A beautifully sunny exit from the plane at Linate Airport was our first experience of Milan 2015. This was my first visit in a few years whilst it was my colleague Gabrielle Saw’s first trip to Italy. We soon discovered that the event had taken over the whole city. The appeal of this annual design pilgrimage is the launch of new product, innovative design, networking and great parties.
We took a taxi for the 30 minute journey to our apartment. Milan is very easy to navigate on foot, by metro or car. As the trip had been organised at the last minute due to work commitments, we were lucky and grateful to find somewhere to stay that was still available.
The Salone Del Mobile is the most famous furniture fair of all the design shows but this was the first time for Adrem to take part. Our timing was spot on as we could also attend Euroluce which is held every two years. Penta Lighting launched ‘Acorn,’ a pendant light designed by Matteo Bianchi, and LZF were on form with their wonderful translucent creations.
The Rho Fiera is a series of more than 25 enormous exhibition halls, but that’s just the start. We managed to clock up over 15 km on foot in one day, visiting just a few of the halls. There are several other areas in Milan such as Zona Tortona, Brera Design District, Triennale di Milano, San Babila, Ventura Lambrate and Superstudio.
Of the Top 10 Picks we saw in our very limited time The Viabizzuno showroom and Silos certainly stood out for their sensory stimulation. In a remote part of the city, the fashion brand Marni created an extraordinary South American themed market. In their industrial warehouse space, fruit was displayed amongst colourful chairs, stools, small tables and centrepieces produced by a women’s community in Colombia. As further proof of the strong bond between fashion and art, Swedish brand COS collaborated with New York Studio Snarkitecture to create an installation of 100,000 metres of translucent white fabric hanging from a ceiling in the Brera District. Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola once again produced beautiful designs including ‘Biscuit,’ a new take on parquet flooring for Listone Giordano, and the mesmerising ‘Shimmer’ range of glass pieces for Glas Italia.
The British were well represented with Lee Broom’s Department Store set up in a row of disused shops, displaying over 20 new products. In the heart of Zona Tortona, Designersblock set up in a former industrial warehouse. Barber Osgbery was showing their new Pilot chair for Knoll at the Fair and a curated collection was on display in the Designjunction space in the San Babila Design District. Neighbours Tom Dixon created a unique entertainment and display experience in an old disused theatre. For one special night, Tom Dixon’s excellent band ‘Rough’ played live to a roaring crowd.
The unique vibe of Milan was created by all of these events, official and otherwise, all over the city. Milan embraces it which makes it easy to stumble across an opening, launch, installation, screening, performance or party. As well as the exclusive invite-only events, we came across restaurants, galleries and shops where you could see something inventive and delightful. Thankfully there are no barriers as all age groups are involved and engaged.
Here was our Top 10 List:
1 Knoll – Pilot Chair designed by Barber Osgerby
2 Glas Italia –Shimmer range of furniture and fittings designed by Patricia Urquiola
3 Listone Giordano – Biscuit flooring range designed by Patricia Urquiola
4 Cos and Snarkitecture – Collaborative installation by COS Fashion brand and New York studio
5 Lee Broom – Department Store created from a row of disused shops launching over 20 new products.
6 Design junction – A collection of designers and makers in the San Babila Design Quarter in partnership with Monoqi Business.
7 Tom Dixon – Abandoned theatre in the heart of the city was transformed into a unique entertainment space. Dixon launched a collection inspired by a never ending research into shape, texture and finishes.
8 Marni – Marni created an extraordinary South American themed Mini Market in their industrial warehouse. Fruit were strewn amongst colourful chairs, stools, small tables and centrepieces produced by a women’s community in Colombia.
9 Designersblock – A collection of different exciting emerging in a former industrial space in the heart of Zona Tortona. Amongst other innovations, the furry light bulbs – ‘Muscar’ designed by Lina Patsiou stood out.
10 Viabizzuno – ‘Solis Silos’ to ‘feed on light’. An amazing collection of sensory experiences in tall metal Silos adjacent to the beautiful Viabizzuno showroom, terrace and exhibition space.
With the numerous people we met during our visit, there was strong agreement that Milan 2015 had been the best show for a while. We’re packing for next year already!