Design News: Preview Milan Design Week 2019

Tell Me More installation by Rapt Studio, Ventura Centrale

Fuorisalone and Salone del Mobile 2019 are about to start! Let's discover the must-see events of this year

Milan's Design Week brings together thousands of designers, brands and creative studios from around the world in a design extravaganza. Held every April, the event takes place during the Salone del Mobile, which is the most important trade fair in the world for design addicts. As always, it's accompanied by multiple offshoots, exhibitions and associated events, collectively referred to as the Fuorisalone (literally, ‘outside the show’).

A key set of dates in the design calendar, Milan is set to welcome almost half a million visitors between the 9th and 14th April 2019, all eager to attend the biggest design and furniture show in the world. With an array of exciting installations and showrooms on offer, the Milan Design Week is an unmissable event for anyone in the design world.

Fattobene, a project dedicated to Italian material culture, 5VIE Design District

What is the Salone del Mobile?

The Salone del Mobile is the beating heart of Milan Design Week and the focus for many visitors and exhibitors. Founded in 1961, the furniture fair is held at the Fiera Milano exhibition and trade centre in the suburbs of Rho, a colossal venue covering nearly 230,000 square metres.

Divided into three style categories: Classic, Design and xLux; the show features exhibits from over 2,500 companies with everything from radio cabinets to rocking chairs. The Salone del Mobile also hosts several affiliate events, including the acclaimed Euroluce lighting show and SaloneSatellite, an exhibition platform for young, emerging interior and design professionals. For those with their finger on the design pulse, the Milanese furniture fair offers a crucial insight into the latest design trends.

Detail of a tiled table by Matrika

About Fuorisalone

Both separate from the Salone del Mobile yet closely intertwined, Fuorisalone encompasses a series of presentations and exhibitions that take place concurrently throughout Milan. Since the turn of the century, the advent of the ‘design districts’ (neighbourhoods endorsed by Milan City Council to host related events) has seen Fuorisalone grow into a major force on the interior design and architectural scene.

2019 marks the return of Ventura Projects, the curated design event organisation that constitutes a key component of the Fuorisalone. This year, they’ve paired up with BASE Milano a cultural centre located in the regenerated Ansaldo complex to host Ventura Future, an exhibition of revolutionary new designs with a focus on sustainability and unusual materials. The group’s highly successful Ventura Centrale also returns to Milan for a third year, offering visitors the chance to explore a series of exciting design installations in the atmospheric setting of the abandoned warehouses next to Milan Central Station.

Fuorisalone’s must-see events this year include the highly anticipated Lexus immersive light exhibition, Leading with light; Beatrice Bozanigo’s casa ojalá, a portable eco-home designed to adapt to any habitat on earth; and designer Gaetano Pesce’s imposing maestà soffrente installation in the Piazza del Duomo.

Leading with light by Lexus, Tortona Design District

What are the design districts for Milan’s 2019 design week?

Whilst Fuorisalone events are held all over the city, the majority are concentrated in key pockets known as the ‘design districts’. Aside from Ventura Centrale — technically also classed as a district — the most popular areas include Brera, Tortona, 5VIE and Lambrate.

One of the newest, and simultaneously oldest districts is 5VIE, located in the historical centre of Milan. The intersection of five streets (or cinque vie), this cultural hub hosts multiple special projects over Milan Design Week that aim to promote art, architecture and the Old Town’s territorial heritage.

Nearby, the bohemian Brera neighbourhood celebrates its 10th year as a design district with an extra day of events and festivities, beginning the 8th April. Its theme this year is ‘Design your Life’, a call to action that challenges designers to think about sustainability as a key element in their work.

A little further from the centre, the Tortona and Lambrate districts continue to push the boundaries of contemporary design. The former centres on the eponymous street, with the wacky, futuristic and pioneering exhibits spilling out into nearby warehouses and open spaces. The latter is located in a regenerated industrial zone and has a particular focus on eco-friendly design, with events such as Swiss Krono Group’s Be Sustainable project and the Trash2Treasure Lab’s upcycling workshops taking centre stage.

House in Motion, Brera Botanical Garden © Annavittoria Avesani

With something for everyone, Milan Design Week is the place to be for both design gurus hot on the heels of the latest trends and tourists looking for an interactive cultural experience.

Whether you’re seeking inspiration at the Salone del Mobile or taking to the streets of Milan to explore the Fuorisalone, this is absolutely a week to block off in your calendar.

Find a table to express your style in the collections by Matrika.

Handcrafted with local and high-quality materials in Milan, each table has its own unique style and personality.