Interior Design Excursion: Milan, 7th – 12th April
This past week, ID staff accompanied a group of first and second year Interior Design students to Milan’s eagerly awaited Design Week 2014. Arguably the most important event in the design calendar, every Easter Milan plays host to the world’s largest exhibition of domestic and commercial furnishings. Events, product launches, pop-ups and parties are spread across the city, allowing visitors a glimpse of the ‘hidden Milan’ that is so rarely seen during the rest of the year – doors are opened, courtyards revealed, prosecco corks are popped, and the entire city is transformed into an immersive and extravagant showroom.
In addition to this central offering, the Salone del Mobile (held in the vast 340,000+ square metres of the Fiera Milano on the outskirts of the city) is a more structured trade show with 1737 exhibitors (plus the 650 designers of the Salone Satellite) attracting over 300,000 visitors. The Salone really demonstrates how significant and powerful the interiors industry is – there were no signs of the global recession on view here.
Though impossible to see it all, both staff and students explored exhibitions in the city and Salone with gusto, seeking inspiration, watching for trends and making (or catching up with) industry contacts. A new ‘playfulness’ in design was witnessed – the use of colour/pattern and a re-found eccentricity – perhaps a return to the punk/postmodern values of the Memphis movement? The juxtaposition of digital/analogue, modern/classical, man-made/natural and geometrical/organic was seen in products, interiors and stands across Milan.
As well as the overwhelming array of design encountered, the colours, sounds, tastes and smells of Italy will linger long in the collective memory of the group – an exhausting, but resoundingly successful International experience.