Design and the City

With the Salone del Mobile/Fuorisalone formula, Milan stimulates important thinking on how to communicate design, bringing together industrial production and independent creativity

Milano Design Week 2023 – Alcova, Photo © Agnese Bedini, Piercarlo Quecchia, DSL Studio
Milano Design Week 2023 – Alcova, Photo © Agnese Bedini, Piercarlo Quecchia, DSL Studio

This year, after a break and uncertainties due to the pandemic, the Salone del Mobile.Milano was back in April. The calendar is back in phase. The numbers were very positive, with 307,418 visitors registered at the fair, coming from 181 countries (although we are far from the 434,509 of 2018, a record edition, with visitors from 188 countries).

Ruben Modigliani - Photo © Valentina Sommariva
Ruben Modigliani – Photo © Valentina Sommariva

The great protagonist, again and again, was the city, transformed into a gigantic communication tool designed for a passionate or simply curious public. It is a topic on the lips of many: better to be in the fair or to be out? Visiting the pavilions of Rho-Pero, the percentage of exhibitors who declared themselves satisfied was very high. And, on the other hand, the ‘diffuse festival’ format of Fuorisalone is fascinating.

This month, there is anticipation for ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan, two fairs that are being united for the first time and that are the centrepiece of NYCxDesign, an event that 11 years ago ago grew out of a rib of the show (a bit like what happened in Milan in the 1990s). And the number of design weeks (or even months) happening all over the world is impressive: Design March, Reykjavík, 3-7; Berlin Design Week, 8-17; Design Month Graz, 6/05-4/6; Melbourne Design Week, 18-28; Venice Design Biennial, 19/5-18-6; Stockholm Creative Edition, 24-27.

Hay Photo © Julie Vöge
Lo showroom Hay a Copenhagen durante 3 Days of Design 2023 – Photo © Julie Vöge

All eyes are also on two events at the turn of the month: Clerkenwell Design Week in London and 3 Days of Design in Copenhagen (7-9/6), which originated 14 and 10 years ago respectively and are very successful. Especially the Danish one, which many industry players are keeping a growing eye on. Once again, two events where the setting is not an exhibition hall but an entire city.

All this means bringing the product to life by putting it in dialogue with something else. Which is also one of the ideas that studio Lombardini22 followed in redesigning the spaces of Euroluce, the biennial exhibition of the Salone del Mobile.Milano, which this year expanded its boundaries with exhibitions (curated with class by Beppe Finessi) of photography, historical design, and art. It is a way that reflects our time and culture, made of hyperlinks and contaminations. And it is a very interesting one.