With Milan considered as one of fashion's four fabulous cities, it's no wonder the Italian capital has fallen home to countless luxury designers over the years with the 'Made in Italy' stamp of approval. Not only considered luxury pioneers in the fashion world, but a notorious design industry has thrived here, leading to Salone del Mobile which was first founded in 1961. Evolving well past its humble beginnings, the international trade fair has become a global benchmark for the furnishing and design sector over the decades. In short, think Venice Biennale, but it's furniture design, and in Milan.
The fair has promised technology will play a significant role this week, and refusing to miss out on the opportunity to showcase luxury, fashion has stepped up for 2023, proven by Prada exploring ecosystems with Prada Frames and Zegna teaming up Microsoft. However, just because the tech industry is amping up their side of the deal doesn't mean there's a lacking of traditional craftsmanship either, illustrated by the wonderfully hand-sculpted chairs of Loewe, Trussardi and Dior. Read on for your comprehensive guide in full.
For the first time in the brand's history, Giorgio Armani opens the doors of Palazzo Orsini - their historic headquarters - to present the new Armani Casa collection to the public. New proposals, including the brand's first outdoor collection as well as new editions of established classics, will be displayed amidst a dreamy backdrop illustrating sophisticated domestic charm. This is where true Armani style comes to life; from the hidden garden, accessed from the 17th-century porticoed courtyard, to the usually reserved for haute-couture frescoed rooms. The journey is one of elegance and originality, undeniably the pillars Armani Casa is built upon.
Armani Casa's Palazzo Orsini will remain open to the public until 23 April at Via Borgonuovo, 11, Milan.
If the capital of Italian fashion were ever to write their very own Oxford dictionary, it is without a doubt that luxury brand Bottega Veneta would find itself firmly placed next to the word 'craft'. After all, it's no secret the brand's colossal archive pointing to their rich heritage boasts the stuff of a fashion collector's dreams. So, what have the brand got up their sleeve for this Milan Design Week?
Bowing down in the name of craft, the Italian label headed up by Matthieu Blazy, has created two bag designs with world-renowned designer, Italian architect Gaetano Pesce. Responding to Pesce's sketches, the label's signature Intrecciato technique is utilised once more, immortalised in a one-week installation that will lead viewers down an intricate path made of paper and resin winding around the Montenapoleone store in Milan. 'There is a capacity to realise anything at Bottega Veneta, and this bag opens up a way to express future design. The design of the future has to be figurative, and it has to communicate – such an object has to tell a story,' told Pesce in a press release. The project itself is titled Vieni a Vedere, literally translating to Come and See. You'd be a fool if you didn't.
Visit the site-specific installation Vieni a Vedere until 22 April Via Montenapoleone 27/A. Book your visit here.
CHATEAU ORLANDO X LUKE EDWARD HALL
We all know the story of Narcissus, a man so in love with himself that he drowned while staring at his reflection in a lake. But where was this lake? What did it look like, and who else was there? Although artist Luke Edward Hall's Chateau Orlando's S/S 23 collection titled Narcissus at the Fountain may not have the exact answer, the brand is set to present an assortment of porcelain cushions, trays and a limited-edition poster made in collaboration with Ginori 1735; all inspired by the British painter Patrick Procktor's hazy watercolours and blossoming English gardens in spring. Hall himself will be hosting an event alongside BIFFI for Milan Design Week to mark the brand's official new homeware launch. If you're looking for British eclecticism amid a sea of Milanese luxury, Chateau Orlando is for you.
The collection will be available to visit at BIFFI BOUTIQUES on Corso Genova, Milan, during Salone del Mobile 2023.
DIOR BY PHILIPPE STARCK
Salone del Mobile 2023 will also see the Dior Maison and French industrial designer Philippe Starck continue their on-going collaboration, unveiling a collection of the Monsieur Dior Medallion chairs - a tribute to the emblematic couturier figure. An iconic symbol of savoir-faire, the armchairs make up the most comprehensive collection of furniture ever created for the house, marking an exclusive dialogue between Dior and the esteemed French creator. 'Miss Dior and Monsieur Dior, Catherine and Christian Dior, the sister and the brother, the chair and the armchair, is the story of a sublime complementary duality,' commented Starck to press. Want true luxury? Always start with Dior.
The Collection will be available to attend until 23 April at Palazzo Citterio, Via Brera 12, Milan. Book your visit here.
Reinventing Etro's tradition and heritage in the now, creative director Marco De Vincenzo has worked on the house's first collection of home interiors, infusing his modernly poetic aesthetic into a multidimensional approach, where furnishings, accessories, objects and fabrics coexist to create new worlds and ways of living. From the Woven Spectrum art installation - created in collaboration with the American artist Amy Lincoln - to their immersive set Diving into Patterns, offering an exploration of the maison's explosive geometric pattern history, Etro prove they have never just been about making clothes. The interiors will be represented through multiple installations located at Via Pontaccio, Via Montenapoleone and Via Spartaco, leading the brand to find themselves at the intersection of Italian culture once again.
Etro's installations will be available in three different locations until 23 April: Via Pontaccio, Via Montenapoleone and Via Spartaco, Milan.
Although FERRAGAMO might not be directly participating in the annual fair this year, they're always one to take advantage of an opportunity to create in the name of luxury. And so, in honour of Salone del Mobile, the brand's Via Montenapoleone-located Milan boutiques will feature strikingly-curated window displays until the end of the month. Saluting truly unique design forms while recalling the foundations the house is built upon - design and balance - the curated display sees key S/S 23 pieces interact with architectural elements as straight lines form by bright red taut elastic ropes - all swirling around the collection.
FERRAGAMO's window displays in honour of Salone del Mobile will be on show until 5 May at the brand's Via Montenapoleone boutiques in Milan.
MAISON MATISSE - ESQUISSES COLLECTION BY FAYE TOOGOOD
Although the brand Maison Matisse have no direct correlation with the late great print master of the 20th century by whom they take their name, you'd be correct in guessing that the Maison exists as a sort of ode to Henri Matisse himself. This year they've released their latest collection, The Esquisses, in partnership with British artist Faye Toogood- designed to embrace all contradictions, appearing as both strong and soft, hard and light. Comprised of living room and bedroom furniture, Toogood's collection includes an assortment of coffee tables, side tables, armchairs, rugs and a blanket, all of which is a direct design response to Matisse's own book Dessins: Thèmes et Variations.
The Esquisses by Faye Toogood takes place until 23 April at Studio Nerino, Via Santa Marta 21, 20123 Milan.
A-POC ABLE BY ISSEY MIYAKE
The Issey Miyake brand's latest collaborative venture sees their diffusion line A-POC (A Piece of Cloth) pair up with University of Tokyo's spin-off company Nature Architects, looking at design's role in structure, materiality, and production through means of creations. By integrating Nature Architects’ latest design solutions with A-POC ABLE ISSEY MIYAKE’s design and manufacturing system, the potentials of new fabrics and possible innovations are creatively explored - nodding to the brand's late eponymous founder's own legacy and dedication towards inventing new fabrics, exclusive to the house. A series of prototypes following the trials of these techniques will be housed in an installation in Milan as part of Salon del Mobile, delivering the promise of the brand's future-facing outlook.
Also marking their return to Salone del Mobile this year is Loewe, who will be exhibiting a colourfully eclectic collection of old-fashioned 'Stick Chairs' under Jonathan Anderson's creative direction. However, do not be fooled; there is nothing 'old' and ragged about these specialist Loewe masterpieces, as artisans have reimagined each through the act of weaving and embellishment. The 30 stick chairs, accompanied by eight paper loom chairs (both antique and newly crafted), illustrate the functional and decorative value chairs serve, accentuating their significance in delivering function to the every day. If you are to take away anything from Salone del Mobile, Loewe is telling you 'the brighter, the better', making it clear that accessorising your wardrobe isn't the only way to add a pop of colour to your life.
Exhibition open until 23 April at Palazzo Isimbardi, Corso Monforte 35, Milan.
ZEGNA X MICROSOFT
Presenting a new digital ecosystem, Italian luxury house Zegna have teamed up with software company Microsoft to create ZEGNA X, exploring the future and potentials of AI within physical design. With Zegna having previously created multi-sensory immersive installations for the fair, ZEGNA X takes shape as a customisation tool, with the aim to rewrite the future of luxury service where consumers can custom fit and alter clothes in store. For Salone del Mobile 2023, the latest evolution of ZEGNA X bridges the gap between physical stores and digital channels, blurring the lines of the two realms forevermore.
Chairs are having a moment at Salone del Mobile, with Trussardi too joining in on the fashion front. Presenting Design Wears Fashion - a special project that creates a juxtaposition and interaction between two separate yet connected fields - four special editions of the Trussardi Nebula armchairs have been reinterpreted through a combined lens of fashion and design. To celebrate, there will be a special installation at the recently-refurbished Palazzo Trussardi, located in the city centre next to La Scala opera house.
The installation will be open to the public until 23 April at Palazzo Trussardi, Piazza della Scala 5, Milan.