Six of the best at Milan Design Week


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The arrival of Milan’s furniture trade show, the Salone del Mobile, spurs the city into a flurry of exhibitions and unveilings. The Salone, which runs from April 16-21 at the Rho Fiera fairground, is this year focused on kitchens and bathrooms, with a series of events on food design and an exploration of water conservation. Director Maria Porro, who took over in 2021, trained in set design at Milan’s Brera Academy, and brings some of her background to the programme, asking David Lynch to design the headline installation. Elsewhere the citywide festival, including the Fuorisalone, highlights new frontiers in furniture and celebrates Italian classics. Here are six events not to be missed.

Micrographia — Redesign for Biodiversity

Amid the Liberty-style facades of Milan’s Porta Venezia district, Park Associati architectural practice is presenting new designs by Johanna Seelemann in its Park Hub exhibition space. Made using natural materials, Seelemann’s pieces explore what it would look like for architecture and objects to function not only for humans, but for a whole range of lifeforms. She has designed cladding that could turn exterior walls into nests for birds and insects, and “panettone” paperweights that double as seed bombs, blooming into clusters of wildflowers when dropped into neglected corners of the city.
April 16-21, Park Hub, Via Garofalo 31

Miranda July: New Society

© VALENTINA SOMMARIVA

Filmmaker, author and performance artist Miranda July is having her first solo museum show at Fondazione Prada. Beginning with early-’90s performances in punk clubs, the show spans three decades of short films and installations, including F.A.M.I.L.Y, a year-long Instagram collaboration with seven other performers. Assignment #43, meanwhile, saw July call on her followers to “make an exhibition of the art in your parents’ home”: young Milanese local Miriam Goi answered. Prints, small sculptures and other objects from her family home will fill the final room of the show.
Until October 14, Fondazione Prada Osservatorio, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

New Craft (Shop)

The Isola district plays host to emerging design talent, and this year welcomes a pop-up shop by Kyoto-based studio Shinkogeisha. The New Craft shop explores how resin, previously the preserve of mass-production, has been embraced by individual craftspeople as 3D printing becomes more accessible. The range includes portable radios and clocks made of “knitted” resin, and sticky tape dispensers attached to stones like limpets, using 3D scanning so the designs perfectly fit the form of the rocks.
April 15-21, Via Guglielmo Pepe 16

L’Appartamento by Artemest

Last year, Italian online furniture platform Artemest debuted L’Appartamento, an installation in a 1930s apartment that saw them ask six interior studios to design a room using its collection of artisanal lighting, art and objects. The 2024 edition takes over the decorative interiors and wood-panelled Milanese salon of Residenza Vignale, the 20th-century mansion of an Austrian prince.
April 16-21, Residenza Vignale, Via Enrico Toti 2

Fornasetti x Poltrona Frau

A new collaboration with heritage furniture-maker Poltrona Frau at the maker’s flagship store. The Vanity Fair XC Imagine Edition takes a 1930 armchair design and turns it into a seat amid the clouds. The leather is adorned with fantastical drawings by the late Milanese artist and designer Piero Fornasetti; a wide-eyed sun peeks out from the front, while a serene crescent moon floats through the sky on the reverse.
April 10-21, Poltrona Frau, Via Manzoni 30; April 15-21 at Fornasetti Store, Corso Venezia 21/A

I Am a Dragon: The True Story of Alessandro Mendini

© Leonardo Cendamo/Getty Images

Milan’s Triennale museum is reflecting on the career of the late architect Alessandro Mendini, who lived and worked in the city. In collaboration with the Fondation Cartier, the exhibition explores Mendini’s art, architecture and product designs, whose bold colours and graphic patterns rejected modernist simplicity and came to represent Italy’s Radical design movement. April 14-October 13, Triennale di Milano, Viale Emilio Alemagna 6

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