Scenes from Milan Design Week 2023: Touring the Top Offsite Events
The street posters that accompanied the 2023 edition of Milan Design Week recognized the city’s many memorable contributions to design history, spotlighting enduring inventions like the M1 metro station handrails (designed by Franco Albini and Franca Helg) and the Negroni sbagliato (designed by Mirko Stocchetto).
These visuals (by photographer Eric Scaggiante) followed visitors around the city as they made their way from Brera (which hosted SolidNature‘s subterranean ode to natural stone) to Bagni Misteriosi, a public swimming pool that was taken over by Gubi to showcase its recently launched outdoor line.
Along the way, the posters served as a reminder about the true role of design: not to deliver a quick dopamine rush, but to achieve meaningful longevity. Sure enough, we expect at least a few of the designs introduced at Milan Design Week 2023 will go down in the history books.
With that in mind, we captured plenty of photos for posterity. Click through for our recap of standout installations, product launches and personalities from Milano: Home of Design.
SolidNature arranged giant slabs of natural stone in an underground exhibition dubbed “Beyond the Surface.” The evocative OMA-designed dreamscape went on to win this year’s Fuorisalone Award.
Cassina’s showroom sold us on the pairing of soft blue (represented by the Hayama bar cabinet by Patricia Urquiola) and bright orange (reflected in Tamburound, a new armchair by Barber Osgerby). Also shown here is the Doge Laguna table by Carlo Scarpa.
Cassina also introduced a host of new lights, including Tobia Scarpa’s Elite system, offered as a pendant, table lamp and floor lamp.
Ligne Roset’s Camma table by Marie C Dorner is named after a woman from Greek mythology. Its three monolithic Carrara marble legs speak to female strength.
WonderGlass presented a stunning array of designs at its Abrakadabra exhibition in the Istituto dei Ciechi. These tapestry-like curtains by Elisa Ossino, called Venetia, set the scene.
Elena Salmistraro showed off her Taliso table, one of many designs she was debuting for a bevy of brands.
Salvatori’s Passepartout collection of wall coverings combines background tiles with contrasting pieces of stone created from material offcuts.
Poltrona Frau set the scene for its new collection — including Roberto Lazzeroni’s Duo armchair, shown here — with spectacular Renaissance murals.
Bocci unveiled its own apartment that showcases the lighting manufacturer’s designs in a residential setting.
Bocci cofounder Omer Arbel suggested we start printing Azure on special paper that only reveals its ink when you heat it in the oven. Hmm!
Designed by Nika Zupanc, Moooi’s Knitty lounge chair was presented in a spa-like setting — complete with robes from the brand’s Bath collection.
Moooi also collaborated with EveryHuman — an “AI scent design platform” — to allow visitors to create their own personalized room fragrances that were mixed onsite based on responses to an online questionnaire.
Moooi’s Pallana light designed by IDEO allows each individual light ring to be directed up or down.
Andreu World debuted a new showroom designed by Patricia Urquiola, who also created the luxurious, retro-effect Bao lounge.
Marset’s new introductions included The W, a system of black rods designed by PerezOchando that can be folded tightly together or unfolded to a diameter of two metres. (Also: note this appearance of curtains! More to come on that front.)
Marset also introduced Fragile by Jaume Ramírez, a glass take on the traditional table lamp form. We love both the look and the name!
Dedon’s new Mystique Fiber wraps two colours together to create a surface that changes appearance based on your viewing angle — to mesmerizing effect!
Herman Miller delved into its archives, celebrating the brand’s 100th anniversary with a collection of advertisements and other graphic designs.
La Manufacture took over Casa Manzoni, the former residence of writer Alessandro Manzoni. Here, a pair of the brand’s Spring chairs sit at Sebastian Herkner’s new Gem dining table in a neon-lit library.
BD Barcelona also looked back. At Palazzo Belgioioso, the brand (now known as just BD) celebrated its past 50 years with an industrial aluminum structure that supported a series of archival designs.
Alessi nodded to Dutch still life paintings with a vignette that presented Virgil Abloh’s tableware designs as part of an elaborate feast — complete with a single faux fly.
Gubi’s display at Bagni Misteriosi was a celebration of al fresco dining. Here, partygoers rest their drinks on the brand’s new Carmel table collection while its Satellite outdoor floor lamps light the scene.
Indoors, meanwhile, Gubi also got on board with the curtain trend.
But the best use of curtains came at Luca Nichetto’s collaboration with Steinway, which framed intimate vignettes in elaborate drapery.
Paola Lenti unveiled the brand’s new Milan home, which currently functions as a showroom but will soon evolve to also include a restaurant and hotel.
Meanwhile, new introductions included the fabulously fun Zebru pouf, upholstered with leftover fabrics from other collections.
Desacralized, a group show curated by Galeria Philia in a deconsecrated church, brought together the secular and the sacred. Front and centre was the Cascades of Light
Elsa Foulon’s Coquillages lamps were also among the many other delights presented in white finishes that contrasted beautifully with the interior’s frescoes.
At Nilufar Depot, Objects of Common Interest staged “Poikilos” — an exhibition exploring iridescence.
Pieces ranging from dining tables to side tables all featured a spectacular glossy finish.
Object of Common Interest also anchored Alcova with Echoes, its inflatable fountain sculpture seen here behind Habitarematerials, a presentation of various Finnish material brands.
The venue for this year’s edition of Alcova was Ex Macello, a former slaughterhouse complex in Milan’s Calvairate district.
Stantec, which worked with Snøhetta on a design concept for redeveloping Alcova’s Ex Macello venue, presented an inventory of the building’s various components.
Also at Alcova, yellow curtains lifted and lowered to reveal a variety of vignettes featuring furniture by Dutch brand Leolux.
Laura Niubó vibrant rug design was amplified by an installation by Studio Nueve.
Alcova also showcased the work of Basket Club, a community of designers dedicated to exploring different weaving techniques.
Lashup Design Concept Studio’s metallic armchair was a groovy place of respite.
Alcova introduced us to Studio davidpompa, a lighting brand based in Mexico City.
DWA Design Studio worked with Les Eaux Primordiales to create timber towers that showcased the fragrance maker’s new scent — and broke it down into its individual ingredients.
Hanging above Alcova’s bar, A-N-D’s new Vector pendants (shown in a weathered steel finish) were a perfect complement to the industrial setting.
Rossana Orlandi Gallery’s exhibition of works by design duo Draga Aurel felt like a stroll through a prism.
Downstairs, Halo and Mandalaki Studio demonstrated the sunset-like glows produced by their lights.
Wooden fan sculptures by Atelier Oï filled the ceiling in one particularly stunning room at Rossana Orlandi Gallery.
Atelier Oï also collaborated with WonderGlass to create solid glass vessels that sprang to life as a series of glowing tubes were gradually dipped into each one.
High-fashion labels making their way into furniture might learn a thing or two from Louis Vuitton, which has collaborated with numerous design-world icons for years now. As part of its Objets Nomades showing in Milan this time around, the brand devoted an entire installation to Marc Newson.
Along with designing the slick (literally, as it was raining when we arrived) pavilion, Newson also reimagined Vuitton’s legendary suitcases.
On the other side of the palazzo, Marc Fornes created this blobby pavilion, to the delight of selfie-lovers everywhere.
Inside the palazzo, luxurious collections by a variety of stalwarts filled the ornate rooms. Shown: Raw Edges’ Binda collection.
At the Triennale, one of the big exhibitions was dedicated to Czech ceramics and glasswork. Here, a mound of porcelain shards forms the stage for a focus on today’s talents.
When Structure Takes Shape, another Triennale exhibition, exalted the genius of Italian architect-designer Angelo Mangiarotti.
Also at the Triennale, Mother of Pearl formed a sweet homage to the precious inlay material. This scarlet stunner is by Marco Zanuso Jr.
Another burst of colour was at Roche Bobois’s flagship showroom. The artist Joana Vasconcelos created an exuberant, serpentine textile installation that wound through the entire space.
She also designed a series of pillows to complement the brand’s iconic Mah Jong sofa, as shown in this photo shot from above.
Vasconcelos was also on hand to greet her many admirers.