The design world is buzzing with anticipation as it gears up for the annual extravaganza of ambitious installations, product launches and parties galore in Milan. It is impossible to see and do it all, so here are (some of) our top picks for the week
Calico Wallpaper x Faye Toogood
9-14 April, 10am to 7pm. Via Pietro Maroncelli 7 Milan
Two years after their first Milan collaboration, Brooklyn-based Calico Wallpaper and designer Faye Toogood have joined forces once again for MUSE – a hand-painted wallcovering depicting a series of female forms. Calico has captured the essence of Toogood’s original paintings by printing on textured canvas – a design process that will be revealed in an immersive installation.
COS x Mamou-Mani
9-14th April, 10am to 5pm. Palazzo Isimbardi, Corso Monforte 35
Cos has a lot to live up to following a string of critically acclaimed collaborations with Phillip K Smith III, Snarkitecture and Studio Swine in its last three Milan showcases. In 2019 the brand, led by creative director Karin Gustaffson, will make waves again with Conifera, a large-scale 3D printed installation by French architect Arthur Mamou-Mani and his London studio. During design week the 16th century Palazzo Isimbardi and its garden will be invaded by 700 interlocking modular bio-bricks made from a mix of wood and bioplastic to a ghostly, ethereal effect – prompting questions about the future of architecture and how materials are used, and hopefully, reused. “It is the perfect opposite of a classical building to some extent,” Mamou-Mani told D/A UK. “It will be thought-provoking. I think people will be a little bit confused in a positive way.”
9-14 April. 11am to 7pm. Via Popoli Uniti 11-13, 20125
Back by popular demand: Milan-based DWA Design Studio and Canadian lighting company Lambert & Fils will put on the next edition of Caffè Populaire – a beautifully-designed concept cafe in Milan’s Alcova building (a defunct panettone factory) that is meant to bring people together over breakfast, lunch or aperitivo, and under Lambert & Fils’ beguiling new Sainte lights (pictured). Reservations required, go to caffepopulaire.com.
HEMMA gone wild
9-14 April. 9:30am to 7pm. Via Solferino, 15
It’s billed as an exploration of the Swedish concept of Hemma (home) and its relationship with nature and technology; we think it’s a really sound way to take in some of Sweden’s best contemporary design all in one place. With support of the Swedish government, Swedish Design Moves is raising awareness of its country’s credentials in one gargantuan showcase. A major highlight is a selection of the 82 design pieces commissioned for Stockholm’s recently renovated Nationalmuseum, plus collections from the likes of Massproductions, Blå Station, Fogia, Studio Mia Cullin and Pholc.
Bethan Gray x Nature Squared
9-14 April, 11am-8pm. Rossanna Orlandi, Via Matteo Bandello 14/16
Fans of an exquisite inlay should mark out some time to see Welsh designer Bethan Gray’s latest collection of furniture and objects, called Exploring Eden, in collaboration with surface design company, Nature Squared. The pieces use ‘exotic but plentiful’ natural materials like capiz shell, scallop shell and pearl – sustainably sourced in Filipino fishing communities as part of ongoing conservation projects. The pieces are typical of the designer’s work in that they are graphic, bold and delicate all at once.
JOIN by Norwegian Presence
9-14 April, 11am to 7pm. Via Savona, 35
One of the must-sees of the week and curated by Oslo-based studio Kråkvik & D’Orazio, JOIN by Norwegian Presence will display the work of 21 Norwegian designers and artists – from Tron Meyer to Erik Wester – alongside seven manufacturers including Vestre and Fjordfiesta. All have shown a commitment to sustainability and the circular economy and their products were selected for their ‘longevity, decomposibility or the way in which they are produced,” say the curators. “Norway doesn’t have the same design traditions as the other Scandinavian countries, and Norwegian designers are generally very free in their approach. This playfulness shines through in this selection.”
9-14 April, 9:30am-6:30pm. Hall 16, Booth: F52. Rho Fiera Milano
The Parisian design house Petite Friture will unveil a new collection by Constance Guisset called Francis – a family of tables and mirrors that have been treated with a distinctive, misty-coloured pigment that gives a distorted, yet not unpleasant, sense of depth and space. Francis’ sharp, clean lines are a nice counterpoint to the whimsical quality of the treatment, which references the moment when a paint brush is dipped in water and the colour billows off the tip.
Salvatori at Home
9-13 April, 3-6pm. Via Solferino 11, 4th floor (right entrance)
As showroom styling goes, Salvatori is a firm favourite. So it was with great excitement that we learned the personal pied-à-terre of CEO Gabriele Salvatori will be open to the public again this year for three hours a day during Milan Design Week. Situated in a typical Milanese palazzo across the courtyard from the showroom, with interiors by Elisa Ossino, it will showcase some of the brand’s 2019 collection including pieces designed by John Pawson and Piero Lissoni. Original terrazzo floors, wooden beams and a selection of graphic artworks are the cherries on top.
Note Design Studio x Tarkett
8-14 April, 10am-5pm. Circolo Filologico Milanese, Via Clerici 10
Hot on the heels of the success of their Snowtopped installation at Stockholm Furniture Fair, sustainable flooring brand Tarkett and Swedish design studio Note have come together again to present Formations – an installation at the historic Circolo Filologico, which will be decked out with Note’s creative interpretation of Tarkett’s new collection of materials. We see there will be totems among other things and, going on past precedent, it is sure to be inspiring.
Kiki Van Eijk & Joost Van Bleiswijk x 5Vie
9-14 April, 10-5pm. Via Cesare Correnti 14
The 5Vie Design District is brimming with good things to see including the site-specific installation Connect from Kiki van Eijk and Joost van Bleiswijk and associates. Born from what the design duo considers to be the issue of our time, a lack of empathy, the exhibition draws on the connection between nature and people, subconscious creativity and physical expression as well as the crossover of disciplines and materials. One of two installations Van Eijk will present is Free Form, a series of ceramic lamps that create suspended animal shapes while Van Bleiswijk’s sculptural Curved and Taped is made of interlocking panels modelled on pebbles. All will be revealed amidst the crumbling beauty of Via Cesare Correnti 14.