Every year I look forward to April for two things. The gorgeous spring weather and flowers and the Salone Internazionale Del Mobile (Furniture Design Fair) in Milan. Both of these bring a spring to my step and let me know that winter is indeed over.
I love momentarily escaping my small town life to visit the big city of Milan which is transformed into a mecca of all things beautiful for your house and more. My favorite part of design week is the famous Fuori Salone which is a side event located throughout the entire city for companies and designers to exhibit their products.
If you stroll around certain neighbourhoods (Brera, Tortona and Naviglio to name a few) you’ll find old factories converted into showrooms full of the world’s most innovative new designs. You’ll also stumble upon smaller, more intimiate design spaces which are located in old stone houses with vaulted ceiling or even car garages that are completely made over to exhibit anything from carpets to garden furniture.
The streets are packed full of people and there’s a really amazing atmosphere everywhere you go. If you pop by on the Friday or Saturday evening there are many VIP parties, impromptu music concerts in the streets and beautifully clothed people everywhere. We take our kids every year and they really love it. There is so much to see, sit on, play with and learn about.
We visited the Italian magazine Casa Facile‘s Relaxation Zone. They served us herbal teas with organic biscuits and rice crackers and then sent us on our way with free samples of all-natural beauty creams and shower gels. While there they told the kids to make themselves at home. As you can see, they did.
I fell in love with these bird feeders by Singapore label Hinika. And the fact they styled it with origami was just icing on the cake.
Some of the most stunning furniture that I came across at the Fuori Salone was from the Chinese company Pinwu Studio. Their pastel coloured porcelain topped beech wood tables and stools reminded me of those delicate French cookies called Calissons d’Aix. The “Lu tables” come in everything from small low stools to large round dining room tables. Pinwu Studios were the winners of the 2012 Design Report Award.
We also visited the Cascina Cuccagna which was showcasing some more alternative and environmentally friendly designers and methods of production. I loved hearing about “Fast Fashion” from Dutch designer Laura Lynn Jansen. We could see how this dress above was produced in an hour from start to finish using only two types of fabric (stretchy and non-stretchy), a large balloon and some special glue and absolutely no machinery. I love the fact that some designers are recognizing the importance of sustainability and recycling/reusing in the design world.
And of course we topped off our day by visiting one of our favourite museums in Milan La Triennale. We saw rooms full of some of the world’s most important designs from history and today.
Il Salone Internazionale di Mobile 2014 will be held from April 8th to the 13th. Definitely worth the trip.