Every year in April Milan reveals its nature of capital of design, with crowds overflowing from all corners of the city – especially in the surroundings of the so-called Design Districts – willing to discover the best new-ins from the world of design, furnishing and accessories. Welcome to the marvellous breeding ground of ideas of the Salone del Mobile and Fuorisalone extravaganza!
What is the Design Week?
To better understand what Milan Design Week is, the story must go back to its beginnings, dating back to 1961. In this year a small number of top-level furniture makers under the direction of trade association FederlegnoArredo decided to introduce a new fair fully dedicated to the world of furniture and interior design where they could fully express their know-how, share ideas and create a common ground for creativity. Since that date the Salone del Mobile.Milano, internationally known as Milan Furniture Fair, has become a reference point for professionals in the design and furniture fair with the aim of creating top-quality products, able to withstand the test of time though reflecting the evolution in taste and creativity. Since then, a full week – the Design Week – was born to celebrate creativity in all its forms. The design Week mainly consists of two key events: the Salone del Mobile.Milano and the Fuorisalone.
>> Check our photo gallery on the 2017 Salone del Mobile.Milano
Salone del Mobile.Milano
The Salone del Mobile.Milano takes the stage of Rho fairground each year for the duration of six days – four of which are reserved to operators in the sector and two open to the wider public – and introduces the latest trends in all that’s design: International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition, EuroCucina (International Biennial Kitchen Exhibition) and FTK (Technology for the Kitchen), International Bathroom Exhibition and SaloneSatellite yearly intertwined by specific focuses on lighting (Euroluce) and on smart solutions for the office (Salone Ufficio).
As the Salone del Mobile.Milano has always been conceived as a reserved event, only open to a small number of connoisseurs and operators in the sector, design aficionados soon perceived the need to be able to enjoy design and the art of furnishing in the city. For this reason, Fuorisalone was spontaneously born in the early 1980s. The “Fuorisalone” is a collection of off-site events in Milan that acts as a corollary to the Salone del Mobile, physically attracting a slew of visitors and virtually involving design lovers throughout the world. For one week every year, in contemporary with the Salone del Mobile.Milano, the spotlight is set over the different design districts in Milan, geographically well-marked areas featuring each one a different identity and a themed event programme. The Fuorisalone is a good chance to enjoy design both for experts and newcomers to this wide universe. Parties and exclusive events at famous brands’ boutiques are often reserved to loyal customers to the brand or to operators in the sector, though a simple stroll through the design areas can reveal smaller parties and events open to each and every visitor. It’s enough to choose a favourite Design District, head to it, maybe on the occasion of an aperitivo (a local speciality!) or light dinner, and let the Fuorisalone extravaganza do all the rest. A not-to-be-missed event can be right behind the corner. The streets themselves, as well as design stores and small boutiques, come alive on Design Week to join in the fun and serve as meeting point for those passioned in the world of furniture or simply wishing to take impressive shots.
The not-to-Be-Missed Venue
Traditionally associated with the historical heart of the Fuorisalone, Tortona District is for sure one of the hottest areas when it comes to design. Formerly the home to laboratories and small craftsmen’s workshops, this post-industrial district has kept its artsy allure unaltered and is now one of the favourite haunts for young creatives who gather at design hotels, workshops and even museums to let their creativity free on special events, displays, exhibitions and even live demonstrations. Some such examples can be BASE Milano, currently home to innovative installations, activities, Dj sets and exclusive parties.
Besides the historical Design Districts that have proven themselves as reference points for design since the first editions of the Fuorisalone – Brera and Tortona, to name but a few -, the city has recently seen the birth of new hubs for creativity. One such example is Centrale District, a project born in 2017 from the collaboration between hotel owners, hospitality specialists, art galleries and store managers united to value the area surrounding Centrale Railway Station as well as its artistic and creative heritage. Hotels and stores have become the seat for events, displays and unique parties.
The 2018 edition of Fuorisalone, instead, has seen the advent of Ventura Future, introducing ‘The Future Panorama of Design’ project held in three different locations. The ‘Loft’, a typical feature of Milanese residential areas, an independent museum housed in an Art Decò building that was formerly a meeting place for Futurist artists, and lastly, the old building that once housed the Faculty of Pharmacy, in Viale Abruzzi.
Design Week 2018: What’s On
Each year both the Salone del Mobile.Milano and the Fuorisalone feature a meld between tradition and innovation in design. Though some events are held yearly, the programme may change year after year based on new projects and to the advent of new artists and designers from the national and international design scene.