Salone del Mobile: all you need to know about Milan Design Week
The products, the people, the places: here is your expert guide to Salone del Mobile, back from 7-12 June 2022
The dates for Salone del Mobile 2022 have been anounced, and the Milan fair will return to the Rho fairgrounds from 7-12 June 2022.
As we wait for the next edition of the Milan furniture fair, browse our guide to Salone del Mobile and Fuorisalone
Salone del Mobile at Rho Fiera
In 2022, the fair will celebrate its 60th anniversary with a rich programme focused on creativity and innovation and a special attention fo sustainability. Celebrating the fair’s 60th anniversary is an installation by Bologna architect Mario Cucinella, featuring a 1,400 sq m space set within Pavilion 15. Reflecting on the events of the past few years, the architect created a space centred on social connections and sharing. Based on Cucinella’s focus on circularity, the sinuous seating is made of recycled materials and is enriched by greenery. A landscape and meeting point within the fair, the installation is based on themes of ecological transition, the home as the prime urban element and the city as a mine.
A Salone del Mobile institution for 25 years, Salone Satellite is led by Marva Griffin Wiltshire and highlights the work od emerging designers and design graduates, who are given a space to show their designs within the fairgrounds. After a three-year hiatus, Salone Satellite once again welcomes designers to a new prominent location at the fair’s entrance. Exhibitors will follow the theme of ‘Designing for our Future Selves’ with a focus on inclusive design that fosters ‘autonomy, comfort, movement, usability, interaction and safety for all’. The exhibition will be designed as a welcoming piazza, enhancing the event’s role as a connector of talents and a springboard for emerging creatives, start-ups and design schools.
Navigating Salone del Mobile: practical info
Since 2005, Salone del Mobile has taken place in the Fuksas-designed Rho fairground, about 15km from Milan. Its 753,000 sq m make it the largest fairground in Europe, and its design is defined by the airy structure connecting the pavilions.
How to get to Salone del Mobile
We recommend reaching Salone del Mobile by public transport to avoid the traffic on arrival and departure. M1 (the red metro line) connects the Rho-Fieramilano station with several locations across the city (including Porta Venezia and Duomo). The journey takes about 25 minutes and you’re bound to meet other design enthusiasts on board for dynamic conversation.
Salone del Mobile tickets, access and opening hours
The fair is open to architects, press design buyers and other professionals. Visitors can register in advance through the Salone del Mobile for an e-ticket. On Friday 10 September, the fair will also be accessible by the general public, with tickets on sale through the Salone del Mobile website. Opening hours are Sunday to Thursday, 10AM to 7PM, Friday 10AM to 4PM.
Fuorisalone 2021: what to see in the city during Milan Design Week
Once you’ve had your full immersion into the furniture world of the fairgrounds, you’ll want to take a stroll through the city. Fuorisalone 2022 will showcase the latest contemporary design throughout the city’s central neighbourhoods. This is the most exciting time to be in Milan: historical palazzos open their eclectic interiors to the work of emerging design talent, showrooms showcase the latest launches and everywhere you turn, there is a promise of discovery (and exciting encounters).
Discover our favourite Fuorisalone spots to discover design in Milan
Possibly the most picturesque neighbourhood of Milan, Brera’s cobbled streets play host to an array of showrooms, galleries and exhibitions spaces.
Possibly the most picturesque neighbourhood of Milan, its cobbled streets include small galleries and some of the best showrooms in the city. Start on Via Solferino for furniture showrooms by the likes of Boffi and Salvatori, and the design gallery of Dimorestudio. Popular venues in the area include La Pelota on Via Palermo (formerly the backdrop to immersive displays by Vitra, Hermès and Hay) and Mediateca Santa Teresa on Moscova (which was the home of Wallpaper* Handmade between 2017-18). Also in the area is Spazio Orso (Via dell’Orso 16), where ECAL traditionally presents its students’ and graduates’ work.
Furniture showroom hopping: Via Durini, Corso Monforte and Corso Venezia
Fuorisalone is a great opportunity for a full immersion into the best Italian furniture showrooms (many of which are practically located in a small area within the city centre), and for the occasion these spaces become immersive displays of each brand’s latest launches.
Fuorisalone is a great opportunity for a full immersion into the best Italian furniture showrooms (many of which are practically located in a small area within the city centre). Head to via Durini to discover Cassina, B&B Italia, Porro, Technogym, Giorgetti, Gallotti & Radice and Natuzzi, then hop onto nearby Corso Monforte to discover Flos, Artemide, Danese, Nemo, De Padova and Living Divani.
Design Holding (the company behind brands such as B&B Italia, Azucena, Maxalto, Arclinea, Flos and Louis Poulsen) recently unveiled its latest showroom concept; named D Studio, it presents the brands’ collections through a multifunctional space designed by architect Massimiliano Locatelli (Via Durini 14).
Hop onto nearby Corso Monforte to discover Flos, Flexform, Artemide, Danese, Nemo and De Padova. Also on Corso Monforte is Living Divani’s Gallery, part showroom part exhibition space designed by Piero Lissoni, with spaces designed like terraces and mixing greenery and neon lighting.
Don’t miss Armani Casa (Corso Venezia 14) Visionnaire (Piazza Cavour 3), Poliform (Piazza Cavour 2), and Baxter (Largo Augusto 1), the latter presenting its refined collections through the immersive ‘Baxter Cinema’.
Once you’ve had your fix of Italian furniture, head to nearby Villa Necchi for a taste of old Milan, or venture into Triangolo della Moda (the city’s fashion district), where you’ll also find Molteni & C (Corso Europa). Poltrona Frau’s showroom in a frescoed building (Via Manzoni 30) forms the backdrop for the Italian company’s collections.
Zona Tortona: Tortona Rocks
Once the epicentre of Fuorisalone, Zona Tortona fell out of favour for a while, only to be resurrected in recent years by a few exciting exhibitions by the likes of Nendo, Sony and Moooi. The main avenues here are the intersecting Via Tortona and Via Stendhal, whose large, warehouse-like spaces are particularly suited for the large-scale installations typical of Fuorisalone.
5Vie is a historical district west of Duomo, home to spaces such as showrooms for BDDW (Via Santa Marta 19/A) and Apparatus (Via Santa Marta 14), and cultural hub Piazza Gorani, which includes Riviera (Via Gorani 8), a creative space led by Italian design brand La Palma.
Milan Design galleries to know
Milanese design galleries have helped establish the city’s design and cultural panorama, with a successful mix of old and new designs often placed in conversation within their spaces. The design galleries in Milan come alive during Fuorisalone with specially commissioned projects, objects and installations not to be missed.
Start with design destination Nilufar (Via della Spiga, 32), Nina Yashar’s gallery presenting the most exciting names in collectible design (from the classics, like Gio Ponti and BBPR to Martino Gamper and India Mahdavi). The gallery’s second outpost, Nilufar Depot, opened in 2015 in an industrial space just outside of the city’s centre (Via Lancetti 34) that used to hold Yashar’s archives and has now been transformed into an exciting exhibition space.
Rossana Orlandi’s gallery (Via Matteo Bandello, 14) is a life-sized cabinet of curiosities that will offer a sense of discovery to any design journey, with a mix of emerging talent and independent brands showcased across its spaces. Galleria Luisa Delle Piane (Via Giuseppe Giusti, 24) presents imaginative furniture and objects by the likes of Andrea Branzi, Maddalena Casadei and Franco Albini e Franca Helg.
Other spaces to look out for include the official outpost of Memphis Milano, Post Design Gallery (Largo Treves, 5) offers historical designs as well as future explorations, and Brera gallery Dilmos, whose space is located inside a Vico Magistretti-designed building (Via San Marco, 1).
Exhibition spaces in Milan: Alcova and Assab One
Curators Joseph Grima and Valentina Ciuffi launched group show Alcova in 2019. Every year, since the project has taken over a dilapidated building somewhere in Milan, and with very little intervention the pair staged an exhibition that takes people out of their comfort zone and into unexpected (Milanese) territories. The 2021 edition of Alcova is going to take place just west of Milan’s centre (via Simone Saint Bon), in a cluster of buildings immersed into an urban park including a nunnery (pictured above) and an industrial laundry. The raw spaces serving as backdrop to the exhibitions allow visitors to discover design with a novel approach, and the exhibitions feature an array of independent talent, not to be missed.
Elsewhere in the city, not for profit organisation Assab One was founded by Elena Quarestani as a ‘non-conventional environment for research and expression’. Every year, the industrial venue (which also hosts the newly opened Milanese outpost of Studio Formafantasma) becomes an exhibition space showcasing specially commissioned works by three creatives in different disciplines.
Milanese cultural institutions
The beauty of design in Milan is that it’s often combined with art, architecture and Milanese cultural institutions. Some of the most important cultural locations in the city are, more often than not, part of Fuorisalone’s programming. These include the Triennale (Viale Emilio Alemagna 6) with its recently inaugurated design museum.
Other key locations include the newly opened ADI Design Museum (Piazza Compasso d’Oro 1, a new space celebrating the history of the Compasso D’Oro design prize), Bagni Misteriosi (Via Carlo Botta 18, a rationalist swimming pool with an exhibition space and theatre nearby), and Porta Nuova (an example of urban transformation that combines contemporary architecture and green spaces).
Among the art venues (whose exhibition programme usually ties in with the design crowd descending on Milan) are Pirelli HangarBicocca (Via Chiese 2), and Fondazione Prada (Largo Isacco 2), with its ever-growing OMA-designed complex, while not far is Milan’s ICA (Via Orobia 26). §