Milan Design Week: experiencing design

As usual, we went to design Milan Design Week, the design Mecca of the world, and we’re telling you all about here on Connections by Finsa.

Whether you’re a professional or just a fan, if design, architecture, or interior design is your thing, you must go to Milan.  We still have a few days left to rush through, but we have gone all over the city over five marathon days in search of the best in design so we could tell you all about it.  From Salone del Mobile to FuoriSalone, here is the best from our week in Milan.

Salone del Mobile: more luce, less ufficio

The Salone del Mobile is celebrating its 58th edition this year with a few interesting changes which signal the opening up of some new pathways.  We have already discussed S-Project, the new space dedicated to projects that introduce developments in materials to designers, architects, and interior designers.

You already know about the importance of lighting in interior design, and this year there is Euroluce, an unmissable event for all lighting specialists.  Among the myriad of extremely evocative stands, we recommend the one belonging to the “wizard” of light, Arturo Álvarez.  However, the disappearance of the pavilion dedicated to Workplace 3.0 means office fittings are no longer a feature.

If there’s one trend in the ambiance of the stands that is obvious, it is a connection with nature, thanks to the huge presence of vegetation, but also of aquatic elements and sounds from nature.  The Salone seems to be influenced by the japandi style in its search for harmony and tranquillity.

Nature is used in combination with technology to create different atmospheres.  For example, there is the ensemble installation by Flos, B&B Italia, and Louis Poulsen, which introduces the visitor to the stand via a corridor that looks like a pinball machine and on the walls of which are projected the most iconic designs from the three companies.

Trends that have already arrived: sustainable, recyclable, and recycled

Trends that we mentioned last year, which looked to the wealth of materials whose qualities really stood out – shine, deep textures, naturalness, etc – have been confirmed.  The dominance of neutral colours and pure materials can also be seen, as well as an interesting advance in digital printing onto textiles, wood, and glass.  But above all, there is a growing interest in sustainability.

This concern is much more evident at Salone Satellite, where the up-and-coming designers are completely focused on it.  This is where we found those taking the biggest risks, exploring new interactions between space and ingenious and creative ideas in housing and urban planning, all linked to concerns about the growing population and the explosion of cities.


Each year, the Salone is more outside than inside.  If the Salone is for businesses, the FuoriSalone is for pure creativity.   It grows each year and the ideas continue to offer the visitor memorable experiences that go beyond the product, as it looks to become what everybody remembers from the 2019 edition.  Poetic, artistic, evocative, and emotional experiences – it’s almost impossible to choose!

Tortona: super design in its most pure form

The district of Milan known for excellence in design and fashion is also one of the liveliest.  At the top of the must-see lists every year is Superdesign Show by Superstudio, which displays some of the best ideas from Milan all in one place.  It’s impossible not to notice the 14-metre kaleidoscopic tower by Matteo Thun for 3M which greets us at the entrance.  It’s an installation whose exterior seems to melt into the sky, while its interior invites the visitor to have a kaleidoscopic experience.  It’s one of the most instagrammable installations, together with the meteorites at Astral Bodies by Finsa, which is an immersive installation that combines celestial bodies made of coloured MDF designed by ENORME Studio and a virtual reality experience from Vitamin-arte.  Here we can also find one of the few materials libraries in Milan, Material ConneXion, with Materials Village.

Also in Tortona, Swedish furniture giant IKEA is presenting Symfonisk, a range designed for those who can’t live without music in mind.  Can you a imagine a house inundated with music? In Milan you can try one out.

From the Galleria Rossana Orlandi to Brera

Not far from Tortona, you’ll find another unmissable stop – Rossana Orlandi‘s gallery.  This design guru continues her fight against plastic with Guiltless Plastic Ro Plastic Prize 2019.  At this year’s edition, their gallery is welcoming a large group of Spanish designers, perhaps a result of her recent visit to Madrid Design Week.  Works by Belén Moneo, Mayice Studio and Álvaro Catalán de Ocón, as well as ENORME Studio’s Schlickeysen modular furniture system, are all on display here.

If we continue strolling through Milan, we come upon the second highlighted area – the Brera district.  It’s another neighbourhood that supports design, and events and ideas are on every street.  Among them we would recommend the ‘Planetario’ project by Cristina Celestino, a young designer with an important presence at this edition, whose work can also be seen at the Salone.

Take a walk around the Palazzo Clerici, on the patio of which you can see the best of Dutch design in The Museum, a project designed by Space Encounters with the support of Creative Holland.

Ventura Centrale: creativity at your feet

This is one of the youngest districts but also the one that shows the biggest growth.  In its third edition, the number of locations has doubled.  Sixteen warehouses beneath Milan Central Station are home to some of the most interesting immersive and multisensory installations of the whole week.  One of them is Pulse by Yamaha, which offers various interactions related to sound and the senses and experiencing sound through touch.  Another is the I think installation by Dutch designer Maarten Baas, a corridor full of screens that reflects the overload of opinions in today’s world.

Another unmissable even is Raytrace, a project by Benjamin Hubert for Cosentino which consists of a triangular passage that is 25 metres long and 6 metres high that seems to balance on one edge.  It’s all in a dark and evocative space where some glass spheres mimic the effect of water, playing with optical illusions.  We can’t forget Tides by Kwangho Lee and Wang&Söderström by Noroo Group, or the bubbles from Emergence of Form by Keita Suzuki for AGC.  We could practically live under this Milan train station!

Milan Design Week: so much more than furniture

Every brand that has something to do with design is in Milan, not just furniture manufacturers.  Fashion brands have been at Design Week for a while now.  Some like Hermés and Fendi present their home collections, while others have exhibitions like the ephemeral Gucci apartment or Nomads Objects by Louis Vuitton. The stand-out at this edition is Conífera from COS designed by Arthur Mamou-Mani, an impactful exercise in parametric design made from bioplastic.

The automotive industry is yet another sector with a growing interest in design.  Lexus International is one of the stars of the Superdesign Show, bringing us a light show designed by audiovisual artists Rhizomatiks which represents Lexus’s vision about the future of movement.  But other brands from the sector are also present, including Peugeot, who are showing their innovative E-Legend by Peugeot, or Hyundai, who take us on a journey to create an automobile that adapts to your lifestyle.

Technology is not just a tool for creating a desired atmosphere.  Technology heavyweights like Samsung, Sony, and LG Electronics are also in Milan.  But without doubt, the brand that is generating the most buzz is, as always, Google.  With A Space for Being, it reflects on how we live and measures the impact that spaces have on the emotions of the users in order to determine which domestic surroundings make us feel more comfortable.