Shunted into June from its usual April slot because of pandemic uncertainty, this year’s design extravaganza in Milan nonetheless feels like a sense of spectacle is back. No one can hit every launch event, showroom, installation or negroni-fuelled party, though, so here are some highlights
5-12 June, 11am-7pm (except 4pm closure on Thursday, and 10pm closure on Sat/Sun). Via Simone Saint Bon 1
This Milanese creative platform specialises in holding shows in ‘forgotten’ spaces, and in the former military hospital of Biaggio they have landed on an atmospheric gem, with its faded classical grandeur and a cedar-filled garden that is slipping back into the wild At this expansive group show, expect to find plenty of experimental work, including French ceramicist Elisa Uberti’s sculptural stoneware lighting and new furniture from Bohinc Studio – Peaches is a capsule collection inspired by the female form. In the garden, look out for furniture by Otherside Objects (aka designer Sam Klemick) where soft, molten-looking upholstery melts over structured frames.
Hermès: Looking for Lightness
Until Sunday 12 June, 10am to 8pm (6pm on Sunday), La Pelota, via Palermo 10
Milan’s La Pelota venue needs a bold concept to fill its cavernous hall, but Hermès’ Looking for Lightness is up to the job, consisting of a series of stylised ‘water towers’, illuminated from within and containing the French luxury brand’s latest homewares. Textiles form a core part of the collection this season, including cashmere blankets: the Construction blanket is based on one of Gianpaolo Pagni’s designs, its panels assembled using a technique borrowed from ready-to-wear fashion. Cut and folded leather centrepieces, a bamboo and carbon-fibre stool by architect Alvaro Siza and a simple woven basket threaded with leather ensure that the conversation is all about the craftsmanship.
From 6 June, 10am-7pm. Viale Lancetti 34
Gallerist Nina Yashar’s two venues – Nilufar Gallery on via della Spiga and the huge Nilufar Depot, housed in a former silverware factory – are honeypots during Milan’s annual design festival, as she draws together a diverse band of creatives. At the Depot there will be work shown by, among others, Ashley Hicks, Bethan Laura Wood, Draga & Aurel and Osanna Visconti. Running across both venues is the Reborn Project, an initiative by Ginori 1735 that sees the Italian tableware company invite designers to give new life to its collection of discarded factory seconds: Martino Gamper’s response to the challenge will be on show at the Depot.
Triennale di Milano
Until 12 June, 11am to 9pm. Viale Emilio Alemagna 6
Milan’s principal design museum, in the Parco Sempione, hosts several shows straddling the city’s design week and beyond. The big hitter is Memphis Again, a retrospective of the quintessential postmodern movement featuring more than 200 pieces of furniture and objects designed by the Memphis group between 1981 and 1986, by names such as Ettore Sottsass, Michele De Lucchi and Nathalie Du Pasquier. Stick around for Forest Tales, a show staged by Studio Swine that features timber furniture commissioned by the American Hardwood Export Council by designers including Thomas Heatherwick, Jaime Hayon, Maria Jeglinska-Adamczewska and Maria Bruun. As part of a strategy to reduce waste, the show will be built from the crates that transported the furniture to Milan, and which will take it home again afterwards.
6-12 June, 10am to 9.30pm. Cloister of San Simpliciano, Via Cavalieri del Santo Sepolcro 3
The serene 16th-century cloisters of the Basilica of San Simpliciano make for an inviting stop-off amid the showrooms of the Brera district. British brands Case Furniture, SCP, Very Good & Proper and Isokon Plus – alongside Resident from New Zealand – will all be based here, with plenty of new pieces to explore. Case will debut its Ella seating range by Matthew Hilton, which has a cocooning winged design, alongside Soft Lighting by Terence Woodgate; while SCP’s latest includes new work from Philippe Malouin, Matthew Hilton and Wilkinson & Rivera, alongside specially commissioned hand-made accessories from Floris Wubben, Jochen Holz and Reiko Kaneko.
Until 11 June. Radaelli Fioraio, via A. Manzoni 16
Cristina Celestino has embellished the interior of florist’s boutique Fioreria Radaelli (founded in 1886, but given a memorable redesign in 1945 by Guglielmo Ulrich) thanks to a collaboration with luxury textile brand Limonta. Celestino’s intervention winds around Ulrich’s original terraces, niches and a fountain, with mirror-finish objects to deflect any decorative interference, while Limonata has supplied fabric for curtains, upholstery and obligatory tote bag.
Flos: See the Stars Again
7-24 June; variable opening times. Fabbrica Orobia, Via Orobia 15
Italian lighting brand Flos is going all-out in celebration of its 60th birthday, talking over the industrial 6,000 sqm Fabbrica Orobia. It will be showing collections new and old, including 24 never-seen-before pieces and a new limited-edition version of the Arco light, which is also 60 this year. Complementing all this, there will talks, workshops and a pop-up daytime cafe and evening restaurant, with Japanese chef Sayaka Sawaguchi presenting an eight-course menu every night from 4-11 June.
Lucia Eames: Seeing with the Heart
7-19 June, 10am to 5pm. Via Solferino 11
Charles Eames’ daughter Lucia was a successful artist in her own right as well as the guardian of her father and Ray Eames’ considerable design legacy. This show, created in collaboration with Danish licensing company Form Portfolios, sheds light on her life and career via her drawings, cut-outs and photography; her Californian optimism shines through in motifs such as butterflies and suns, and in her playful graphic approach.
Time & Style
From 6 June, 10am to 9pm. Via Eugenio Balzan, 4, Largo Claudio Treves, 2, Via San Marco, 13
Japanese furniture brand Time & Style is opening the doors of its Milan showroom on 6 June, and simultaneously celebrating the launch of its furniture collection designed by revered Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. This is Zumthor’s first commercially available furniture and the pieces were originally designed for his architectural projects, including minimalist chaises from the Therme Vals spa and a stool and table that first saw light at the 2011 Serpentine pavilion. The quiet luxury that characterises his work is a fine fit for Time & Style’s exquisite Japanese craftsmanship.
Matter by Norwegian Presence
7-12 June, Galleria Milano, via Turati 14
A regular fixture in Milan, Norwegian Presence brings to a wider audience Norway’s emerging talents and forward-thinking manufacturers; this year it’s taking up residence at Brera’s Galeria Milano. The show is curated and designed by stylists Kråkvik&D’Orazio, and will focus on the relationship between landscape and material, exploring how the country’s famed natural beauty and resources shape its design. Look out for new brand Minus and its carbon-negative chair and Anna Maria Øfstedal’s distinctive amorphous furniture. A ‘material lab’ will chronicle the transition from raw material to finished product.
Lee Broom: Divine Inspiration
7-12 June, 10am to 8pm (6pm on Sunday). Blindarte, Via Palermo 11
Divine Inspiration is Lee Broom’s first lighting collection in four years, and marks the 15th anniversary of the founding of his eponymous brand. The designer’s theatrical installations always push the envelope, and with this being his largest one to date in Milan, expect some drama. The starting point of the collection was Broom’s research into brutalist architecture, but all the pieces have been inspired by places of worship, from Rome’s Pantheon to 1970s postmodern churches. Vesper is made from a series of extruded aluminium shapes in either brushed silver or brushed gold, while a limited-edition of plaster pieces have been hand-made by Broom himself.
6-8 June, Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense, Via Brera 28
Curated by research-based design studio Formafantasma, this free series of talks offers some valuable discourse to run alongside all the products and parties. The overarching theme is the relationship between design and the natural world, and forests in particular, a subject that will be explored via talks, reading, debates and video projections. Tuesday morning sees architects, curators and design students from Design Academy Eindhoven’s Geo-design programme discuss how designers can redefine the relationship between materials and ecosystems; while Wednesday afternoon’s session explores how we can inhabit forests responsibly, with speakers including Swiss artist and curator Ursula Biemann and Het Nieuwe Instituut director Aric Chen.