From museums dedicated to the history of Italian design, to unique stores and landmarks to find the best of designer creations and art pieces, Milan truly is the capital of design. Discover the not-to-be-missed landmarks in the city thanks to our one-day design tour of Milan!
A map of these venues follows
Milan and design, an inseparable bond
Not just during the Design Week, or the Salone del Mobile and Fuorisalone events, in Milan, design is at home all year round. This is thanks to a long history of creativity and innovation, of well-known designers, architects, and artists who have left deep traces in the fabric of the city and whose creations populate the two Milanese museums dedicated entirely to design. If you are a lover of industrial or civil design or wish to find artistic objects to embellish your home, you have come to the right place! To make your choice easier, we have created a one-day itinerary for you to discover the must-see places in the city.
Museo del Design Italiano
Start your itinerary from the area near the Parco Sempione, just behind the Arco della Pace and steps from the Sforza Castle. Inside Milan’s Triennale, the Museo del Design Italiano (the Italian for “Italian Design Museum”) presents a selection of the most representative pieces of Italian design from 1946 to 1981. These include more than 1,600 iconic objects from the permanent collection of Italian Design of the Milan Triennale, organised in chronological order and illustrated with in-depth texts and materials.
Open Mon-Fri 12.30pm-3pm and 7.30pm-12am. Sat 7.30pm-12am. Closed on Sunday
ADI Design Museum
The second stop is the brand new ADI Design Museum, which houses the Compasso d’Oro Award Collection and hosts excellent temporary exhibitions. Located in the heart of Porta Nuova district, just steps from Milan’s Monumental Cemetery, the museum of ADI (Associazione per il Disegno Industriale – Industrial Design Association) gathers a selection of works mentioned and awarded by the Compasso d’Oro (the oldest and most prestigious industrial design award in the world conceived by Gio Ponti) from 1954 to date.
Open Tue-Sun 10.30am-8pm
Located in the heart of the Isola district, the result of a major urban redevelopment, the Bosco Verticale is an architectural project conceived by designer and architect Stefano Boeri. It is impossible not to notice its two towers – entirely for residential use and visible only from the outside. Their balconies are in fact entirely covered with more than two thousand species of trees, including shrubs and tall trees selected to increase Milan’s plant and animal biodiversity. A clear testimony to Italian creativity and at the same time an unconventional attraction not to be missed if you are in town.
Piazza Gae Aulenti
The next stop will literally be around the corner. Surrounded by uber-modern skyscrapers such as the Unicredit Tower – one of the tallest in Italy – Piazza Gae Aulenti is a triumph of futuristic architectures and designs. Among the not-to-be-missed highlights you can find a walk-in fountain with water games and the Solar Tree, a lighting system using solar energy performing a light and sound show. Are you a lover of contemporary art? You’re lucky, as here you can find “Egg”, the glass ogival structure designed by Alberto Garutti.
Lastly, to satisfy your shopping cravings, walk back to the centre of town along Corso Como, where a concept store and bookshop with an international flavour are hidden at number 10. Founded in 1990, 10 Corso Como is a multifunctional space, a meeting place, union of culture and commerce. In this collage of cultural and commercial entities shopping lovers can find from fashion to design, including music, lifestyle, art and photography.
Design Supermarket c/o Rinascente
Heading towards the Duomo, your final stop will be the Design Supermarket on the -1 floor at Rinascente: here the big names in design are showcased. The large basement floor offers loads of innovative ideas for living and lifestyle. Devoted to design in its multiple expressions it offers an incredibly varied product range, spanning from home furnishings to lighting, small electronic appliances, technological gadgets, office accessories, tableware, kitchenware, luggage, books and Northern European designs as well as countless other unexpected design creations.