Arcanistes – The future is unwritten'
Studiopepe is a design agency founded in Milan, in 2006, by Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto. Held inside a large industrial gold-working plant from the 20th century, the concept of this year’s project “Les Arcanistes – The future is unwritten” was based around the archetypical power of symbols. The theme may have been esoteric, but the curation of pieces was anything but, with a wonderful selection of contemporary design by the likes of Bloc-Studio and Atelier Areti, alongside the work of Italian behemoths like Baxter and Cassina. The overall effect was a total pallette cleanser, which made the case for these pieces as future design classics.
Ini Archibon for Sé at Rossana Orlandi
This year, furniture brand Sé celebrated its tenth anniversary with a sumptuous four room show at Rossana Orlandi Gallery. The elegant space was the showcase for their collaboration with American Nigerian designer Ini Archibong, who is a name to know.
New furniture from Marni
For many years fashion house Marni have been working in collaboration with a community of Colombian artisans to make playful, colourful furniture. This year’s collection, inspired by space, featured some of the most original pieces for the outdoors that we’ve seen in a while. A joyful collection of chairs, tables and sculptural objects, that gets more extensive and interesting every year. Worth keeping an eye on.
Nendo and Wonderglass
Japanese design house Nendo's collection for Venetian brand Wonderglass is opulent in its simplicity. Furniture is constructed from glass shaped using gravity to allow the material to find its natural drape.
Matteo Thun ‘Nudes’
While Italian designer Matteo Thunn’s new chairs didn’t seek to break any moulds, and stuck with traditional forms and materials, they are extremely refined objects, cleverly and thoughtfully executed.
John Booth for HEM
‘Gamey, playful and cartoonish but decorative and interesting,’ is deputy decoration editor Ruth Sleightholme’s description of the pieces British designer John Booth has created for HEM - a rainbow, a cloud and a flower. ‘The interesting thing about them is that the variance in methods of creation has yielded such a happy little group of things.’
Loewe celebrates weaving
Loewe gave a platform to a range of weaving techniques, inviting eleven international artists and craftspeople to create a series of exclusive objets d’art. Guest creatives included alumni of the Loewe craft prize, as well as Irish basket maker, Joe Hogan, and American-born second-generation rattan weaver, Deloss Webber.
Fromental's foray into Chinoiserie
Located in a wonderful late 19th-century building overlooking Castello Sforzesco in Milan, Eric Egan’s design practice L’Artigianato played host to British company Fromental. For Salone del Mobile, they developed a new custom hand-painted chinoiserie for the flat based on the designs of Carlo Antonio and Vittorio Raineri who worked in Lombardy and Liguria in the late 18th century. The design reflects 'the Lombardy style of cosmopolitan, exotic Neoclassicism.'
Kvadrat and Raf Simons
The fashion designer Raf Simons chose to display his sixth collection of textiles with Kvadrat in a series of houses based on designs by the mid-century architect Jean Prouvé, furnished with important pieces by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Mathieu Matégot, which were a treat to see gathered in one place and the perfect vehicle for the collection of fabrics. The space itself was one of the hottest tickets in town, thanks in no small part to the Rochelle Canteen pop-up restaurant on site.
Dimore Gallery reissues pieces by Gabrielle Crespi
Dimore Gallery’s Britt Moran and Emiliano Salci collaborated with the daughter of the late-Milanese designer and artist Gabriella Crespi on special editions of her mother’s work, executed in new materials. Crespi was a seminal designer, whose work in bamboo and rattan helped to define the look of the 1970s. The reissued pieces include a lamp, a geometric wall sconce and a number of tables, which were displayed in Dimore’s apartment alongside rooms full of original furniture from the Crespi and Dimore archive. Always one of the most highly anticipated and evocative exhibitions in Milan, Dimore had a bumper year, with a huge installation of the studio’s newly launched furniture and fabric collection in an abandoned 1930s cinema, as well as collaborations with Dior (for whom they have designed the house’s first homeware collection) and Parisian trunk maker Au Depart.
A Space for Being: Google’s collaboration with Reddymade Architecture, Muuto and Johns Hopkins University’s International Arts+Mind Lab
In a multi-room installation at Spazio Maiocchi, Google Design Studio explored the field of neuroaesthetics and how different aesthetic experiences have the potential to impact our biology and wellbeing.
Paul Smith + 1882 Ltd
The family run Stoke-on-Trent pottery and the British designer Paul Smith are a match made in heaven. Each ‘Stack’ within the collection is a unique object and not quite what they seem – appearing as a stack of plates (or bowls, or saucers..), with each layer hand glazed in colours inspired by Paul Smith’s iconic stripes.
Luke Edward Hall and Richard Ginori
In 2015 the Gucci group acquired the struggling 300 year old Italian ceramics house Richard Ginori. This year for Salone they launched a collection with British artist Luke Edward Hall, who has created a collection inspired by the designer’s love of Greco-Roman mythology.
La Triennale Milano
'A museum that does not exist, but one that Milan thoroughly deserves.' Using €10m of state funding, La Triennale, is an new arts centre that houses about 1,600 Italian design pieces, that will be turned into a museum dedicated to Italian design and architecture.
The Manzoni by Tom Dixon
British designer Tom Dixon opened his own restaurant. Called The Manzoni, it doubled as an interactive and immersive showroom during Salone, but will remain open after the fair has left town.
'Conifera' Arthur Mamou-Mani's installation for COS
In the grounds of the 16th-century Palazzo Isimbardi, 'Conifera' comprises more than 700 interlocking 3D-printed bio-bricks that extend from the palazzo's courtyard out into the garden beyond.
Life in Vogue
Vogue Italia opened its doors to the public for the second time with its editors' offices transformed by a new crop of designers.