I actually don’t know how many times I have been to Milan, but this was certainly my 4th time in a row – I went while I was still working in PR years ago too. Getting around to see everything is impossible and even with a plan, you end up not seeing half of what you intended. Along the actual fair, many brands from all over the world go all out creating amazing exhibitions showcasing their brands or latest designs in very creative ways.
Here’s a look at 10 of my personal highlights from Milan Design Week 2019.
Probably The most Instagrammed installation of the week was French architect Arthur Mamou-Mani’s large-scale parametric structure, built for fashion brand COS from 3D-printed bioplastic bricks. All dressed in COS I had to visit the structure as well.
All hotels are pretty much fully booked, you might be lucky getting a broom closet at €500. The prices skyrocket and even nice Airbnb’s are hard to come by. I did manage to book a studio apartment in Brera, which was just perfect. It’s still available for design week 2020 if you want it. I actually already booked another one for next year too.
Honestly, I am not Tom Dixon’s greatest fan, even though he has his own very distinct style, I kind of want to say, I want something new from him. Nevertheless, during the design week he opened a restaurant in Brera, The Manzoni, where his design meets Italian cuisine.
The Spanish fashion house, Loewe, had invited 11 international artists and craftsman to create a series of exclusive objects. The result is a collection of bags, decorative objects, accessories, and one-off pieces, which express styles from all around the world through Loewe’s core material of leather.
Obviously, I am drawn to all the Scandinavian brands showing during the week. It does feel a little unnecessary to venture around to see the Danish brands, but it is a good way of showing my support. Royal Copenhagen launched a new dinnerware designed in collaboration with Bjarke Ingels, Lars Holme Larsen, and Jens Martin Skibsted. The dinnerware called Hav (ocean) has been 10 years in the making.
Another Danish brand that launched new products was B&O. The scene was set around a new giant TV with speakers reminiscence of a butterfly. However, the real scene stealer was their trip down memory lane, showing some of all the grand designs they have produced through the last decades, I remember dreaming about the vertical CD player for years.
Finnish design brand Artek was exploring their great relationship with the Japanese in a FIN/JPN Friendship collection, where many of their iconic pieces had gotten transformed into cool, modern new pieces. I was really drawn to the Aalto’s iconic stool in indigo.
Another Finnish brand that stole the show was Marimekko. In a backyard in Brera, up a very narrow set of spiral stairs they had transformed an old attic into a cool, ready-to-move-into, apartment decked out in Marimekko. I loved it, especially the one-of-a-kind hand painted oversized Olva cups. Only 50 cups available globally, each is uniquely numbered.
Just around the corner from the Airbnb, I found the perfect breakfast place, LuBar a Sicilian haven. In the middle of palms, cactus and ficus trees you can enjoy a very tasty meal. The original 17th-century arched windows overlooking a public garden on one side, and a view of Villa Reale’s courtyard on the other just adds to the enjoyment.
On my list for the past years has been the Fondazione Prada museum. I am not the biggest museum goer or lover, but this might be one of the most amazing modern structures I have seen. It is certainly very photogenic and just a perfect place if you want to escape the bustling streets of Milan.