Ten must-see exhibitions of the Fuorisalone at Milan Design Week 2022

From the historical palaces of Brera to the industrial buildings of the suburbs, Milan Design Week 2022 is set to make the whole city shine like never before.

by Salvatore PelusoPublished on : May 30, 2022

Milan Design Week is back, and in great style. Following a one-year break in 2020 and a scaled-down edition, Supersalone, in September 2021, it seems like Salone del Mobile.Milano and Fuorisalone will be returning to their pre-pandemic status this time around. One can tell so by the number of exhibitors who will be present at Rho Fiera (more than 2000, which is quite close to the 2400 of the record-breaking year of 2019), along with data from the hotel sector, according to which multiple establishments are expected to be sold out.

Advice for those preparing to visit Milan is to bring the most comfortable pair of sneakers, light clothes (the heat is expected to be intense), and run a little research in advance on the bike-car-scooter sharing apps available in the city.

But let’s focus on the exhibits. The real issue in recent pre-COVID years has been an excess of offering and a decrease in quality. Interesting and avant-garde proposals are always there – and there are many – but they are often difficult to find due to excessive confusion. So, preparing an itinerary in advance is essential.

In this article, STIR presents a transversal selection of 10 must-see exhibitions, cutting-edge research, immersive installations, hidden places, young designers and old masters, projects and performative actions. The criteria uniting the chosen projects, which are deliberately heterogeneous, is that of quality and originality.

Dear Joe Colombo, you taught us about the future

Archizoom Associati, Superonda, Poltronova | Fuorisalone | Salone Del Mobile.Milano 2022 | STIRworld
Archizoom Associati, Superonda, Poltronova Image: © Dario Bartolini, Villa Strozzi, 1967, courtesy of Centro Studi Poltronova Archive

The exhibition Dear Joe Colombo, you taught us about the future tells the story and ideas of a visionary architect and designer who was able to foresee and anticipate future goals in design, technology, and contemporary society. "Joe Colombo taught us how important it is to know change, look forward with optimism, transform continuously. For us, but also for the furnishings and objects that accompany us every day," says Ignazia Favata, curator of the exhibition and historical assistant to the maestro. GAM – Galleria d'Arte Moderna Milano is not an institution that frequently focuses on design, but this is undoubtedly the most interesting retrospective exhibition to visit during the Design Week.

Dear Joe Colombo, you taught us about the future
GAM – Galleria d’Arte Moderna Milano
via Palestro 16, Milan
May 24 – September 4, 2022

You don’t want space, you want to fill it

“You don’t want space, you want to fill it”, exhibition at Marsèll Paradise | Fuorisalone | Salone Del Mobile.Milano 2022 | STIRworld
“You don’t want space, you want to fill it”, exhibition at Marsèll Paradise Image: Courtesy of Marsèll Paradise

Marsèll is an Italian brand that is appreciated worldwide for its avant-garde handcrafted shoe and bag collections. In Milan, the company also uses its spaces as a cultural platform. It offers attractive exhibitions and projects during the Design Week, such as the recent ones by Spanish artist Raquel Quevedo and design studio Soft Baroque. From June 6 to 12, Marsèll presents the exhibition You don’t want space, you want to fill it, curated by Matylda Krzykowski. The exhibition features a number of contemporary and transdisciplinary practitioners who move between the visual and performative, the natural and the artificial, the human and the animal, the tactile and the sonic.

The Berlin-based designer, writer and curator said: "What I want to propose are sticky, leeky spaces where informal human interaction and activities lead to a sense of contentment."

You don’t want space, you want to fill it
Marsèll Paradise
via Privata Rezia 2, Milan
June 6–12, 2022

Salon du Mobile

Alexandre Humbert and Lucas Maassen, The Living Room, 2019 | Fuorisalone | Salone Del Mobile.Milano 2022 | STIRworld
Alexandre Humbert and Lucas Maassen, The Living Room, 2019 Image: Courtesy of Fuorisalone

We remain in the south-east area of Milan – the one with new cultural institutions such as Fondazione Prada and ICA Milan – and find DOPO?, a cultural centre run by a collective of Milanese architects and designers, who will present a varied programme of exhibitions, installations, performances, workshops and parties. Designer Lucas Maassen and director Alexandre Humbert bring to DOPO? spaces a radical experiment in which objects are absent and the protagonists are the designers with their bodies, ideas, and gestures. Humbert and Maassen took a series of photographs of design professionals while simulating furniture and everyday objects with their bodies. In Salon du Mobile, 108 images of architects, designers and curators involved in their research will be exhibited. However, the focus of the exhibition will be on the process of engaging the international design community, who will literally be able to put themselves on display and become a design object for five minutes.

Salon du Mobile
DOPO? space
via Carlo Boncompagni 51-10, Milano
June 6–12, 2022

Why Now?

“Why Now?”, exhibition at Spotti | Fuorisalone | Salone Del Mobile.Milano 2022 | STIRworld
“Why Now?”, exhibition at Spotti Image: © Michele Foti

Let's return to the city centre, a few steps from Porta Venezia, to visit one of Milan’s best-known design showrooms, Spotti, which will propose the Why Now? project for MDW. This is a selection of limited edition furnishings curated by the Mr.Lawrence studio, which create a close and balanced dialogue with the products of the Tacchini brand – partner of the installation project. The initiative will try to take stock of different aspects of contemporary design, creating a connection between collectible and industrial design. According to Mr Lawrence: “Product design – furniture – has become a multi-channel field, and the challenge is to redesign the market, trying to investigate together with those who buy and create design the new rules of the game.”

Why Now?
Spotti store
viale Piave 27, Milan
June 6–12, 2022


Etienne Marc, FAR22, exhibition at Nilufar Depot | Fuorisalone | Salone Del Mobile.Milano 2022 | STIRworld
Etienne Marc, FAR22, exhibition at Nilufar Depot Image: Courtesy of Nilufar Depot

Experimentation with new ideas that blur the boundaries between craft and design is one of the core interests of gallerist Nina Yashar, owner of the famous Nilufar Gallery. Curator Valentina Ciuffi has invited three practices that interpret this trend to exhibit at Nilufar Depot: the Dutch duo Odd Matter decontextualises the application of medical materials and creates sculptures in fibreglass and crystalline plaster; Etienne Marc renews the traditional Venetian grotto, wrought iron and gilding and experiments with unusual material combinations; Carlo Lorenzetti uses the Colombina technique to test new ceramic materials. A visit to the Nina Yashar store is always recommended. In addition to contemporary design, there is a lot of vintage furniture, pieces by Italy’s best designers that have made history.

Nilufar Depot
viale Vincenzo Lancetti 34, Milan
June 6–12, 2022

The Art of Dreams

Ruby Barber, “The Art of Dreams”, exhibition at Palazzo Clerici | Fuorisalone | Salone Del Mobile.Milano 2022 | STIRworld
Ruby Barber, “The Art of Dreams”, exhibition at Palazzo Clerici Image: © Benne Ochs, courtesy of Porsche

For its debut at Milan Design Week 2022, Porsche chooses one of Milan's most striking locations: Palazzo Clerici. It is a historic building in the heart of the Brera district, renovated by Pritzker Prize winner James Stirling and left empty for several years. The palazzo was completely reopened for the first time during the last MDW with the exhibition Dior Medallion Chair, while this year it will host The Art of Dreams. The automotive giant called in designer and floral artist Ruby Barber to explore the interactions between nature and technology with an immersive, dreamlike installation. If you are not interested in the theme, the Brutalist architecture or the palazzo's magnificent hidden garden may attract you instead.

The Art of Dreams
Palazzo Clerici
via Clerici 5, Milan
June 6–12, 2022


Cristina Celestino, Florilegio, immersive installation at Radaelli Fioraio | Fuorisalone | Salone Del Mobile.Milano 2022 | STIRworld
Cristina Celestino, Florilegio, immersive installation at Radaelli Fioraio Image: Courtesy of Fuorisalone

Italian designer Cristina Celestino continues her journey of rediscovering Milan’s DNA through her designs. In 2018, for example, she had transformed one of the typical trams that crosses the city with her delicate, emotional and evocative aesthetic. This time, the location chosen for her intervention is Radaelli Fioraio, a historic flower boutique in the heart of Milan’s fashion district. Cristina Celestino’s intervention takes inspiration from the intrinsic nature of its spaces, from the dialogue between exterior and interior, interacting with pre-existing aesthetics and establishing a fertile harmony between a design idea and domesticated nature.

Radaelli Fioraio
via Manzoni 16, Milano
May 30 – June 11, 2022

See The Stars Again

‘See The Stars Again’ at Fabbrica Orobia | Fuorisalone | Salone Del Mobile.Milano 2022 | STIRworld
‘See The Stars Again’ at Fabbrica Orobia Image: Courtesy of Flos

With See The Stars Again, legendary lighting company Flos will celebrate its 60th anniversary with a major exhibition-event. The chosen location is Fabbrica Orobia, a 6000 square metre industrial space near the Fondazione Prada. Here the brand will present the 2022 collection, the new re-edition of the Arco lamp by the Castiglioni brothers, as well as a series of talks moderated by Felix Burrichter, an exclusive pop-up restaurant curated by We Are Ona, a workshop programme by the Fosbury Architecture collective and many other initiatives. With this event Flos celebrates its past and unveils its vision for the future.

See The Stars Again
Fabbrica Orobia
via Orobia 15, Mila
June 6-12, 2022

Prada Frames

Prada Frames symposium by Formafantasma for Milan Design Week 2022 | Fuorisalone | Salone Del Mobile.Milano 2022 | STIRworld
Prada Frames symposium by Formafantasma for Milan Design Week 2022 Image: Courtesy of Formafantasma

A three-day symposium is not usually an advisable activity during Milan Design Week, but in the case of Prada Frames, the anticipation is so high that it cannot go unmentioned. The event is curated by the design studio Formafantasma and will include two daily sessions of readings, debates, conversations and video projections involving, among others, Amitav Ghosh, Eyal Weizman, Anna Tsing and the Feral Atlas, Paola Antonelli, Alice Rawsthorn, Paulo Tavares, Andrés Jaque and Valerie Trouet. The symposium starts from the forest ecosystem to analyse the logics that govern the wood industry today and extends the reflection to the role of design and science as agents of change. It can therefore be seen as a subsequent step to Cambio, the major exhibition that the Italian design duo have been taking around Europe and which addresses these issues.

Prada Frames
Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense
via Brera 28, Milano
June 6-8, 2022


Alcova | Fuorisalone | Salone Del Mobile.Milano 2022 | STIRworld
Alcova Image: © DSL Studio – Piercarlo Quecchia

Alcova is not a single exhibition or event, but an itinerant exhibition hub that for Fuorisalone 2022 marks its fourth edition. Last year, it was undoubtedly the most popular destination of the entire Fuorisalone. This year, it reopens the doors of the magnificent Milan Military Hospital Centre's urban park and increases its spaces with an exhibition itinerary that, between indoor and outdoor spaces, extends over more than 20 hectares, making the 2022 edition even more ambitious. The credit goes to the curators Joseph Grima and Valentina Ciuffi, who manage to combine an excellent selection of participants with the care of a place whose discovery has fascinated all visitors.

STIR takes you on a Milanese sojourn! Experience Salone del Mobile and all the design districts - 5vie, Brera, Fuorisalone, Isola, Zona Tortona, and Durini - with us. STIR’s coverage of Milan Design Week 2022, Meanwhile in Milan showcases the best exhibits, moods, studios, events, and folks to look out for. We are also excited to announce our very own STIR press booth at Salone del Mobile - Hall 5/7 S.14, Fiera Milano RHO.

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