10 must-see installations at Milan Design Week

From a chamber of optical illusions to an ‘underwater’ tunnel.

All eyes are on Milan as the city’s annual Salone del Mobile prepares to launch next week. This year’s edition continues to unlock unseen spaces in the city and fill them with pieces by some of the best designers working today. As always, the creative world will be descending en masse to tour installations, take in new work, and probably sip a negroni or two.

Here’s 10 must-see installations at Milan Design Week – from a chamber of optical illusions to an ‘underwater’ tunnel.

Les Arcanistes by Studiopepe

10 must-see installations at Milan Design Week: Studiopepe Milan Design Week preview
Via Studiopepe

Studiopepe promises a dose of mysticism at its Les Arcanistes installation, which explores the relationship between matter and the archetypal power of symbols. Bespoke products and re-editions will be on display in a previously unseen space that was once a gold manufacturer in the 1900s.

Via Garofalo 24, Milano

Alcova Sassetti

10 must-see installations at Milan Design Week: Alcova
Via Alcova

Space Caviar and Studio Vedèt expand their Alcova platform to two locations for this year’s Fuorisalone exhibition. They will reactivate an abandoned panettone factory and a new space inside a 1930s cashmere mill in Isola, bringing together designers to explore themes including contemporary living, design culture and materials and technological innovations.

Alcova – Via Popoli Uniti 11-13
Alcova Sassetti – Via Sassetti 31

Conifera by COS x Arthur Mamou-Mani

10 must-see installations at Milan Design Week: Conifera by Cos x Mamou Mani
Courtesy COS

For its eighth consecutive Milan Design Week outing, fashion brand COS has tapped French architect Arthur Mamou-Mani to design a site-specific installation out of 3D-printed bio-plastic blocks inside Palazzo Isimbardi. Conifera brings together two of the hottest topics in design at the moment and promises to be a visual feast, with a 3D printer onsite to create the truncated pyramid.

Corso Monforte, 35, 20122 Milano

Hidden Rooms by Salvatori

10 must-see installations at Milan Design Week: Salvatori's 'Hidden Rooms'
Illustration: Federico Babina

Salvatori’s Brera showroom will be turned into a ‘chamber of optical illusions’ between 9-14 April as visitors travel through hidden rooms, discovering new works by the likes of Piero Lissoni, John Pawson and Elisa Ossino.

Via Solferino, 11, 20121 Milano

A space for being – Google

10 must-see installations at Milan Design Week: Google's 'Space for Being'
Via Google

For its sophomore outing at Milan Design Week, Google is creating a multi-room experience that explores how neuroaesthetics affects the human brain. The installation will pop up at Spazio Maiocchi 9-14 April in collaboration with Danish design studio Muuto, Reddymade Architecture and Johns Hopkins University and promises to be an eye-opening experience…

Via Achille Maiocchi, 7, 20129 Milano

Raytrace – Benjamin Hubert x Cosentino

10 must-see installations at Milan Design Week: Raytrace by Benjamin Hubert
Courtesy of Cosentino & LAYER

There’s much anticipation around Benjamin Hubert’s collaboration with surface specialist Cosentino, which will see the British designer create a triangular tunnel that transports visitors ‘underwater’. Patterns that mimic the refraction of light through water will be projected onto the tunnel, morphing with the shadows of visitors through the passageway.

Via Ferrante Aporti 27, 20125 Milan

Maestà Soffrente by Gaetano Pesce for B&B Italia

10 must-see installations at Milan Design Week: Gaetano Pesce's 'Maestà Soffrente'
Via B&B Italia

An eight-metre-high version of Gaetano Pesce’s UP 5 & 6 armchair will pop up at Piazza del Duomo to mark the 50th anniversary of his seminal collection. It was created by the Italian designer to highlight the treatment of women, and arrows will pierce the skin of the giant installation in reference to violence against women. It’s set to be inaugurated on 7 April in front of the city’s cathedral.

Piazza del Duomo, 20122 Milano

Materialmessage by Snarkitecture x LAUFEN

Via Skarkitecture

A mountain of clay awaits visitors to the Teatro Arsenale in the 5vie district, part of Snarkitecture’s installation for Laufen narrating 127 years of the historic ceramic brand’s history. The mound is juxtaposed by a swooping wall of blocks that draws attention to the relationship between the raw material and finished product.

Via Cesare Correnti, 11, 20123 Milan

Space Encounters x Creative Holland

10 must-see installations at Milan Design Week: Space Encounters
Via Space Encounters

Fair-goers looking for a moment to themselves should stop by Palazzi Clerici, where a mini museum dedicated to Dutch creativity has popped up. The installation is designed by Amsterdam architecture studio Space Encounters, and explores everything from photography and fashion to virtual reality and film. I’s designed as a calming alternative to the crowds of Milan, with no noise, and no written explanations for what’s on display – freeing visitors to draw their own conclusions.

Via Clerici, 5, 20121 Milano

Interstellar by Dimore Studio


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by DIMOREMILANO | DIMORESTUDIO (@dimoremilano) on

Dimore Studio will be taking over the former Cinema Arti to unveil its latest furniture collection, ‘Interstellar’, as well as showing their own take on the classic travelling trunks of French malletier Au Départ next door.

Via Pietro Mascagni, 8, 20122 Milano

Read next: 
13 Milan restaurants for design lovers
9 of the best Milan apartments you can rent



Share Tweet