It's Milano Time
ATTENTION ALL DESIGN LOVERS! It’s that time of year again: Milano Design Week is back! With more excitement than New Years Eve, Designers, Decorators and Retailers are on the edge with expectations, to show off their latest creations, and of course check out everyone else’s! One of my very favourite work/travel destinations, Milano’s Salone Del Mobile [Furniture Fair] attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year since 1961, when it was launched. This exciting celebration of design has grown very large and to international acclaim and expands nowadays into the city itself with almost every district sporting Interior Design events and Furniture displays. The success of Milano Design Week is undeniable, and with so many events overlapping on the calendar, the major issue you have to solve every year is: What Not To Miss?
Well, if you’re on your way to Milano this year, and feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all, here are my tips, to help you stay organised, ensure you see the most you can and importantly, remain calm and relaxed so you can enjoy the city as well as all that is on show.
All images in this page by James Treble in Milano
The fair is open Tuesday to Sunday, and the most important thing is to arrive there early in the morning, grab a map (if you haven’t already from the many kiosks in the city), highlight the sections that are pertinent to your business and focus your attention there first up, when your energy is high, as trust me those calf muscles will be tired in a few days!
Visiting the fair is an important way to understand the latest looks & Directions in design, materials and technical achievements within the design and furniture industry. It allows you the chance to discover other products and brands to possibly include in your business, in addition to visiting those stands of products you are familiar with already. It's connections' time: make the most of it, and keep your camera ready, as some stands are so full of people, you’ll have to nudge in front of people to get your pic and grab a brochure or business card. Don’t worry, everybody else will be doing it to you too! Apart from the big, well-known names, you’ll also find the Emerging Designers section inspiring too; so much talent, and definitely worth a visit.
Alternating every second year, the Salone also offers one specific highlight in addition to all the furniture and decor items on show. One year is Eurocucina & Eurobagno, (being Kitchens and Bathrooms) showing the latest trends in design appliances and bathroom ware, this was on last year. 2019 however, is the year for Workplace [office furniture] and Euroluce [lighting], where the latest creative concepts and ideas in these areas will be launched to the world.
Around Milan itself there is also so much to see that by simply walking around the city streets you are sure to bump into well-known brands as well as exciting new ones. Despite finding Design on display everywhere, and I mean everywhere, there are certain areas you should not miss:
BRERA DISTRICT is quite high end and very central, being just a short walk from the amazing Duomo and its beautiful square. Walking along the streets you’ll find access to apartments in heritage buildings where design and contemporary art blend with each other; so keep an eye out for the familiar banners showing the Milano Design Week logo out front! There are of course many of the important and established stores like the unmissable Boffi (I love Boffi), Agape, Salvatori...
5VIE [literally meaning five streets] is also quite central with a conglomerate of design exhibitions and site-specific installations, so be prepared to be excited and inspired.
Nothing is ordinary about VIA DANDINI and its glamorous showrooms except for the fact that these are interior design stores you’ll find open all year-round: this is Milano's own design district, so visit these beautiful showrooms and take note of the effort and ingenuity of their amazing displays.
A short trip by Metro will take you to TORTONA DISTRICT where many large warehouses will overwhelm you with Design on a theatrical scale. Here too you should grab a guide and walk the streets open-mindedly, as once again art and design merge in exciting displays of Beauty.