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Milan Design Week 2017 – Let’s Wrap it Up

You are probably tired of hearing this but… I haven’t seen much this year either.
Just like last year.

With my job rapidly shifting from design to process and technology, I have less and less time to stop and stare at chairs, but I try to find some.

Dezeen made a list of eight trends you should have watched out for during this design week. Did you? They were:
– Designers get political;
– Invisible tech;
– Recycled materials;
– Modular furniture;
– Traditional regional crafts, rediscovered;
– The festivalisation of Milan;
– Bamboo furniture;
– The future of food.

I honestly didn’t. But they weren’t the only thing to watch out for. So, here you find some of the best (and oddest) things I’ve seen this year in a practical top 7.

1. Statale.
Always engaging and interesting, the topic “Material-Immaterial” explored (guess what?) materials and featured:
– the huge wooden staircase by Michele De Lucchi;
– the big neon “Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over The Lazy Dog” by BIG (big neon… did you get it?);
– the corten “Spyre” by Ron Arad (I guess he still has some leftovers from that museum in Israel);
– the “Augmented Surface” by Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel where I currently work;
– the playful “Pergola” by Alessandro e Francesco Mendini;
– the Wave Cave by ShoP (in collaboration with Arup), my absolute favourite.

You find more information here. Pictures below are ugly as hell because they are mine.

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2. Orto Botanico
Not as charming as last year, but still entertaining. Expecially interesting, of the four “Design Islands”, “MyIsle” by  Alfredo Tasca and Alberto Mattiello: an outdoor fitness island with different configurations. If you were lucky enough to see it in the sun, it was really an amazing space. You see them talking about it in the video below. More information can be found here.

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3. Audi City Lab
After last year, when they pull down quite a show at the Velasca, Audi came back with this set of installations in a beautiful palace in corso Venezia 11. Their two installations involved light and sound and were:
– “Sonic Pendulum”, an interactive installation by Yuri Suzuki;
– “The Door to Artificial Intelligence” by  Ingo Maurer and Axel Schmid, painting red the very entrance of the historical and extremely well-known palace.
You see them talking about it in the video below.

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4. Rossana Orlandi’s and Dimore Studio
I am growing more and more distant from this kind of exhibitions but Rossana Orlandi still stand her ground within my good graces. The four-rooms apartment set up at her studio by Sé was a breeze of old flavours from when this seemed to be my job. I am not getting nostalgic but still it was nice seeing it. Alongside with that, the same flavour and feeling had Dimore Studio. They felt both like cabinets of curiosities coming from an old distant world.

Pictures from dezeen (here and here).

.2017-04-18 10_57_54-Sé pairs rich tones with golden details for apartment at Rossana Orlandi's Milan 2017-04-18 10_58_34-Sé pairs rich tones with golden details for apartment at Rossana Orlandi's Milan 2017-04-18 10_59_11-Sé pairs rich tones with golden details for apartment at Rossana Orlandi's Milan 2017-04-18 10_59_39-Sé pairs rich tones with golden details for apartment at Rossana Orlandi's Milan 2017-04-18 10_59_58-Sé pairs rich tones with golden details for apartment at Rossana Orlandi's Milan 2017-04-18 11_00_13-Sé pairs rich tones with golden details for apartment at Rossana Orlandi's Milan 2017-04-18 11_00_34-Sé pairs rich tones with golden details for apartment at Rossana Orlandi's Milan 2017-04-18 11_00_57-Sé pairs rich tones with golden details for apartment at Rossana Orlandi's Milan 2017-04-18 11_01_19-Sé pairs rich tones with golden details for apartment at Rossana Orlandi's Milan 2017-04-18 11_01_39-Sé pairs rich tones with golden details for apartment at Rossana Orlandi's Milan.

.2017-04-18 11_15_03-Design eras converge in Dimorestudio's moodily coloured Milan exhibitions 2017-04-18 11_15_55-Design eras converge in Dimorestudio's moodily coloured Milan exhibitions 2017-04-18 11_16_12-Design eras converge in Dimorestudio's moodily coloured Milan exhibitions 2017-04-18 11_16_29-Design eras converge in Dimorestudio's moodily coloured Milan exhibitions 2017-04-18 11_16_46-Design eras converge in Dimorestudio's moodily coloured Milan exhibitions 2017-04-18 11_17_52-Design eras converge in Dimorestudio's moodily coloured Milan exhibitions.

5. Bubbles for COS
The “Blossoming Sculpture” by Studio Swine, in the former movie theatre Arti, follows the equally charming installation “The Forest of Light” by Sou Fujimoto last year and it’s becoming a sort of tradition.
The beautiful weeping willow of white plastic was slowly spitting out bubbles filled with smoke and you could play with them, provided you wore black woolen gloves given to you by nice girls and guys at the entrance. A playful interlude of quite and magic within those hectic days.

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Below you see it in motion: pictures couldn’t capture it well enough.

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6. Mix it Up
I don’t know if there were lots and lots of multisensorial installation this year, or if I’m just getting more and more impressed by them, but here’s another one.
Thanks to all the other design districts popping out around the city, you can now walk in Zona Tortona without a flamethrower or a bulldozer.
One of the things I saw was this pavillion at Superstudio Più, and you can read about it here.
I guess I like the fact that a design week should not be about watching furniture, but experiencing the spaces designed by somebody really inspired (and this should be the definition of what design stands for). That said, it was nothing exciting and sometimes really nice spots got tangled up with other spaces with less charm (and they had no beer). It might be nice to try that again next year with more inclusive spaces.

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7. The periodic table of materials for smart cities
The installation was nothing special, but the idea was nice. Sponsored by 3m, the Materials Village features a selection of projects that involved innovative materials, connective set-ups and digital fabrication.

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8. The usual bunch of Random Stuff
There you have it. A bunch of random stuff. Bicycles resembling motorbikes (or was it the other way around?), japanese flowerstands, a set of projects to reuse Milan railyards, art installations and all that jazz.

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