There Are Thousands of Products to See at Milan’s Design Week—These Were My 8 Standouts
From a wallpaper in the wild to a palazzo full of chairs.
Published Apr 29, 2023 1:00 AM
We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.
It’s impossible to see everything during Milan Design Week. Between activations in the city center and rows of booths at Salone del Mobile, thousands of brands show off their latest and greatest to eager (and very jet-lagged) aesthetes. Even though the city is saturated with exhibitions, no two experiences are alike—a typical afternoon’s agenda can entail strolling through a palazzo’s courtyard full of manipulated wood dining chairs and visiting a light-filled warehouse scattered with opalescent resin furniture. After returning home and looking through my camera roll, it’s clear that while I certainly didn’t see it all in the seven days I was there, what I saw was pretty extraordinary. Here are the eight things I’ll remember most.
Gubi’s Furniture at Bagni Misteriosi
While the majority of brands showing last week were Italian, there was no shortage of international voices. Among one of the most ambitious of those was Gubi, which took over the city’s magical public pool, Bagni Misteriosi. Visitors could engage with the outdoor furniture and get a taste of laid-back summer living (the bottomless spritzes helped set the mood), as well as enjoy an indoor setup celebrating the Beetle chair.
Byredo’s Bal d’Afrique Fragrance at Dozie Kanu’s Installation
Courtesy of Byredo
Most shows focused on a debut, but Byredo chose to celebrate its already iconic fragrance, Bal d’Afrique. The brand worked with Nigerian artist Dozie Kanu to create a structural manifestation of the floral but woodsy scent—a Brutalist pavilion inspired by his relationship with Afro-Diaspora culture. Full of works from Kanu’s archive, the space was meant to recall one’s own memories as well as those of someone else.
La DoubleJ’s Wallpaper in Bathrooms Around Milan
Leave it to La DoubleJ to think up the most creative activation for its new wallpaper. The Milan-based homeware and fashion brand took over the city’s most quintessential bathrooms, covering them in its maximal prints. Trattoria Torre di Pisa’s bathroom now boasts spring-y orange and lilac florals, and Apophis Club’s a graphic monstera leaf layered with dancing ladies. If there was ever a good opportunity for a mirror selfie…
Objects of Common Interest’s Resin Works at Nilufar Depot
Stepping into Nilufar Depot makes you wonder why a gallery would ever limit itself to a white box. Art aside, the industrial space alone is worth writing home about. But so was the star of the show: Poikilos by Objects of Common Interest. Iridescent resin furniture that looked more like sculptures floated through the space, set between slinky curtains that added a touch of romance.
Glas Italia and Patricia Urquiola’s Coffee Tables at Salone del Mobile
Glas Italia knows a thing or two about working with glass, and nowhere is that mastery more prominent than in its new coffee tables, designed with Patricia Urquiola. Cast glass in iridescent candy-colored shades is pieced together to create a table you wouldn’t want to cover up with art books.
Rugs, Seating, and Dinnerware at Hermès
The least surprising thing that happened last week was being blown away by Hermès’s show. The luxury brand’s activations have never been anything short of exquisite, and this year, it included items like hand-embroidered rugs, a perfectly tailored sofa, and printed porcelain tableware, all showcased on a stage partitioned by weathered rebar.
Vintage and New Furniture at Dimoregallery
I try not to play favorites, but I’d be lying if I said that the Dimoregallery show, Silence, didn’t leave me, well, speechless. Built multiple sub-rooms existed inside one large space, designed to the nines with the chicest furniture I’ve ever seen. But rather than being able to walk into each room, visitors could poke their heads through a small hole in the wall. The rooms, roughly designed after Irving Penn’s photographic sets, were styled haphazardly, as though the occupant had just ran outside for a quick cigarette, making us the sneaky voyeurs.
Loewe’s Chairs at Palazzo Isimbardi
Entering a palazzo’s courtyard that’s typically blocked off from the public already feels like a treat, but add rows of chairs embellished by Loewe, and it suddenly becomes the best day ever. Woven and sewn paper, twine, foil, and shearling spice up ordinary seats, turning them into true works of art. But what first grabbed my attention was the playful stone mushroom installation in the center.