Don’t forget your walking shoes – Mary Middleton reflects on Milan Design Week

Milan Design Week is a FOMO nightmare, if you are that way inclined. It’s hard to avert your eyes from the fantastic things that people are posting on Instagram and Twitter. Harder still not to ask where the venue/product is and threaten to squeeze it into your already packed schedule.

At the centre of Milan Design Week is Salone del Mobile, this year in its 55th edition, where anybody who has anything to do with furniture or interiors descends upon the fairgrounds. The boundaries of the design festival are increasingly blurred, as supporting Salone is the Fuorisalone, with a packed schedule of nearly 1100+ events across a multitude of disciplines — design, architecture, art, film, fashion and much, much more. Fuorisalone events are located all over Milan but tend to be concentrated in five main design districts with Brera, Lambrate and Tortona being the lynchpins.


Bertoia Diamond Chair in Gold by Knoll

The Tortona design district hosted the second edition of the Super Design Show by Superstudio that looks into the future of design. The show focused on many aspects of design but in essence seemed to articulate that everything in the whole world is an evolution of what already surrounds us. Standout installations and extraordinary stands included; CITIZEN “Time is Time” featuring a staggering 100,000 watch parts. The Amorphous installation by Japanese company AGC Asahi Glass made of 5000 ultra thin glass pieces suspended in space with its tinkling soundtrack and colour changing light. The Barovier & Toso collaboration with Paola Navone for the Colors project took a voyage through colorful cultures and traditions with glass and colourful lighting.


Vitra All Plastic Chair by Jasper Morrison

Extraordinary installations, events and pop ups were all over Milan; particularly noteworthy was Baccarat who can never be accused of being anything but ethereal, set within the legendary Fine Arts Academy of Brera, Baccarat’s “Lumieres Out of The Box” was spellbinding.

Over at Salone there were over 207,000 sqm of halls and more than 2300 exhibitors waiting to be seen. The vastness and variety of the show means preparation is required. When dashing through the halls to get to the one you want means you’ve hit your 10,000 steps by your second espresso, you start to notice some trends when you aren’t even looking – shades of blue, green and pops of vibrant yellow, brass that still seems to be everywhere. Product highlights included the Smile by Nendo for the launch of Kartell Kids, Knoll showed their Diamond Chair by Harry Bertoia in an elegant new gold finish. The All Plastic Chair by Jasper Morrison for Vitra, a very comfortable chair cast in a single piece, and by no means least the Fenice Table reissue by Zanotta designed by Piero Bottoni in 1936.


Diesel Open Workshop Kitchen for Scavolini

Over at Eurocucina it seems the hidden kitchen is still a trend with mileage and several companies showed surfaces that surprised, sliding back to reveal hidden hobs and sinks, bringing versatility to the ordinary. This minimalist look allows the kitchen to discreetly be incorporated into living spaces. If discreet kitchens aren’t your cup of tea then maybe the Diesel Living for Scavolini new Diesel Open Workshop kitchen and bathroom range with all its industrial references might just be.

My FOMO raged about Forest Of Light Cos and Fujimoto, Fondazione Prada, Lasvit at the Palazzo Serbelloni and the Wallpaper* Arcade. All of which I ran out of time to visit. “If you are not in Milano, you don’t exist” was the remark of CEO Jose A Giandia-Blasco of Gandiablasco, a sentiment that accentuates FOMO across the design industry. I was there, I never stopped walking and I know I missed plenty, so for that reason I’ll be back next year.

Mary Middleton is a freelance interiors writer and interior designer,