Milanese Interiors: the hidden gems of Milan Design Week
The Salone del Mobile, the world’s leading design fair, was founded in 1961. An agreement signed between the organisations that run it ensures it will last at least until 2032. But the Milan Design Week is not just a fair, it is something that also involves the city. The FuoriSalone has increasingly gained ground in recent years. Thousands of official or side events enliven every corner of Milan, from the center to the outer city, often giving access to unknown venues: breathtaking treasures, interiors usually closed to the public or little known to visitors arriving from around the world. In the 2019 edition, this trend has become transversal. Traditional venues have experimented temporarily with alternative identities, historic buildings have supplied the perfect settings for presenting innovative projects, and the ideal venues have multiplied, created especially to evoke the magnificent interiors of Milan. From apartments designed in the last century by great architects such as Gio Ponti, Gae Aulenti and Luigi Caccia Dominioni down to the most recent projects that have seen the emergence of names such as Dimore Studio and Quincoces-Drago.
“Being Milanese by adoption and enamored of this city, we have selected the projects and installations that played most effectively with the concept of interiors at the latest edition of the Salone del Mobile.”
Francesco Mainardi, co-founder of Mr. Lawrence
1. SALVATORI’S HOME
Gabriele Salvatori (CEO of the Italian design company Salvatori, natural stone specialists) opened his typical Milanese apartment where new furnishings from Salvatori’s 2019 collections are displayed, including pieces by Elisa Ossino and accessories by John Pawson and Piero Lissoni. The furniture, in bold geometric forms, is carefully selected to form a perfect contrast with the wall, aiming to show Salvatori sensitivity to natural materials, such as the use of different marbles: Pietra d’Avola and Gris du Marais alternate with Bianco Carrara and Rosa Portogallo, and the contrast between the metal and the tiles in natural stone. All the rooms, which still maintain classical features, like the fireplace and the Terrazzo floors, have acquired a new vivid and vibrant tone, made possible thanks to the strong contrast between colors and materials.
2. LES ARCANISTES by STUDIOPEPE: The Future is Un/Written.
The Creative Directors of Studiopepe presented a manifesto project dedicated to the arts of divination, alchemy and archetypal symbols. Les Arcanistes were the first ancient chemists who held the knowledge for the production of glass and metals. The exhibition, inside a former gold manufactory, is presented as a charming path made of design, bespoke and reissues of historical pieces, such as chaises longues in stone, big leather couches and velvet poufs, all in pastel and light colors. Seven installation rooms in all, representing different allegories of alchemical practices such as The Source, The Library of Matter and The Alchemical Laboratory.
3. Casa Degli Atellani: DIMORE STUDIO for DIOR MAISON
Dior revealed its collaboration with Dimore Studio: their first exclusive collection presented at Casa Degli Atellani consists of vases, trays, seat markers and more, all made with combinations of different materials such as Plexiglas and natural rattan, the symbol of Dior Maison. All the objects are meant to evoke Surrealist and Cubist creations: for instance, Ceci n’est pas un Vase is the name of the umbrella stand in rattan and goldwork, and the Cubisme series comprising lighter, ashtray and vases in Plexiglas. The exhibition was set up to create optical illusions through the use of black backdrops with drawings made in chalk.
4. CAFFÈ CONCERTO CUCCHI: Special Project by Cristina Celestino
Cristina Celestino paid homage to a symbolic Milanese location, Pasticceria Cucchi inspired by the theme of the “Caffè Concerto”. The café is conceived as an urban oasis whose aesthetic recalls the world of fine pastry and the historic cafés chantant. Through a creative intervention in the use of different textures and color tones, the project touches on all aspects of pastry. For instance, the “Canditi” tables in multi-coloured marble, the “Oasi” silk wallcovering, the red velvet chairs, the carpeting inlaid with oversized pears, together with the new uniforms of the staff, the packaging and lastly the presence of an impressive tropical palm tree which stands in the heart of the pastry shop.
5. CAFFÈ POPULAIRE AT ALCOVA
Presented by Lambert & Fils and DWA Design Studio, Caffè Populaire has transformed the industrial backdrop of Milan’s Alcova building – a former panettone factory – into a dynamic pop-up café, inviting people to share food and ideas. Aiming to celebrate the ”anti-digital” and the “raw but refined materials”, the U-shaped table is its central feature, made by mixing marble and granite dust with colored pigments, surrounded by a set of pea-green stools. For this occasion, Lambert & Fils showcased two new lighting glass collections: Sainte and Hutchison. Other collaborative partners and elements included bronzes vases by Toronto-based Mercury Bureau, Antoine architectural finishes, and Revol porcelain from France.
6. SIX GALLERY + The Sister Hotel
Six Gallery, an original and steadily evolving hub, located in an intimate Milanese courtyard, presented Six Project II, the latest collection designed by Quincoces-Dragò, the gallery owners, presented as a continuation of last year’s collection. The furniture follows a precise contemporary and essential aesthetic through the use of metals and cold materials such as steel, brass, and ribbed glass. The objects are enhanced by the gallery setup, which pays homage to Asia by reproducing the most emblematic features of traditional Japanese interior style through the combination of dark and glossy woods, dense textile patterns, bamboo and straw patterns, and rice paper lamps. During the latest Milanese Design Week, Six Gallery also presented the first two rooms of its brand new project: The Sister Hotel, a 9-room boutique hotel located in the same striking corner of the city.
7. MINGARDO PRESENTS DIORAMA
In the heart of Brera district, the installation Diorama by Miningardo exhibited the most contemporary and minimalist design pieces combined with the excellence of craftsmanship in metal, for instance in the use of steel and brass. The display aimed to create a new environment developed through different rooms: the Welcome, the Foyer, the Living Space and the Boudoir, all characterized by elements differing in geometries and colours; such as the Bendy shelf designed by Studiopepe; the Innocent modular system by Gio Tirotto made out of industrial tubes combined with the refinement of oak processing techniques; the Shirudo tables by Elisa Honkanen, the Elephant console and the Rondò mirror designed by Bernhardt & Vella.
8. THEOREME EDITIONS at SIAM
Theoreme Editions is a French “Maison d’Edition” founded and curated by David Giroire and Jerome Bazzocchi, launched during Milan Design Week 2019 at SIAM, the Society for the Encouragement of the Industrial Arts founded in Milan in 1838 and currently based in Francesco Pestagalli’s magnificent building, the result of the unification of various historical pre-existing structures through a new construction. Theoreme Editions’ first exhibition was a unique selection of objects and furniture, made by emerging contemporary French designers such as Emmanuelle Simon, Francesco Balzano, Garnier & Linker, Joris Poggioli, Pool and Services Généraux. All the sculptural works, which explore the possibilities of shapes, materials, and colors, resulting in simple forms and pure lines combined with a strong narrative and poetic dimension.
9. MIU MIU M/MATCHING COLORSTOOL BY M/M
The brand new MIU MIU M/MATCHING COLORSTOOL was exhibited at the Gerolamo Theatre. Built in 1868 as a miniature modeled on La Scala Opera House for the purpose of staging puppet shows in Milanese dialect, it was recently reopened after lying derelict for more than 50 years. The playful and choreographic installation was focused on the theatrical aspect of the domestic stool. The series is composed, in a limited edition, of three-legged seats made of natural wood and all customizable thanks to a series of perforations in which you can insert little match-like sticks, available in 12 different colors.
10. TEMPORARY STORE by GUCCI DÉCOR
Gucci inaugurated a temporary shop for the brand-new Gucci Décor collection, a series of furniture and decorative objects designed by Alessandro Michele, promoting Italian craftsmanship, so bringing the “Guccification” manifesto also to the home. All the pieces aim to restate the romantic and eclectic aesthetic of the Maison, fine porcelains, velvet cushions, fringed blankets, shell couches, and all around decoration motives and symbols that seek to celebrate the flora and fauna world.