MILAN — Under the sun-soaked early June sky, the much anticipated Salone del Mobile and Design Week are returning in full bloom this year, after a couple of pandemic-disrupted years. Expectations are high, especially as the event inaugurates a month-long roster of activities in the country, from Pitti Uomo to Milan Men’s Fashion Week, drawing international attendees that were absent since the pre-pandemic days.
Fashion brands are taking the opportunity to unveil their latest design and home decor collections, host immersive experiences and celebrate the return to IRL events. Here, WWD rounds up what’s not to be missed this week in Milan.
Hermès’ interior design collection has become as covetable as its signature leather goods products, but for its latest range, the French fashion house is focusing on textiles — particularly cashmere. Taking over sports center La Pelota in Milan’s Brera district, Hermès will mount imposing water column-like wooden structures covered in shimmering wallpaper to celebrate lightness, which is echoed in the six-piece new offering.
It includes a blanket designed by Gianpaolo Pagni and a bedcover exalting the patchwork and quilting techniques, among other textiles harnessing the brand’s manufacturing prowess. Bamboo chairs and molded and hand-painted leather turned into a centerpiece, and a new tableware set also on display nods to the same concept.
Prada’s link with design and architecture is probably unmatched in the fashion world, and for Design Week, the luxury brand has organized “Prada Frames,” a symposium curated by Milan and Rotterdam, Netherlands-based design studio Formafantasma, which explores the complex rapport between the natural environment and design.
Prada described the three-day conference cycle running until June 8 as defined by a “scientific, educational and didactic approach.” Marking the first edition of such an initiative, the panels hosted by design, science, architecture and activism heavyweights including Amitav Ghosh, Eyal Weizman, Alice Rawsthorn and Paulo Tavares, tackle the interconnections between the forest ecosystems and the wood industry and how design and science can spur change.
In Via Montenapoleone’s Brunello Cucinelli boutique, the brand will host a special event for the launch of the limited-edition ceramic cup created in collaboration with designer and architect Daniel Germani. The cup took inspiration from the cashmere bales as Germani wanted to pay homage to the history and vision of the Cucinelli brand by combining the style of cashmere with simple yet refined lines.
The cup will be available to buy only in the store on the day of the event and all sales proceeds will go to the Francesco Morello Foundation, dedicated to the development of culture and design education. The Foundation will use the funds to provide a scholarship for deserving students at IED. “The passion that unites us, namely authentic craftsmanship and the value of education, have made this project meaningful and at the same time powerful,” said Germani. “A limited-edition cup that acts as a bridge to a brighter and better future … isn’t that wonderful? I really hope everyone sees these values reflected in ‘Shaping Cashmere’.”
Virgil Abloh x Cassina
Italian furniture company Cassina is presenting the “Modular Imagination” design project it developed with the late designer Virgil Abloh starting 2020 and completed before his premature passing.
Rooted in a playful approach and intended as an invitation to take active part in configuring a space, “Modular Imagination” is composed of black building blocks that can be combined and stacked with connecting modules in flashy orange to create different solutions according to personal needs.
Coming in two sizes and sporting an industrial look, each texturized block has a rigid structure in recycled wood and a soft touch thanks to a polyurethane upholstery — a combination that makes the design stable and comfortable to serve as seat, pouf or table. Each piece is additionally marked by the “Cassina-Abloh” round logo in low relief.
The design is not a limited drop, as Cassina has made it a fixture in its catalogue. To mark the launch, the design company created a dedicated tangerine installation at its flagship store in Milan.
Paul Smith for De Padova, Mini
An immersive space filled with the knickknacks Paul Smith’s London studio is famous for, as well as runway looks and piles of textiles, serve as the background for the display of the British designer’s collection with luxury furniture brand De Padova. The pair has developed upholstered armchairs, sofas and poufs with Smith’s signature accents of colors (lime green is a standout) with contrasted stitching and decorative-slash-functional details, such as leather straps and pockets. Wood and stone coffee tables, benches, blankets and leather trays complement the offering.
“I admire the uncompromising quality and functional aesthetics, so my touch is tucked in subtle and not so obvious details that present classic in a new light,” said the designer, who is also teaming up with automotive brand Mini for a new sustainably minded vehicle.
Acerbis x Salvatore Ferragamo
Salvatore Ferragamo has conscripted Francesco Meda and David Lopez Quincoces, the creative duo behind design firm Acerbis, who have reinterpreted icons of Italian design, from Vico Magistretti’s Florian table to Giotto Stoppino and Lodovico Acerbis’s Menhir table and Med chair, and Nanda Vigo’s Storet chest of drawers, engaging them in a dialogue with signature styles from Ferragamo’s heritage.
The remastered pieces — Med bearing a rainbow pattern echoing Ferragamo’s Judy Garland wedges or upholstered in drip painted leather as in Andy Warhol’s 1959 shoes, and Florian displayed as a suspended decoration and Menhir tables surmounted as totems — are displayed inside the luxury house’s boutiques in Milan, alongside its accessories to celebrate Italian excellence.
Colnago x Tod’s
Tod’s endorsement of contemporary Italian lifestyle is unquestioned. Last month it kicked off a new communication project spotlighting personalities embodying the country’s identity and now, along those lines, the luxury house is issuing a limited-edition, 70-piece bicycle developed with Italian bike manufacturer Colnago, celebrating the Made in Italy value both companies harness.
It is crafted from carbon fiber in racing green and orange with leather accents, on the handlebar for example. It will be available at select boutiques and online from June 13 and released in tandem with a special-edition Tod’s Tabs sneakers and windbreaker, done in exclusive color combinations.
Dsquared2 is launching its first wallpaper collection co-created with luxury wallpaper specialist LondonArt, which has already developed bold collections for Toiletpaper and Marcel Wanders Studio. In sync with the Canadian duo’s signature codes, prints ranges from red-and-black check motifs and camouflage denim to a fun print mixing florals and graffiti. A thick forest scene extending from floor to ceiling is also added to bring a sense of outdoor adventure to the home.
“The wallpapers give a deeper meaning to our interiors because the prints are visual references to who we are, they tell our story. We designed them to communicate a sense of place and our style,” said Dan Caten.
Testament to the prolific designer he was, Virgil Abloh’s legacy is reverberating across Design Week, with several companies debuting projects he was working on before his untimely death. His Off-White label debuted the fourth home collection at the Rossana Orlandi Gallery.
The lineup leans on the dichotomy of man-made architectures and organic shapes with a plywood screen and armchair punctuated by cutouts and the signature neon orange tags; nonlinear oval mirrors spelling “A Mirror Image,” seemingly nodding to René Magritte’s surreal paintings, and asymmetric glass candelabra, plus the second iteration of the Ginori 1735 collab.
An installation focusing on the concept of “Re-Generation” and a series of collaborations will mark Antonio Marras’ agenda for Milan Design Week. His sketch of the Lillu Arrùbiu lily, inspired by artistic couple Robert and Sonya Delaunay, will be turned into a wallpaper by Wall&deco and a series of ceramics by Casa Marras. Lillu Arrùbiu will additionally be the name of the temporary bistrot and restaurant the Sardinian designer will open in its Nonostantemarras headquarters in Milan, which makes for a recurrent project running through design week as it’s its fifth reiteration.
The brand will also show a limited-edition series of lamps Marras hand-drew for local design company Servomuto as well as new unique-piece clay vases the designer decorated by hand for Galleria Rossella Colombari in collaboration with Marsiglilab. The vases are an invitation to change perspective when looking at home contexts, as their usage is suggested for outdoor.
For the first time, Colville will reveal its homeware offer at the Salone del Mobile design fair, and for the occasion the brand, founded by Molly Molloy and Lucinda Chambers, is presenting its largest collection yet.
This will see the introduction of new objects, including the Double Decker vase inspired by industrial, corrugated tubing and crafted in collaboration with LagunaB, which already developed Colville’s signature spherical Bowling Vase, now offered in new color blends. In addition, Colville teamed up with Italian metal worker Katia Messali on the Twisted Vase and Candlestick, whose scrunched shapes were initially created from paper sculptures by the brand’s team, before being turned into metal by hand and dipped in enamel in a range of candy colors.
The brand will also introduce its first furniture pieces via three small side tables developed with Italian carpenter Federico Mazzolini, who has created all the company’s studio furniture since the brand’s launch. Eye-catching and flexible, the designs can be stacked and tweaked to be customized in usage and looks.
Elsewhere, Colville’s signature color sensibility will be highlighted via the Bauhaus Stripe, Bauhaus Frame and Bauhaus Piano cushions, hand-woven by artisans in India to create lively, textured graphic patterns and tactile 3D effects, as well as new colorful renditions of the Super Shag poufs and rugs developed in angora and lambswool by Turkish women artisans.
Meanwhile the brand’s Milanese HQ will be taken over by Dutch artist Frank Visser, who has used items repurposed from around the studio — including waste paper and old packaging — to create sculptures. Colville has also designed new uniforms for the Flos team to celebrate the Italian lighting design company’s 60th anniversary.
La Double J
What happens when you combine Rome’s architectural features with the colorful and funky identity of Italian ready-to-wear and home brand La Double J? For this year’s design week, the fashion house created the “Roman Holiday Homeware Collection,” inspired by Italy’s capital and nature.
The collection includes crafted porcelain vases, dessert plate sets, the “Big Mama” cup and saucer, napkins, aprons, round and rectangle trays, cushions and tablecloths. The floral Lilium prints in saffron yellow and emerald green are inspired by Rome’s Villa Borghese nature and colors, while the geometric motifs are a nod to the capital’s domes and cupolas. But the real focus of the collection is the “Orto” collection of Murano vases, crafted by historic glass master partner, Salviati. Each piece draws inspiration from Italy’s nature.
The main creations include the orb-shaped Big and Baby egg vases and the Bubble vase. The placemats and table sets are made using 100 percent linen produced in Lake Como and follow the brand’s particular characteristic of vintage and maximalist style.
For the first time at design week, the Milanese brand founded in 2015 Arthur Arbesser, presents its first collection of home furniture, which will also be displayed at Milan’s Triennale from June 3 to 12.
The designer created three unique pieces: Pemo, a marble-chair, Covado, a modern coffee table and Toitoi, a set of three modular containers. The collection was produced by De Rosso with the design coordination of Mario Scairato and the installation will also showcase the brand’s new tableware textiles.
Ever raised a toast with a marble cup? Sunnei has flexed its (creative) muscle, partnering with Bloc Studios on a bold, irony-filled, limited-edition design collection turning tableware into one-of-a-kind marble pieces. The tie-up resulted in brutalist plates in three different shapes, a bowl, reversible glasses, wine coolers and a pitcher. In sync with the Milanese brand’s playful spirit, an additional rectangular table and stools featured contrasting marble inlays to mark the exact position of each object — iPhones and guests’ bums included.
“Everything started from our desire to interpret conviviality through the pieces that are needed at dinner. However, this simple concept evolves into a paradox when you think that Bloc Studios is synonymous with marble,” said Bloc Studios’ founder Sara Ferron Cima about the two-year-in-the-making project. “Making tableware in marble might sound like a non-sense academic exercise but it is rather exploring the limits of such material. Marble expresses Bloc Studios’ DNA, while Sunnei brought light-heartedness, provocation and realness to the project.”
An installation staged at the brand’s Milan headquarters adds to the ironic approach, as the creative parties imagined an elevated plywood podium collapsing under the weight of the marble dining set.
In addition to this project, during Milan Design Week the company’s HQ will showcase the third drop of its Sunnei Objects lifestyle line, introducing Murano glass candleholders shaped as bottlenecks as well as new iterations of existing categories, such as vases, glasses and sexual pleasure objects.
In Corso Venezia 14, Aspesi will set up a space curated by Gianluigi Ricuperati and in collaboration with the contemporary art curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, where visitors can meditate and relax from the confusion of the city.
The Milanese showroom will host Obrist’s collection of Post-it notes handwritten by Etel Adnan, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Philippe Parreno, Virgil Abloh, Koo Joeng-A, Precious Okomon and Douglas Coupland. The space was designed by Patricia Urquiola, who also created glass tables produced by Gles Italia and carpets.
There will be no chairs or couches, visitors are asked to sit on the carpets to rest and feel more intimate with one another. “Culture is knowing that you don’t know a lot, but being happy to enter new rooms, doors that artists and creatives are happy to open for us,” stated Simona Clemenza, Aspesi’s chief executive officer. Words will definitely be the protagonists of Aspesi’s project.
Stella McCartney reaffirms its commitment to sustainability by proposing its second edition of “Future of Fashion” material innovation installation. Held from June 7 until June 12, the exhibition explores the brand’s two decades of conscious leadership, such as the new Frayme Mylo bag, crafted from mycelium, a material innovation pop-up shop, interiors partnership, sculptures and an immersive infinite room.
Stella McCartney collaborated with B&B Italia to reimagine the company’s iconic Le Bambole armchair created with a hand-drawn forest fungi burgundy print. The event will also display the fashion house’s new partnership with Cole & Son Wallpaper, produced with a substrate derived from 79 percent renewable fibers and a manufacturing process using 30 percent fewer greenhouse gases than traditional non-woven wall coverings.
Visitors will also be mesmerized by the gigantic fungi sculptures and experience the infinity room, featuring sculptural fungi neons made from recycled materials, repurposed from Old Bond Street store. For those who also fancy a shopping afternoon, a pop-up store will sell Stella McCartney’s conscious ready-to-wear and vegan accessories.
Ginori 1735 and buzzy British interior designer Luke Edward Hall renewed their partnership, only this time not for tableware. The two parties joined forces to develop the storied porcelain company’s new home fragrance collection debuting at Milan Design Week. Dubbed “Profumi Luchino,” the line will include five scents envisioned to take consumers on a journey around the world.
Inspired by the artist’s own travels, each scent will be represented by a special, imaginary dwelling Hall designed with its whimsical aesthetic and that give the name to the scents, such as Fox Thicket Folly for the Cotswolds, La Gazelle d’Or for Marrakech, Rajathra Palace for Rajasthan, Rain Rock Creek for Big Sur and Palazzo Centauro for Venice.
Tapping into different olfactory families — ranging from woody to floral — the collection is made of scented candles in molten wax, cast in cylindrical porcelain containers decorated by hand. Each fragrance is also accompanied by a plate and a trinket tray, both hand-finished and decorated with designs suggested by the artist and depicting the five locations. Each scent additionally comes with a distinctive object crafted from the company’s signature porcelain and hand-made, including a candlestick, an incense holder, a covered pot, a lidded box and sculpture candlestick inspired by a head of Ganymede statue.
Coincidentally, the porcelain company will launch two new scents as part of its existing home fragrance range LCDC, or “La Compagnia Di Caterina,” designed by Luca Nichetto. Composed of candles in various sizes and colors, incense holder and fragrance diffusers, the line first debuted last year during the special edition of Salone del Mobile in September.
Swarovski x Rosenthal
Set an extra place at the table, because Swarovski will present its furniture collection designed by the brand’s creative director Giovanna Engelbert Battaglia and developed with the porcelain experts from Rosenthal. The collaboration features tea sets, coffee sets and a full dining service and will introduce its new brand octagonal motif for the first time, which was inspired by the 19th–century Austrian art movement.
Engelbert believes that this collaboration is a way to “embellish [our] life” and adds that the home set is a “whimsical yet elegant collection.” In the tones of green, the sets are adorned with Swarovski’s precious stones and hand painted motifs, the center stamps features a golden Swarovski Swan.
The Aliita jewelry brand’s chic showroom in central Milan will be taken over by scaled-up reinterpretations of some of the iconic rings designed by founder Cynthia Vilchez Castiglioni in a colorful, joyful concept dubbed “Aliita Land.”
In particular, at the space Vilchez Castiglioni will present the new collections of the Deco Sandwich, Diaspro and Deco Cilindro ring lines flanked by installations developed in collaboration with design company Mutina.
For the occasion, ceramic panels of Mutina’s DIN collection designed by Konstantin Grcic have been repurposed as pieces of the maxi ring-shaped designs, drawing a parallel between their glossy colors and textures and the precious stones and materials employed in Aliita’s minimal yet lively jewelry.
Studio Luca Guadagnino
Award-winning Italian director Luca Guadagnino will make his first public debut with the interior architecture firm Studio Luca Guadagnino (SLG) founded in 2017. For the occasion, Guadagnino will showcase an installation featuring SLG designed coffee tables, fireplaces, wood paneling produced by Spazio RT, carpets manufacture by La Manufacture, glass sconces made by FontanaArte and ceramics by Italian American artist Francesco Simeti.
The installation includes two living rooms inspired by Italian architect Carlo Scarpa and completely furnished with SLG’s piece. The space nominated “By the fire,” includes two rooms decorated with a fireplace made by using Italian ceppo di Grè stone and fluorescent ceramic. Guadagnino expressed his “love for space” and added that he also appreciates “craftsmanship and artisanal expertise, and being able to collaborate with such fantastic, really rare people who work in craft.”
Daniel Arsham’s Immersive Sink
Fashion favorite Daniel Arsham, who lent his penchant for manipulation of existing materials and objects to Dior’s Kim Jones and Tiffany&Co.’s iconic blue box, among others, is hitting Milan in tandem with kitchen and bath brand Kohler. Inside the Palazzo del Senato he will mount a site-specific installation echoing the 3D printed sink co-created with the Wisconsin-based furniture brand, which also debuts this week.
Made of multiple layers to form a tunnel surrounded by a pond, the installation called “Divided Layers,” is aimed at letting “visitors experience being within the sink, rather than a user of a functional piece,” Arsham said.
Vitale Barberis Canonico for Luca Nichetto
Textile specialist Vitale Barberis Canonico is opening the doors of its Milan showroom refurbished as a fashion atelier decorated with suspended paper patterns and featuring a British whisky bar corner. Against this backdrop, renowned designer Luca Nichetto will present the BemyGuest mouthblown Murano glass lamps with an anthropomorphic shape he created for the wool mill, alongside a Steinway & Sons piano and furniture pieces he developed for Wittmann and for La Manufacture, for which the designer serves as artistic director.
The latter French-based company is also taking over the Museo Poldi Pezzoli with a display of its 50-piece collection created by established designers, redone for the occasion in a single bright orange nuance, nodding to workmen’s vests. The whisky bar will also host private conversations with the designer, marking the unveiling of a monography book published by Phaidon on Nichetto’s work.
Valextra is spoiling its top clients for Design Week inviting some of them to enjoy an exclusive experience in Milan and discover three ateliers of architecture masters who helped define the country’s design history and put the city of Milan on the map. The brand is keeping the names under wraps to surprise its clients.
Organized in partnership by a well-known luxury experience provider, the initiative will be flanked by a cocktail party held at Milan’s landmark Bar Basso to celebrate one of the luxury leather goods brand’s signature style, the Tric Trac.
Fratelli Rossetti will unveil the third chapter of its “Design at your feet” project, through which it invites designers to offer their own take on footwear. Following the collaborations with Lebanese designer Nada Debs and Belgium’s Alain Gilles, this time the Italian firm looked at its homeland tapping Ludovica+Roberto Palomba design studio to develop a limited-edition sandal style.
Made of soft black leather, the minimal and graphic model is defined by a chunky sole with white details for women and black for men.
“The cage sandal, the most minimal and formal model, gave us an opportunity to present an object which, despite being simple, is charged with personal memories linked to summer strolls, to the sandy roads that led us to the beach, to walks on freshly cut grass, to days spent on the seashore in Sardinia or in the cool shade of the olive trees in the Lazio countryside,” said Roberto Palomba.
Celebrated with dedicated store windows, the style will be exclusively available in Fratelli Rossetti’s Milan stores and e-commerce.
Timberland and Stefano Boeri Interiors partnered on a project intended to raise awareness about the importance of urban greening and its beneficial effects in combating the effects of climate change and improving citizens’ quality of life.
Hence, the design firm came up with the Floating Forest installation set up on the waters of the Darsena in Milan and conceived as an independent ecosystem, where 610 plants and 30 species multiply biodiversity and activate environmental benefits related to urban forestry, in connection with other green spaces of the city.
The installation will offer an immersive experience of the sense with its array of botanical species, including trees such as Maple, Birch and Apple; bushes such as the Aronia Berry, Hydrangea, Mahonia and Pittosporum, and perennial grasses like Eulalia, Anemone, Daylily and Pampas. After the design week, the trees will be donated to Soulfood Forestfarms Hub Italia, a nonprofit organization that facilitates the ecological transition of territories together with local communities, institutions and businesses.
An on-site digital experience will further enhance the immersive aspect while online activations will make the project accessible to those unable to attend the Fuorisalone event.
Jacob Cohën and furniture firm MDF Italia will launch “Neil Denim,” a rendition of the iconic chair designed by Jean-Marie Massaud upholstered in denim. The fabric injected a more urban spin into the design’s essential lines and graphic structure. For the project, the two companies stressed sustainability, making the design piece easy to disassemble and employing fully recyclable materials.
Up to You Anthology
In keeping with its mission to blend design and fashion, Up to You Anthology has added yet another marquee name to its roster of collaborators, teaming up with Marcel Wanders after an haphazard encounter between Nicolò Gavazzi, founder and CEO of the brand and Wanders’ business partner Gabriele Chiave.
The designer created a bouquet-shaped shoulder bag and a classic tote crafted with the ancient wet printing technique. Both styles will be presented at the brand’s first permanent boutique recently opened on Milan’s tony Corso Venezia.
Éditions de Parfums Frédéric Malle
Éditions de Parfums Frédéric Malle will stage “Find Your Perfume,” an olfactory installation staged at the MUDEC museum enabling visitors to find their perfect fragrance match. Curated by Greek multimedia artist Konstantin Kakanias, the project celebrates and builds on the namesake questionnaire the fragrance label launched on its online store and boutiques.
“From the beginning — 20 years ago — I thought that, even if a face-to-face consultation with one of our specialists would always be the best solution, it shouldn’t have been mandatory to come to the store to have a great experience or find the right match. Not everyone could visit our boutiques, but we had a perfume for almost everyone,” said founder Frédéric Malle, underscoring that he already foresaw that “a virtual experience could be just as entertaining and accurate.”