Not everyone believed that Milan Design Week 2021 would be a success, or even happen, for obvious reasons. Despite everything, from travel restrictions to the immense financial problems facing many design studios and brands, Cosmit, the institution that has organized Salone since 1961, has gone ahead. After canceling the April edition, they decided that a special Supersalone would take place in September; always at the fair, always in Milan. Therefore, most businesses and neighborhoods responded by organizing their usual events in the city, bringing the traditional Fuorisalone events to life and keeping the soul of Milan Design Week alive.
Of course, attendance has been drastically reduced. (The Salone del Mobile 2019 had 386,000 attendees, while this year that number has dropped to 60,000. Fuorisalone’s website says 1,348 events were included in April 2019, up from 763 this month.) But apart from the numbers, the bet on Milan Design Week was won, notably by Via Durini and Brera Design District, which were the epicenters of the event. Despite many absences and changes, the Milan Design Week was a success, full of the same energy and discovery as the previous iterations. As we look forward to the next edition (scheduled for April 5-10, 2022), here are 10 highlights from this year.
A’mare by Jacopo Foggini for Edra
Born in Turin, Italy, artist and designer Jacopo Foggini is best known for his work with methacrylate, a strong, transparent material commonly used to make car headlights. This year, Foggini designed a fantastic collection of outdoor furniture for Edra, made from aqua methacrylate bars. The spectacular character of these objects was amplified by the majestic halls of Edra’s new showroom, housed in the frescoed rooms of the historic Palazzo Durini Caproni in Taliedo, right in the center of Milan.
Studio Vedet and Space Caviar, Alcova’s curators since 2018, often surprise visitors to Milan Design Week with unusual works by designers. This year, they have outdone themselves. In fact, Alcova’s new location is housed in three historic buildings within a 3,500 square meter urban park closed to the public for many years. In this dreamlike place, the work of more than 50 independent galleries and designers was united by the desire to create a better future through an aesthetic vision.
Parentesi 50th anniversary edition at Flos
During this year’s Milan Design Week, we saw many re-releases of historic products, especially by Italian companies. The design icons have been revised to be produced more efficiently, redesigned in different colors and corrected to be more durable. Flos celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Parentesi light by Achille Castiglioni and Pio ManzÃ¹ with two new colors and a reissue of the original packaging. The latest version has also been completely redesigned by Calvi Brambilla, in close collaboration with the Achille Castiglioni Foundation and the Manzoni Foundation.
The first collection of Orografie was presented as part of Design Variations in the rooms of Palazzo Litta. Despite the old location, these products are designed for contemporary digital living in the âamphibious designâ category. Here, visitors saw outdoor tables designed around working from home, lecterns dedicated to smartphones, and coffee tables full of compartments designed to accommodate our digital devices. These modular objects are beautiful and functional even though they are also used in a traditional and analog way.
LCDC by Luca Nichetto by Ginori 1735
For Ginori1735’s first home fragrance collection, designer Luca Nichetto reinvented the court of Caterina De ‘Medici – the lover, the scholar, the companion, the favorite, the brother, the lady, the master of fire. – resulting in La Compagnia di Caterina, or LCDC, collection. The stories of this legendary queen can be found in literature, movies, comics, and even video games. All four fragrances were created by Jean Niel (France’s oldest perfume house), while Nichetto designed candles, censers, diffusers and snuffers, each representing a member of De ‘Medici’s entourage.
Soriana di Afra & Tobia Scarpa for Cassina
Afra and Tobia Scarpa designed the iconic, bulbous Soriana sofa in 1969, and the Compasso d’Oro award-winning piece is reborn at Cassina with new colors, 100% recycled blown fiber padding and a fully removable structure. The sofa is even more comfortable and welcoming than the previous versions, and different fabric colors can be cleverly combined with the new shades of the external metal structure.
The Stone House by Stefan Scholten for Morseletto
At Masterly: The Dutch in Milano, a group exhibition curated by Nicole Uniquole, visitors were treated to âThe Stone Houseâ by Stefan Scholten in collaboration with Morseletto. For the project, Scholten spent time in the quarries of Forte dei Marmi, one of the most famous places in the world for the extraction of fine marble. He began to collect waste, large and small, treated with a technique that creates a distinct patchwork look and a flat surface. Each piece is unique, but not random, as a careful process guarantees its sophisticated and elegant appearance.
Tom Dixon at Valextra
Award-winning British designer Tom Dixon’s Black Light exhibition consisted of 10 light sculptures which, during Milan Design Week, found their way into the flagship store of Italian leather brand Valextra on Via Manzoni. As Dixon says, “It’s an ode to LED panels.” Some elements of the installation were created in collaboration with Austrian lighting specialist Prolicht.
Alvor chair by Daciano da Costa for Etel
Considered the first non-Brazilian designer of the Brazilian modernist movement, Portuguese designer Daciano da Costa created chairs for the luxurious Alvor Praia hotel in 1966. Characterized by curved lines and only three legs, these pieces received new color variations. by Etel, each inspired by different moments in iconic design history.
Looks like magic by Oficina PenadÃ©s
Once again, the 5Vie provided an overview of the most advanced research and experimentation in design, this year at the Looks like magic installation. In a beautiful installation curated by Maria Cristina Didero, the Spanish designer Jorge PenadÃ©s unveiled an exciting reuse of waste as new objects. PenadÃ©s has developed a process that involves the recovery of textile leftovers from industrial laundries, which they then transform into a moldable clay-like material that they air dry, thus pushing back the need for ovens or ovens. .
Image of the hero by Paolo Ferrarini