Read more from Salone del Mobile 2022.
The anchor of Milan Design Week is of course Salone del Mobile, which celebrated its 60th anniversary this year.
As the furnishing fair has grown, so have the celebrations around it, including Fuorisalone (the city-based events happening outside of Salone).
The format is largely the same; find one of Milan’s many hidden, beautiful neoclassical courtyards, some dating back to the 1700s, plunk some stunning modern design in the center, throw down a red carpet and a velvet rope, and hose down your stylish guests with champagne and batched spritz cocktails.
The format works, and this year the celebrations were at a new level. International designers were thrilled to be back together, each seeming to prove who could take the biggest risk.
It’s impossible to see the hundreds of exhibits, but we managed to select some highlights from the many great showings.
“Divided Layers” by Kohler & Daniel Arsham
Daniel Arsham took people inside a gigantic sink in Palazzo del Senato with “Divided Layers,” an immersive art experience from Kohler. The installation consists of a series of stacked panels, each representing a layer in the 3D-printed Rock.01, which Daniel and Kohler showed at Design Miami 2021. Part of their ongoing collaboration, “Divided Layers” stands above a pond, reflecting the cavernous openings to invite contemplation of the space. The exhibition won the Fuorisalone Award for most memorable event this year.
“Miss Dior” by Dior & Philippe Starck
Philippe Starck reinterpreted Dior Maison’s iconic Medallion chair in “Miss Dior,” a tribute to feminine elegance. Driven by a “passion du minimum,” the aluminum chair is stripped to the very base silhouette, whose unmistakable curves and purity of form showcased in a scenographic choreography in the heart of Palazzo Citterio.
“Almendra” by FLOS & Patricia Urquiola
Designed by Patricia Urquiola for FLOS, Almendra is a “light branch” inspired by fruit and designed to minimize environmental impact. Modular, customizable, and extensible, the lighting system is perfect for contemporary living and hospitality alike. “Starting from the color of the tree, I proposed a green mixed with a blue sky, in a metallic version that tells of the union between nature and technology (Bay Blue). Continuing with this thought, we chose two other colors of alborean inspiration: from the white (off-white) of the flowers to the ocher of the branches and shells (with a hue that tends to orange),” Urquiola says.
“Tunnel 42” by (ab)Normal & One Block Down
“TUNNEL 42” is part of Chroma Park by (ab)Normal in collaboration with One Block Down and Public Housing Skate Team. The project consists of a three-dimensional structure that transforms itself from a space into a multidimensional portal, using an intense blue layer that constitutes the canvas for the conveyance of digital content.
This is part of new work from Dropcity, a new architecture center being developed by Andrea Caputo under the train tracks behind Stazione Centrale in Milan.
“Occasional Object” by Alessi & Virgil Abloh
Alberto Alessi’s factory turns 100 this year. To celebrate his namesake the company issued 12 limited editions products—each curated in their own room in Milan’s prestigious Galleria Manzoni.
The first project is “Occasional Object,” a cutlery set from Virgil Abloh and his London-based design studio Alaska Alaska. The work is exhibited in oversized form in a fantastic installation by Studio Temp.
“Seeing with the Heart” by Lucia Eames & Form Portfolios.
The first European exhibition of artwork by artist Lucia Eames (1930-2014) created by Form Portfolios. Located in an apartment in the heart of Brera, “Seeing with the Heart” unveils Lucia’s relationship to the natural world through its presence in the patterns and forms of her work and references her upbringing in the world of her parents, Charles and Ray Eames.
“Forest Wandering” by Kvadrat Febrik, Front and Moroso
The result of a longstanding research project by Sofia Lagerkvist and Anna Lindgren (which at one point included making 3D scans deep in a Swedish forest) is Arda, a stunning fabric with the texture of pebbles and upholstered furniture from Moroso called Pebble Rubble. The results is amazing, massive playful rocks. The new work was exhibited at Teatro Filodrammatici, an underground auditorium designed by Luigi Caccia Dominioni.
“True Evolution Experience” by Greta Rosset & Poltrona Frau
Inspired by a pine cone designer, Greta Rosset built the immersive True Evolution Experience in the courtyard of Poltrona Frau’s showroom. After walking a dark corridor visitors enter a soundproof center hall with ceiling height LED screens that creatively display a history of the brand.
“In Search of Lightness” by Hermès
Conceived by artistic directors Charlotte Macaux Perelman and Alexis Fabr from Hermès, these massive paper towers were inspired by water towers. Visitors can step inside to view the brand’s homeware collection. The towers were designed to be recycled when the exhibit closes.