Review of Salone del Mobile, Milan Design Week 2021, Italy

Milan design week takes place at venues across Milan from 4 to 10 September 2021. The key event at Milan design week is Salone del Mobile, the world’s largest and most important furniture fair. A new format and an exceptional curator, “supersalone”, the 2021 Salone del Mobile of Milano design week special event, curated by Stefano Boeri, opened from 5th to 10th September at Rho, Fiera Milano reaffirms the centrality of Milan and the Salone on the international design, cultural and innovation scene.

The event open with the accent on safety, design transversality and green commitment. It feature 423 brands and 50 independent producers, 170 projects from 48 design schools, 20 of the most influential figures on the creative scene today, 110 Compasso d’Oro award-winning chairs, six great chefs, five films selected by the MDFF and 200 trees from Forestami.

This year’s Salone del Mobile is conceived as a large design library. The trade show’s traditional format of individual booths for brands was replaced by displays arranged on vertical modular walls designed by architect Andrea Caputo. Designed with sustainability in mind, the walls are made of materials that can be dismantled and reused to avoid waste. For the first time in the fair’s history, visitors was able to buy exhibited products by scanning QR codes displayed on the walls.

“Supersalone” was all this and much more besides: a special project through which the Salone del Mobile.Milano intends to serve as a promoter of and catalyst for activities, thoughts and feelings that allow the entire sector and the supply chain as a whole to breathe life into a new Renaissance.

423 brands in all goods categories set out their wares in four pavilions, in a committed response to the call from the Salone del Mobile.Milano and the curator Stefano Boeri, and the firm belief that the “supersalone” become a symbol of a new Renaissance. The stars of the show was increasingly innovative products, capable of fully responding to the changes inherent in the contemporary social structure, and their knock-on effects on a rapidly changing furnishing market and the individual needs of each client.

“Supersalone” is a cheerful response from a SuperItaly after the long night of the pandemic. To see the great design brands, the young makers, the international schools, the great icons of design, the most renowned Italian chefs and many stars of the art and architecture scene gathered together.

Innovation, attention to environmental impact, creativity tout court, cultural exchange, and digital experiences are the “supersalone” buzzwords. It was an event that draw on the power of design creativity to become a hub of experimentation and cross-pollination, a meeting place and a forger of new opportunities for reflection on the world of design and for acquainting ourselves with its protagonists – from the furnishing manufacturing system to the schools turning out the new cohorts of designers, from the independent makers to the most influential current figures in every field of design, from filmmakers who iconise the ability of design to shape worlds and tell stories to those who support and promote creativity.

The display in the fairgrounds is broken up by themed areas and itineraries: arenas for talks with leading figures on the contemporary cultural and creative scene, dedicated lounges for business company meetings, areas reserved for young students at design schools and for a display of chairs awarded with the Compasso d’Oro curated by the ADI, food courts conceived and set up in partnership with Identità Golose – The International Chef Congress, and socialising and relaxation areas.

A fluid and dynamic exhibition set-up valorise the new products and creations brought out by the companies over the last 18 months and allow visitors to navigate freely inside a large design library, a huge national and international archive of creativity.

A green area welcomes visitors at the East Gate of the fairgrounds; thanks to the Forestami project the trees subsequently be relocated to Milan’s metropolitan area. Triennale Milano is the hub of the “supersalone” city, with a range of cultural offerings including a series of totally original exhibitions and events.

With circularity and sustainability uppermost, all the materials and components used in the installation designed by Andrea Caputo – long parallel sets, designed for the specific goods categories, and the communal areas such as the Food Courts, arenas and lounges designed by Stefano Boeri Interiors. The same goes for the bricks used in The Lost Graduation Show installation, which are all reusable; all the arenas, benches and seating was “dry” mounted and can therefore be disassembled and used again at different times and in different contexts.

The trees supplied by Forestami underscore the green credentials of “supersalone” with an ad hoc project that provides for a “forest” of around 100 trees through which the turnstiles at the East Gate entrance can be accessed. Another 100 tall trees lead visitors into the various exhibition areas and living areas dedicated to relaxation. The selected trees, lime, ash, oak, flowering plum trees, subsequently be planted in Milan’s metropolitan area.

One of the special “supersalone” exhibitions was The Lost Graduation Show, curated by Anniina Koivu, showcasing 170 projects from students who graduated between 2020 and 2021, hailing from 48 design schools in 22 different countries in all five continents. A first in the history of the Salone that involve every sector of furniture design and more besides. Incursions into the world of mobility, inclusive, medical and sports design, research into materials and design sustainability map out the status quo of the entire sector. An example of how the Salone del Mobile.Milano works to support design schools, promoting the latest generation of designers, narrating their enthusiasm, courage and efforts at a time when the profession is undergoing swingeing change

The exhibition Take Your Seat / Prendi Posizione – Solitude and Conviviality of the Chair / Solitudine e Convivialità della Sedia, curated by Nina Bassoli in partnership with ADI / Compasso d’Oro Award, was another major highlight. Featuring 30 Compasso d’Oro award-winning chairs and more than 80 chairs that have gained honourable mentions ranged around the four “supersalone” pavilions, the exhibition tell the story of the most iconic of all design objects, the chair, more capable of synthesising the value of good design than any other artefact. Split into four themed sections, with the addition of an “extra” section at the ADI Design Museum – the ideal end or start point to the visit – it illustrate just how design has harnessed languages and content throughout the great changes in society and how it has managed to respond to new cultural paradigms with new inventions.

The Salone del Mobile venture beyond the confines of the Rho Fairgrounds to underscore and valorise its deep ties with Milan and, in the spirit of increasing openness to the exchange and circulation of ideas, culture and creativity, reinforce its dialogue with Triennale Milano, the city hub of “supersalone.” Triennale was marking the occasion with Il Salone / La Città (The Salone / The City), an exhibition conceived by the Triennale Museum of Italian Design for the Salone del Mobile.Milano and curated by Mario Piazza. The exhibition narrate the cultural events held in the city by the Salone that, over the years, have communicated design to its fans. A spectacular show that draw on the archives of Triennale Milano and the Salone del Mobile Milano.

“supersalone” is also and especially open to cross-pollination between different spheres and languages, featuring Identità Golose Milano – International Gastronomic Hub in the event, because food is a product on the same level as any other, and has always evolved on the basis of human creativity and need. It calls for careful planning and the study of craft and industrial processes, both traditional and otherwise. It also requires a good pinch of curiosity and openness.

The Identità Golose Food Court is a new bespoke concept tailormade for “supersalone,” conceived as an integral part of the visitor experience and an opportunity to savour the original recipes of some of the greatest Italian chefs and artisans. ​Each of them come up with an iconic dish – either sweet or savoury – that the public was able to purchase, putting together their own ideal menus to enjoy in an informal and inclusive environment.

Devised by Maria Cristina Didero, the “supersalone” programme was packed with conversations, talks and lectures by designers, architects, artists, scholars and managers from all over the world. The protagonists endeavour to respond to a variety of questions on design, art, architecture, education, the circular economy, environmental impact, the relationship between project and curation and much more besides, in a series of dialogues and one man shows.

Virtual exhibition
In this context, the mix of digital and in-person presence make for a thoroughly engaging experience and allow those unable to be physically present to observe the products on exhibit, visit the exhibitions virtually and attend the talks and lectures. The Salone del Mobile.Milano platform has been designed to promote the design on exhibit with original content and medium-specific language, and to put the user at the centre of the event before, during and after their visit. The exhibition spaces and themed itineraries dialogue with the platform in a wholly original manner, and the products visualised and reserved for purchase. It is a digital crossroads that create new forms of integration and interconnection between different worlds, users and markets.

Design Districts of Milan Design Week 2021
The events of Milan Design Week are spread all over Milan, but are concentrated in some main areas. A series of main districts, namely Porta Venezia, San Babila, Tortona, The 5 Vie, Sant’Ambrogio or San Gregorio. During the Fuorisalone, these districts take center stage with an abundance of events including DJ sets, exhibitions and performances hosted at various locations across the city, comprising former industrial spaces, ateliers, artisanal workshops, ‘botteghe’ and the showrooms of big-name brands.

Milan Design Week drawn on the illustrious past of Milan, with it rich history in architecture, art, and design, old palazzi and churches as backdrops for the most interesting exhibits, and reissues of classic designs stealing the spotlight from new product introductions. For one week, Milan was transformed into an open gallery, with historical palazzos and museums, public places and little hidden gems welcoming design aficionados from the world over. It has established a necessary bridge between artists and attendees, creating a vibe of memorable networking.

Brera Design District
Discover the new Brera Experience. The best way to discover and get to know the district’s places and secrets. Brera Design District also features a selection of the best commercial activities, i.e. those that best represent the identity of this historic district of Milan between design, lifestyle, food, art and culture. The Brera Design District offers, as always, a large number of events that animate the neighborhood and which alternate with the many design showrooms hosted here. The leitmotif of this edition of the Brera Design District is “Forms of living” .

Start from the “ancient heart of Brera”, represented by the pedestrian area of via Fiori Chiari , via Formentini and via Madonnina . Lose yourself among antiques, modern antique shops, exclusive shops and historic bars. Here, in via Fiori Chiari 18 , Dedar presents the new textile wall coverings. In via Formentini 9 (in front of the deconsecrated church of S. Carpoforo) the Paola Sorio Luxury Design Atelier brand makes its debut , specialized in the creation of furniture and accessories between art and design characterized by a very high quality craftsmanship.

Brera Design District attracts the largest number of events and is the most visited and most representative district of the Fuorisalone. Born with the 2010 edition, the Brera Design Week has been able to increase over the years the number and quality of the events it hosts, going from 42 in the first edition to 210 in the last one, working with 497 exhibitors for an estimated 400,000 visitors during the 7-day event. Today, for many, Fuorisalone means Brera and Brera Design Week is the reference platform, open to collaboration with companies and designers thanks to dedicated project formats.

The Brera Design District universe now includes two events: the Brera Design Week and the Brera Design Days, a consultancy platform, a service dedicated to locations with Brera Location and a showroom dedicated to curatorial projects and collaboration with companies, the Brera Design Apartment.

Creative Connections is completed in the two locations of the Brera Botanical Garden and the Audi City Lab in via della Spiga 26. In the green oasis between the buildings in the center of Milan, Natural Capital, the installation designed by Studio Carlo Ratti Associated with Eni, it aims to raise visitors’ awareness of the role of forests in combating climate change. In the heart of the fashion district, Audi opens a hub dedicated to research and experimentation in the field of mobility. The space is transformed by the Marcel Wanders studio with the installation Enlightening the future which emotionally tells the new frontiers of Audi research thanks to an immersive experience based on light as a means of connecting and narrating its innovation projects.

Tortona District
Tortona Rocks brings a burst of activity to the Fuorisalone Tortona district, with an events program that seeks to answer the questions surrounding the changes taking place in our lives today: what design trajectories, state-of-the-art technologies and sustainable design solutions are on the horizon for the world of tomorrow? Design that looks ahead: the sixth Tortona Rocks event just had to be dedicated to projects that plot a course towards the future, giving shape to a new way to live and experience our cities and homes.

In THE DESIGN AHEAD initiative, Tortona Rocks # 6 reaffirms itself as forward-looking design antennae that picks up on and tells the story of the zeitgeist of this challenging era, presenting a selection of international companies and exhibits that provide a rounded snapshot of the design world, based on a convergence of multiple design approaches and visions.

Belgium is Design , Chaises Nicolle with Paola Navone, DFA Partners and Gruppo Building, Planika, RAN , Silk-FAW Automotive , Softicated , The Playful Living , Vestre and many more was animating Opificio 31 and the Tortona district’s Design Week event that returns on the global scene with the latest trends in the design field.

Meanwhile, Phyd Hub was hosting Content Lounge Tortona Rocks , where there was a series of live interviews and discussions, not only on design but also entrepreneurship and creativity.

This year, Tortona Rocks also present a video editorial, created by Milano Space Makers and Studio Spucches , called OPIFICIO 31. Agorà della Milano Design Week , a series of four short documentaries and interviews that celebrate design in one of its most symbolic locations: the heart of the Tortona district and the Fuorisalone event, tracing the history of the designers and companies that have been involved in the event over the years.

Liberty area of ​​Milan
Visit to the installation of Lasvit at the Consulate of the Czech Republic in via Morgagni 20 . The Czech glass and lighting brand has accustomed us to spectacular installations for years. BE WATER , the large site specific installation, hosted at the Cozzi municipal swimming pool managed by Milanosport and the Municipality of Milan. An editorial project of images only signed by the artist Maurizio Cattelan and the photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari in creative partnership with the Spanish fashion brand Desigual and the irreverent Italian brand TOILETPAPER .

Visit the Boschi di Stefano House Museum ( via Jan 15 , Buenos Aires-Lima area) to see the exhibition I’M CUP OF YOU! 100 smashing women designers exhibiting over 80 cups signed by as many women designers – designers, artisans, artists, architects and more, including the cups of 14 special guests : Alessandra Baldereschi, Gabriella Benedini, Annalisa Cocco, Caterina Crepax, Laura Fiaschi ( GUMDESIGN), Daniela Gerini, Silvia Levenson, Chiara Lorenzetti, Antonella Ravagli, Elena Salmistraro, Marta Sansoni, Annarita Serra, Sabrina Sguanci, Angela Simone .

Barona district
Superdesign Show 2021 – September – Special Edition with R/evolution take place at Superstudio Più in via Tortona 27, the great hub that for twenty years has been representative of innovation and creativity. The new concept introduces a rethought path open to the new design that accomodates all the demands of concreteness, innovation, lightness, sustainability, inclusivity, interconnection, arised in the year after the pandemic. 12 curatorial exhibitions address topical issues such as the icons of the new millennium, female creativity, the home driven by Artificial Intelligence, new production techniques, living and working open air and others.

Superdesign Show 2021 September – Extension, with Design beyond Design, a composite multimedia and multicultural where design was seen in its different communicative expressions (art, video, photography, performance, architecture, publishing, workshop…) is instead the occasion to discover the just finished venue Superstudio Maxi in via Moncucco, a large, elegant, technological, sustainable exhibition space that fits in the greenry of Barona district, an area that is increasingly renewing and that is also a scenery of urban regeneration projects, signed by the major studios of architecture.

Area of ​​Tortona street
The area of ​​via Tortona which with Superstudio presents Superdesign Show 2021, making a strong comeback on the international scene with Cult & Must, Donne & Design, Supercampus, Materials, Discovering, Outdoor Generation , 1000 Vases, the car of the future, the home. intelligent e, the challenges of art. A series of curatorial exhibitions, a museum vision, an eye to tomorrow. A true R / EVOLUTION that continues with the inauguration of the Flavio Lucchini Museum, in via Tortona 27 , and of Superstudio Maxi, in via Moncucco 35, the new and third space of the group with Design beyond Design, five days of inauguration in the new superstudio maxi exhibition center with multidisciplinary activities – photographic exhibitions, design, talks, videos, performances and charity sales of love objects.

The exhibitions scheduled during Tortona Design Week 2021 celebrate design as a promoter of innovation , the result of continuous research to reconcile the interaction between things, people and spaces (both internal and external) in an intelligent and sustainable way and with numerous recurring values. , including the commitment to the use of innovative materials , the use of artificial intelligence , respect for the environment with the development and research of a system for an increasingly circular economy . Furthermore, to embellish the area of ​​via Tortona, this Fuorisalone in September is the first step towards the realization of The Roundabout: design with nature , project that saw Tortona Design Week collaborate with Domus Academy in the creation of a contest aimed at students of the Masters in Interior & Living Design, Urban Vision & Architectural Design, Interaction Design and Service Design of Domus Academy.

The special September event of Salone del Mobile in Milan For the occasion, Torneria Tortona and Tortona Locations, which are among the promoters and organizers of the event, developed IN – OUT, perception of sustainability, a project that interprets change as an opportunity to initiate collective growth in the name of sustainability and innovation.

In a year in which everything has changed and everyday life has adopted different forms and tempos, in a constantly evolving “IN – OUT”, it is essential to wonder about the present and future. Precisely for this reason the concept developed for the Tortona Design Week 2021 aims to reconcile the perception of the inner world with the outer one, always keeping a constant focus on the sustainability of the elements, concepts, and daily life.

Many important companies in Italy and abroad have decided to join the project such asHaier, Candy and Hoover, with the house entirely interconnected; APIMA and AICEP Portugal Global, withthe unique design of Portuguese companies; Nitto with the magical labyrinth created thanks to a newlighting technology; ICONA Design Group with achievements in the automotive, industrial and product design; Delta Light with the multisensory exhibition #wantyouclose; and Lechler – ColorDesign; Officina 14; Zip Zone Events; Materioteca; Tiziana Pistoni; Studio.traccia.

The exhibitions celebrate design as a promoter of innovation, the result of a continuous search to reconcile the interaction between things, people, and spaces (both indoors and out) in an intelligent and sustainable way and with numerous recurring values, including a commitment to use innovative materials and artificial intelligence and have respect for the environment through the research and development of a system for an increasingly circular economy.

To further enhance the area of Via Tortona, the September date was the first step towards creating The Roundabout: design with nature, a project in which Tortona Design Week collaborated with Domus Academy to launch a contest for Domus Academy students attending Masters courses in Interior & Living Design, Urban Vision & Architectural Design, Interaction Design and Service Design.

With the valuable contribution of the sponsors Sense – Immaterial Reality and, the students were asked to design a virtual and physical installation (which was produced for Salone del Mobile 2022), involving the roundabout of Largo delle Culture, one of the symbols of Tortona Design Week, rethought in an ecological and sustainable way and with an eye on the Milan Cortina 2026 Winter Olympic Games.

Isola Design District
Isola Design District became one of the main official areas of Milan Design Week, for giving visibility to local artisans, studios and galleries, but also to create opportunities for international emerging designers and independent studios, during the most important design event of the World.

After the succession of online events, virtual exhibitions and digital product launches, the Isola Design Festival approaches the Milanese design week with a full program of exhibitions, installations, talks and workshops to be experienced in a hybrid, but mainly mind in presence.

One of the new locations of this edition is the Sassetti Factory ( via Sassetti 31 ), a former woolen yarn factory from the 1930s, in which there was two exhibitions. The Stage Four , which involve visitors in a dream installation, thanks to a riot of shapes and colors, and Isola Design Gallery. Here, collectibles and sustainable furnishings from Isola Design Community was presented. Inside Fabbrica Sassetti , from 5 to 10 September, a Temporary Store was active with many design products for sale.

Since last year, Isola Design District is also part of the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, becoming the first Italian design district to participate in a foreign design event. A new way to experience design, accessible 365 days a year and from anywhere, that complement the events in Italy and in the Netherlands.

Historic center of Milan
5VIE was born as a territorial marketing project linked to an area of ​​the historic center of Milan, the Cinque Vie : an area rich in history and culture, where among the remains of imperial Rome, early Christian basilicas and Renaissance courtyards you can still find artisan workshops of the highest level, as well as refined boutiques and art and design galleries.

Since 2013 5VIE organizes and produces Design Weeks focused on art-design and unique and collectible pieces, positioning itself as an international reference point in the sector ; among the designers who have exhibited and collaborated with 5VIE: Anton Alvarez, Maarten Baas, Niamh Barry, Valentina Cameranesi, Luca Cippelletti, CTRLZACK, Max Lamb, Ugo La Pietra, Sabine Marcelis, Erez Nevi Pana, Raw Edges, Sara Ricciardi, Stefano Seletti , Studio Ossidiana, Roberto Sironi, Nanda Vigo, Tellurico.

5VIE is also committed to the research and dissemination of best practices related to sustainability. Among its activities, it annually produces the Forum It’s Circular dedicated to the circular economy , which in 2021 see its fourth edition, entirely dedicated to the fashion sector. It also collaborates with international institutions such as the Italian Cultural Institute in Hong Kong , with which it has realized in 2020 the project Design Made in Hong Kong . That of 5VIE is a network that embraces all the big cities with a role in the world of design, innovation and art: it is a global network that passes through a Milan always eager to be reborn and renewed.

South of the Court of Milan, do not forget to visit the exhibition “Terra al Cubo – Abitare il Futuro” organized by the ISIA of Faenza on the theme of eco design. The project is housed in the splendid setting of the fifteenth-century Cloisters of the Humanitarian ( via Francesco Daverio 7 ). Enjoy the exhibition by strolling through the different cloisters. A short distance away is the eighteenth-century Rotonda della Besana , a former hospital and cemetery. After a visit to its beauties , you can discover, right in front, the MG12 showroom with special guest Melograno Blu.

MDD – Milano Durini Design District
Located in the heart of the city centre, Durini Design District is a key reference point for innovation, style and ‘Made in Italy’ design. Durini Design District shows to the world the latest and most refined projects from the world of design. At this crossroads of learning and exchange, stores renew themselves, taking on new forms, unveiling some of the most exclusive lifestyle proposals in the world.

From 4 to 10 September at Milan Design Week 2021, Associazione Milano Durini Design was bringing together some of the leading companies in the sector, presenting the fruits of their work to professionals and the public. A showcase of new and exciting products, displayed in fascinating and unedited spaces, reaffirming that there is still positive vitality and important economic commitments being made to drive the country’s recovery.

The showroom of associated brands also be presented in digital format, giving life to moments for cultural exchange, product presentations and important case studies, all in the presence of architects, international designers and sector operators. Design culture and the appreciation of ‘Made in Italy’ products once more be the focal point of the Durini Design District event, which officially be the first international appointment since the cancellation of the Salone del Mobile tradeshow in 2020.