Milan Design Week: Best of 2017

Salone Del Mobile
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The annual Salone del Mobile once again brought Milan into the international spotlight as one of the biggest design events of the year. A wave of installations, exhibitions, parties and product launches flooded the showrooms and streets of this vibrant Italian city. From the Euroluce lighting exhibition’s presence at the bustling Rho fairgrounds, to MINI LIVING’s full-scale future home installations, the choices were endless.

“Be the First to See the Latest”

For those who were unable to experience it in person, Mood Board Magazine highlights the best 5 launches and installations from the past few days.

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Fiera Rho Fairgrounds. Photo © George Guida for Mood Board Magazine

MINI LIVING – Breath

MINI LIVING – Breath. Photo: Courtesy of MINI LIVING

MINI LIVING – Breath. Photo: Courtesy of MINI LIVING

Only one year from its debut – MINI LIVING took the scene with its visionary living concepts. Together with New York based architects SO-IL, this installation presented an elegant resource-conscious home, nested in-between a disused 50-square-metre site. Three-storey high, “Breath” consisted of a sustainable and compact design that took viewers through a series of solutions to the current short supply of well-designed urban spaces.

“MINI LIVING – Breathe brings its residents into direct contact with their environment. By making living an active experience, the installation encourages visitors to confront our tendency to take resources for granted,” explains Ilias Papageorgiou, Principal at SO – IL.

MINI LIVING – Breath. Photo: Courtesy of MINI LIVING

MINI LIVING – Breath. Photo: Courtesy of MINI LIVING

Inside this installation, the six rooms and garden roof terrace provide an insightful view of what the future of the housing market might start looking like, from external semi-translucent skins, to door-less interiors, rope hung beds and a heightened sense of collectiveness. This crafted gateway to Milan’s skyline brought forward an insightful journey of living – reinvented.

COSx Studio Swine

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COSx Studio Swine. Photo: Courtesy of COS

Swedish fashion brand COS surprised once again in its sixth consecutive year at the Salone. Reminiscent of a cherry blossom tree, this multi-sensory experience entitled “New Spring” brought out a curious playfulness out of each of its visitors. In collaboration with Studio Swine, Japanese architect Azusa Murakami’s and British artist Alexander Groves’ design of the installation demonstrated how simple gestures can bring forth great emotions.

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COSx Studio Swine. Photo: Courtesy of COS

Upon arrival, each visitor was given a pair of soft gloves capable of catching, throwing, or popping the gentle cascade of smoke filled bubbles. Paired with a series of dreamlike sounds and a choreographed darkness, a cinematic timelessness resonated throughout the large decommissioned theatre space it found itself in. Studio Swine commented: “We were immediately drawn to the Murano chandeliers housed in private Milanese palazzos and, by contrast, the tradition of modernist Italian design – these helped inform the central structure of New Spring. With a desire to create a communal experience, another key reference for us became Italy’s public fountains, one of the country’s greatest luxuries”.

White in the City – Oikos

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White Gate by Giulio Cappellini. Photo courtesy of © Oikos

Moving towards the Brera district, a repeated theme of whiteness took over. Four prestigious Milanese venues and courtyards brought together a series of installations for Oikos’s “White in the City” concept. Initiated by the president of Oikos, Claudio Balestri, the theme was used to “maintain the profile of culture and research within an event of the importance of Milan Design week”. Curator Giulio Cappellini’s two geometric frames in the Pinacoteca di Brera, marked the beginning of a journey of interpretations of the colour white, from sculpted marble installations, to perspectival distortions, and countless textural variations. This made way for names including: Daniel Libeskind, Zaha Hadid, David Chipperfield, Patricia Urquiola, and Stefano Boeri.

White Benessere, San Carpoforo Church. Photo courtesy of © Oikos

White Benessere, San Carpoforo Church. Photo courtesy of © Oikos

Used as a symbol of purity and creativity, this white journey represented a conclusion to Oikos’s material research. Giulio Cappellini described: “We decided to elect White as the trending colour for 2017, White portrayed in all its shades and textures. We will analyse all the socio-cultural aspects related to individuals, projected into their living spaces and lifestyles in order to contemplate and outline a white dimension that transforms any environment in a space for well-being”.

Artemide with BIG + Neri&Hu

Alphabet of Light, BIG. Photo courtesy of © Artemide

Alphabet of Light, BIG. Photo courtesy of © Artemide

At the centre of the stage of the lighting industry, Milanese Company Artemide shined bright throughout Milan, from its glowing pavilion at Euroluce 2017, to its colourful showroom in San Babila and LED centrepiece at the Universita’ degli Studi. This installation, “Alphabet of Light” was one difficult to miss as you entered this Renaissance courtyard. Designed by Danish architects Bjarke Ingels Group, its smooth font typeface, revealed through the classic typography sentence, “Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog”, presented an elegant simplicity in its modular design.

Yanzi, Neri&Hu. Photo © George Guida for Mood Board Magazine

Yanzi, Neri&Hu. Photo © George Guida for Mood Board Magazine

Resting in Artimede’s Milanese showroom was a series of perfectly balanced swallow birds, delicately resting on a branch of a tree. Composed of minimal brushed-brass structures, these compositions – designed by Neri&Hu, and paired with Pierpaolo Ferrari’s mesmerizing photographs – brought a bold, yet poetic touch to this year’s collection.

Lars Müller – Nomadic Bookstore

Lars Müller, Nomadic Bookstore. Photo © George Guida for Mood Board Magazine

Lars Müller, Nomadic Bookstore. Photo © George Guida for Mood Board Magazine

Finally, hovering above San Marco Square in the Brera district was an eye-catching installation. Hidden behind a flashy roof clad with animated led panels was Lars Müller Publishers Nomadic Bookstore. Initiated through a collaboration with London based Architectural Association School of Architecture, it was intended “as a manifesto of the relevance of books in the context of the expansion of the digital”.

Lars Müller, Nomadic Bookstore. Photo © George Guida for Mood Board Magazine

Lars Müller, Nomadic Bookstore. Photo © George Guida for Mood Board Magazine

A simple bow was all that was needed to enter this small space of quiet intimacy, as if a homage to the priceless publications on sale. Its cosy interiors, completely lined with fine cork, provided the acoustic insulation needed to sanctify and isolate this pavilion from this busy Milanese square.

From early sunny mornings to late buzzing nights, Milan was taken by an air of curiosity and vitality, affirming its position as the centre of the design world. This year’s slogan: “Be the First to See the Latest”, was embraced by the over 300,000 visitors who attended this year’s Design Week. If you haven’t already, save the date for next year’s 57th edition of the Salone del Mobile Milano!

George Guida gained his BA in Architecture at Oxford Brookes University and is currently completing his studies at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. He has worked in Florence, Kuwait City and most recently at CZWG Architects in London.