Interiors journalist Claudia Baillie reflects on Milan Design Week 2019

Gucci Décor pop-up store

Another year, another week of Milan-based madness where the global design community descends on the Italian city for Salone del Mobile. The aim? To seek out the newest, coolest and most exciting products that the makers and manufacturers of the design world have to offer. From exhibitions and installations to the enormous furniture fair itself, there are a thousand things to look at, thousands more steps to be walked, and inevitably a little bit of regret about the stuff you missed. You can’t do it all, and I certainly didn’t but these are some of the things that I enjoyed and was inspired by.

The Gucci Décor Store

A pop-up store (if indeed Gucci does ‘pop-ups’), open for three months only, and the sole outlet in the world for the entire Gucci Décor range. There are both new and existing pieces from the opulent collection of furniture, textiles and tableware by the brand’s creative director Alessandro Michele, all displayed in this ‘apartment’ on Via Santo Spirito, alongside some vintage props. Open until the end of June, it’s a must for fans of maximalist design.

The Manzoni by Tom Dixon

Having taken a year off from Milan Design Week in 2018, Tom Dixon comes back not just with a bang, but with a permanent restaurant in the centre of the city. Also home to a showroom and a design hub, ‘The Manzoni’ features a jungle-like gallery and a lush courtyard, as well as gigantic cork tables for communal dining and Dixon’s new furniture and lighting ranges in situ. The toilets, clad in brass and marble, are worth a look too.

‘The Manzoni’ by Tom Dixon

Bethan Gray, Exploring Eden at Rossana Orlandi

A collaboration with sustainable surface company Nature Squared, this brand new, super-luxe collection by award-winning British designer Bethan Gray takes the use of natural and sustainable materials to the next level. The breathtaking scallop shell table is a stand-out piece, and all of the materials used, including Capiz and British pheasant feathers, are plentiful by-products from other industries.

Pink scallop shell table by Bethan Gray for Nature Squared, as part of the ‘Exploring Eden’ collection

Nadiia x Masha Reva at Superstudio

A trip out to Superstudio in the Tortona Design District certainly adds to the step count, but sometimes throws up a gem. This young Ukrainian brand established in 2018 by ceramicist Nadiia Shapoval is a collaboration with Kyiv-based fashion stylist and artist Masha Reva. The playful and colourful pottery pieces include a circular vessel for water or wine, that can be carried over your arm like a handbag. Cute.

Circular vessel by Nadiia x Masha Reva

Dimore Milano and Dimore Gallery

There were Berlin nightclub vibes a-plenty at the ‘Interstellar’ exhibition by Dimore Milano, where futuristic furniture, carpets and out-of-this-world fabrics were set against a soundscape of techno in a suitably industrial setting. Back at Dimore Gallery, the Visioni exhibition showed a collection of vintage pieces by Italian artist and designer Gabriella Crespi, and special editions of Crespi pieces reissued by Emiliano Salci and Britt Moran, all displayed on heaps of sand. Absolute madness in true Dimore style, but of course it completely worked.

‘Interstellar’ exhibition by Dimore Milano

Claudia Baillie is a design and interiors writer, editor and consultant (@claudiabaillie).