To help bridge the design hole caused by the cancellation of this year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan due to Covid-19, the northern Italian city held Milano Design City – two weeks ( September 28 – October10) of events in showrooms, galleries and other venues throughout Milan.
In total there were 171 in person events (350 if those online are included) which included product launches, talks and workshops and exhibitions.
Despite the difficulties – projects put together during lockdown, the need for social distancing – the event was judged a success, not just in giving much needed oxygen to products that had been ready to go last April, when the fair would have been, but also bringing some sense of life to the streets of the city centre and renew Milan’s reputation as a centre of design.
Many of the city’s big brands took part. Bisazza highlighted its collection with Fornasetti – a striking series that took the emblematic designs of the famous Italian decorative arts company and applied them to mosaic tiles.
Poliform showcased new pieces from its 2021 collection which included sofas, coffee tables and armchairs by French designer Jean-Marie Massaud, and Marcel Wanders Studio extended last year’s Gentleman living room collection for the Italian brand to include the bedroom.
Molteni&C presented its 2020 collection and a new home catalogue and at Moroso visitors could see two new armchairs, Get Lucky and Ruff, by Patricia Urquiola.
Lighting featured strongly. For Luceplan, Norwegian designer Daniel Rybakken created Cassette, a wall (and ceiling) light that resembles a piece of abstract art. Belgium’s Vincent Van Duysen designed Oblique for Flos – an office style light that combines LED and lenses to focus light where needed.
David Groppi presented Sistemi, a collection of four lights that work solo or together. On digital tracks with ultra-light almost invisible wires, the lights feature modular strips that can be positioned on stairs, windows and glass panels.
Upcoming designers included COOLS | Contemporary Objects of Love, a new Berlin-based brand of mother-daughter duo Stefania Andorlini and Maria Francesca Staehle who debuted their first collection, Capri, of outdoor chairs and table.
Milano Design City had a particular focus on sustainability and circular economy. Fulfilling this, Israeli designer Erez Nevi Pana, in collaboration with Milanese curator Maria Cristina Didero, grew banana trees for their fibre and used this to make a bag chair, rocking chair and hammock, all of which were included in a film called ‘Tropical Milan’ that portrayed a futuristic dystopia in which the city becomes a jungle.
Also looking to the future was Lea Ceramiche which presented Anthology, a high-tech collection showcasing the properties of stone and marble, and displayed in a space-like setting, complete with astronaut, designed by Ferruccio Laviani.