More highlights from Milan Design Week

Beautiful Things

We’re still spinning from the excitement of this year’s Milan Design Week, which was, as always, a visually fabulous fete. This year, however, we noted a number of individuals and institutions use their platforms to take on some bigger ideas. Left and right, we saw the design world offer up reflections of the way we live today and visions of what our future world might look like (some playful, others more subdued)—and the latter often through fantastic, celestially inspired installations. Scroll on for a handful of our favorites.


Broken Nature, curated by Paola Antonelli, at La Triennale di Milano Photo © Gianluca Di Ioia for La Triennale di Milano
At the Triennale Milano, Paola Antonelli’s ambitious Broken Nature exhibition seemed to set the tone, focusing on design’s impact on the world around us. It was, at once, sobering and uplifting. Exploring humans’ relationship to the natural environment—in light of the serious damage we’ve done to the planet thus far—the exhibition considers restorative design through three-decades’ worth of objects and concepts that reconsider our relationship to our environment, “with the aim to unearth design’s potential to mediate societal and behavioral changes."


No_Code Shelter: Stories of Contemporary Life by Studio Andrea Caputo for Tod’s Photo © Tod's
Meanwhile, over at the Leonardo Da Vinci National Science and Technology Museum, Italian luxury brand Tod’s worked with Studio Andrea Caputo to create No_Code Shelter: Stories of Contemporary Life, a bold presentation featuring a series of video interviews with contemporary visionaries (an astronaut, a design studio, an entrepreneur, etc.) housed in life size, traditional architectural shelters such as a yurt and a pitched hut, among others. The short videos—each beautifully produced—explore contemporary life through conversations about the ways we live and work today against the backdrop of a rapidly changing world. In full, the exhibition considered the ways our societal codes or mores have evolved over time—in order to help us anticipate how we may navigate the world tomorrow. 


FAR Exhibition at Nilufar Depot Photo © Studio Pim Top for Nilufar
Across town at Nina Yashar’s always-inspiring Nilufar Depot, things got pretty playful with Far, a fantastic exhibition curated by Studio Vedèt with killer exhibition design by Space Caviar. Described as a “voyage into a galaxy of emergent designers,” the space-inspired setting (created as though a design “parasite” had just landed on Earth) was intended to spotlight a new generation of designers—including Alberto Vitelio, Odd Matter , Destroyers/Builders , Michael Schoner, Wendy Andreu, and others—setting the stage for design’s future while ”subliminally echoing the radical experiments of a previous era.”


Editorial Office Concept by Rafael de Cárdenas Architecture for Life in Vogue Photo © Delfino Sisto Legnani for Vogue
Once again, Vogue Italia opened its office to the public for Milan Design Week, this year showcasing reimagined editorial offices designed by a host of designers considering the shifting ways we work today, including David/Nicolas , Massimiliano Locatelli, and Rafael de Cárdenas. New Yorker De Cárdenas’s futuristic concept, pictured above, was inspired by the Ultima Thule, a trans-Neptunian "alien" fossil located in the Kuiper belt.


Maison IV presented by Sé at Spazio Rossana Orlandi Photo © Andrea Ferrari
Things got space-age sexy with California-born, Switzerland-based designer Ini Archibong’s latest collection for French brand Sé. This upstart is causing quite a stir in the design world, and it's easy to understand why. Totally lust-worthy.


Shape of Gravity by Nendo for Wonderglass Photo © Takumi Ota for Wonderglass
At Villa Mozart, Nendo did what Nendo does best: deceptively simple forms, stunningly executed. Our hearts melted for Melt, a collection of chairs, tables, and more all expertly achieved using—wait for it—gravity(!) to mold each of the forms. Oki Sato of Nendo knows how to put the expert craftspeople at Wonderglass to the test—and the results, which felt both timeless and futuristic, put an awed hush over a normally very chatty design week crowd.


New collection from Theoreme Editions, with designs by Garnier & Linker, Francesco Balzano, Joris Poggioli, Services Generaux, Emmanuelle Simon, and Studio Pool Photo © Theoreme Editions
Exciting new kid on the block alert! Brand new French editeur Theoreme Editions debuted with a deliciously chic collection designed by a talented cadre of young French designers. The fresh collection is, in varying moments, voluptuous, streamlined, playfully space-age-inspired, and elegantly au courant. In sum? C'est magnifique.


Tides by Kwangho Lee and Wang & Söderström for Noroo Photo © Noroo
Over at Ventura Centrale, Tides, a collaboration between Kwangho Lee and Wang & Söderström for Noroo, found inspiration in the interconnected cosmos of the “dance of gravity between the Moon, Earth, and Sun.” The otherworldly installation recreated the moment of low tide through changing light and color, reflective puddles, and beautiful design objects set against the backdrop of a tribute to the “powerful rhythms in nature.”


Hacker by Manuel Coltri & DWA Design Studio, curated by Paolo de Vivo Photo © DWA Design Studio
Finally, we adored Hacker, a project by Manuel Coltri and DWA Design Studio curated by Paolo De Vivo at Alcova. In light of the larger trend of environmental awareness and sustainable design we saw throughout the city this year, there were, fabulously, a number of standout projects composed of thoughtful, responsible materials. But we think this one—which gorgeously repurposes marble production waste—took the (sustainable) cake. 


Ciao for now! Until next year!


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