Daniel Gava’s postcard from Milan
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Daniel Gava’s postcard from Milan

Expectations were high for the return of the Milan Furniture Fair – now known as the Milan Design Week for most – and they were certainly met.

I don’t recall an edition with so many multifaceted initiatives: from classic displays of new design products to artistic installations, talks, and normally inaccessible buildings opened up to visitors. And the crowds! It was almost like Bar Basso at midnight.

The fair-grounds still serve as the largest living catalogue of design products in the world and, for some, an opportunity to display the majesty of a brand through their stands. But the real fulcrum of the sixty-first edition was undoubtedly the city. Milan’s atmosphere, and the surprising sense of participation from its inhabitants, may have marked a step into international maturity.

Thanks to the international design industry, visitors had the chance to discover a city of surprises, from unusual and hidden gems to exhibitions that wonderfully enhanced the personalities of the brands as opposed to the classic model of the fair where the product is king.

A special mention should be made to the fashion brands, which for many years have been riding the wave of the Milanese design week but which this year have boasted of real integration with the world of design and architecture by proposing even more events than during their fashion week.

Fendi collaborated with Louis Poulsen and Cristina Celestino, Gaetano Pesce took over Bottega Veneta showroom, Louis Vuitton moved to Palazzo Serbelloni to present a new collab with Marc Newson, Prada involved Formafantasma for a series of talks, Armani opened Palazzo Orsini, Jimmy Choo worked with the historic Murano glass company Venini and Andrea Rosso (Diesel Living) and business and life partners Fabiola Di Virgilio took part in the design week for the first time presenting Redduo, a collection of objects for the home which they combine with an interior design service.

These are just the ones I was able to see personally, but if you take a look at the official calendar of events by The National Chamber for Italian Fashion you will discover that there were many more and all top quality.

Now, to say that fashion companies represent a threat in terms of products and market shares for brands in the furniture sector is certainly an exaggeration, but given their economic resources and brand strength, I wouldn’t be surprised if they somehow forced the design industry to raise the bar in terms of innovation, research, creativity and to create more cross-pollination and lifestyle products.

– Daniel Gava