15 Standouts From Milan Design Week
Everywhere I went during this year’s Milan Design Week, there seemed to be a palpable feeling that the Salone del Mobile design and furniture fair, now in its 61st year, is sputtering, or, at the very least, puttering. While it unquestionably remains the world’s most important annual design event, it was evident that the winds are increasingly blowing toward the Fuori Salone, or “Outside Salone,” presentations and events around the city—particularly the buzzy independent design fair Alcova, which this year took place at a former slaughterhouse, and spaces in and around the city’s Brera neighborhood, long a Milan Design Week stronghold. Going forward, I expect more design brands, eschewing the notion of a “booth” and pursuing more experiential (and, let’s hope, more sustainable) approaches to presenting their wares, to take over atypical environments such as the Bagni Misteriosi, a pool from the 1930s where the Danish design brand GUBI presented its latest collections this year, or the Bonacossa Tennis Club, where the Milan-based designer Cristina Celestino created a pop-up restaurant with the food collective We Are Ona. Many architects, designers, and journalists I spoke with skipped the Rho fairgrounds altogether this year, preferring to stick to the city’s happenings. They, too, noted the fair’s growing sense of irrelevance, if in hushed tones.