Milan Design Week: 10 installations not to miss

From a tribute to a hidden Modernist marvel to a cinema in a tram

Every April, the creative world flocks to Milan Design Week to see the best new furniture and living concepts from the globe’s most talented designers. The annual event (aka the Salone del Mobile) also gives the city an excuse to throw open the doors of some of its hidden treasures, letting visitors peer into private palazzos and tour the little-see homes of design pioneers.

We’ve put together 10 installations not to miss at Milan Design Week 2018, ranging from a 1920s streetcar-turned-cinema to the city’s first 3D-printed cement home.

Life in Vogue

Faye Toogood's Milan Design Week installation for Vogue
Photography: Andrea Delfino

Vogue Italia has tasked eight designers with reinventing its Milan HQ for the Salone del Mobile, creating spaces where design and fashion interact. Among them are Mario Bellini, Faye Toogood, Patricia Urquiola and Muller Van Severen. Faye Toogood is tackling the news room, blurring the lines between home and work, and covering walls in hand-painted canvases inspired by Vogue covers. The office will be open to the public during Milan Design Week (from 12pm to 8pm each day), giving a rare chance to peek at the inner workings of the fashion world.
17-20 April; Piazzale Cadorna 5. Book appointments via Vogue Italia


Alcova exhibition at Milan Design Week
Courtesy of Alcova

A former panettone factory reopens its doors for the first time as a design space, featuring experimental pieces by 20 studios and galleries exploring contemporary living, design culture and new technologies. Amid the complex’s crumbling surrounds – partly overrun by plants – you’ll find objects like Stuperstudio’s hot pink Onos bed. The exhibition is put together by Space Caviar and Studio Vedèt.
17-22 April; 11-13 Via Popoli;

Villa Borsani: Casa Libera!

Villa Borsani
Photography: Altopiano Studio

The home of architect and designer Osvaldo Borsani will open its doors to the public. They can enjoy a rare tour of the Modernist Milanese villa – built between 1939 and 1945 – and its extensive archival collection of drawings, letters and photographs. In celebration of a forthcoming retrospective of his work at Triennale di Milano in May, curator Ambra Medda has also invited New Zealand creatives to design new pieces to enliven the home, which has been unoccupied for a decade.
16-20 April; Via Umberto I, 115, 20814 Varedo MB; book tickets

The Diner

David Rockwell's The Diner

Architect David Rockwell and studio 2×4 are reimagining the traditional US diner at Ventura Centrale, with the help of US and international design brands. The restaurant – housed in the empty warehouses beneath Milan Central Station – will be open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails, and includes four separate zones: Roadside Diner, East Coast Luncheonette, Midwest Diner and West Coast Diner. During the day it will host talks and events, while in the evenings, it will moonlight as a nightclub, hosting parties and performances.
17-22 April; Ventura Centrale, Via Ferrante Aporti 9;

3D Housing 05

A sketch of CLS Architetti's 3D printed house
Sketch, courtesy of CLS Architetti

Milan gets its first 3D-printed concrete house courtesy of CLS Architetti’s Massimiliano Locatelli – who plans to build a 100 sqm prototype in the Piazza Cesare Beccaria during the festival. This cement house of the future is designed to ‘integrate new, more organic shapes in the surrounding landscapes or urban architecture’.
Piazza Cesare Beccaria milano;

Disco Gufram

Disco Gufram
Discotheque-inspired furniture by Gufram

For Milan Design Week-goers who have had their fill of minimalism, Italian brand Gufram – famous for its cactus coat racks and lip-shaped sofas – is showing a new disco-inspired collection in a library-turned-nightclub. Expect carpets in kaleidoscopic patterns and furniture topped with melting disco balls.
17-21 April; Mediateca Santa Teresa, Via della Moscova, 28;


Rubelli's tram installation at Milan design week
A rendering of the tram

Step back in time for this traveling installation by Cristina Celestino, who has converted one of the city’s historic trams into a 1920s-style salon and cinema on rails during Milan Design Week. This is a chance to enjoy a whistlestop tour of Milan’s Brera district, while luxuriating in interiors decked out in Rubelli textiles.
17-22 April;

MINI Living – Built By All

MINI LIVING x Studio Mama Built by All
Courtesy of MINI Living

London’s Studiomama has designed a ‘self contained micro-neighbourhood’ for Milan Design Week, featuring four future-living concepts as part of MINI’s ongoing explorations into the spaces we inhabit. The installation – which follows a 13 sqm residence Studiomama designed in London – explores the possibilities of integrating communal experiences into our lives, as well as ways in which architects and designers can work more closely with the public.
17-22 April; Via Tortona 32

Open Sky

Philip K Smith III installation at Salone del Mobile 2018
Philip K Smith III installation at Salone del Mobile 2018

A 16th-century palazzo serves as the backdrop to Phillip K Smith III’s reflective installation for COS, which uses mirrors to ‘pull the sky to the ground’. Sure to be a serene moment away from the busy design week crowds, this is also a chance to get up close with some of the city’s historic architecture. Smaller versions of the main piece are also dotted about the palazzo’s gardens, for those that want to wander.
17-22 April; Palazzo Isimbardi, Corso Monforte, 35

Dimore Gallery

Courtesy of Dimore Studio

Dimore’s apartment gallery, which is overhauled for Salone every year, is a firm favourite during the Milan Design Week. This year, there’s an excuse to linger a little longer on Via Solferino to enjoy the six shopfronts the studio is also taking over – filled with brass, lacquered and polished steel pieces designed by Dimore.
17-22 April; Via Solferino 11

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