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The unmissable art and design exhibitions at Milan Design Week 2023

From contemporary designers exhibiting at Alcova to a tribute to renowned Milanese architect Arrigo Arrighetti, STIR picks the best exhibitions at Fuorisalone 2023.

by Salvatore PelusoPublished on : Apr 11, 2023

Suffused with interactive installations and events, the Milan Design Week experience can edge towards overwhelming for the uninitiated. Every detail is crucial, then, especially with the event making a seemingly empathetic return to normalcy, post-pandemic. The map and calendar of exhibitions, events, installations, and meetings are essential tools, along with a good pair of comfortable shoes and research into shared mobility services available in Milan for its biggest design festival.

STIR presents a transversal selection of 11 must-see exhibitions of Fuorisalone, at the intersection of art and design, that present originality of thought, interesting established and emerging artists and designers, as well as dynamic immersive installations.

Niels van Eyck, Cow chair| Exhibitions at Milan Design Week 2023| STIRworld
Niels van Eyck, Cow chair Image: Courtesy of Droog and Triennale Milano

Droog30 Design or Non-design?

At Triennale Milano (April 15-23, 2023)

Droog was born in 1993 when art historian Renny Ramakers and designer Gijs Bakker presented a collection of works by a group of young Dutch designers under the name 'Droog’' at Salone del Mobile in Milan. Thirty years hence Droog30 Design or Non-design? celebrates 30 years of irreverent and rebellious curation by the brand and the close relationship between the Fuorisalone and Dutch Design, giving global visibility to the authors of the brand.

Marta Ríos, A Designer Walks Into A Bar, on show at DOPO? Space. Milano Design Week 2023| Exhibitions at Milan Design Week 2023| STIRworld
Marta Ríos, A Designer Walks Into A Bar, on show at DOPO? Space. Milano Design Week 2023 Image: Iris Rijskamp; Courtesy of DOPO?

Designers from the Flatland

At DOPO? space and Ortica Studio (April 18-23, 2023)

While Triennale Milano, Milan’s leading public institution, celebrates Droog and its heritage, an independent exhibition investigates the art of Dutch Design. Seven international designers will represent the current reality in the Netherlands, exploring working conditions and cultural contradictions. The exhibition, titled Designers from the Flatland contextualises and ties together works of Netherlands-based design practitioners with a foreign background—designers whose practice mirrors their condition as foreigners.

Design for Communities, Giacomo Moor for LiveinSlums | Exhibitions at Milan Design Week 2023| STIRworld
Design for Communities, Giacomo Moor for LiveinSlums Image: Courtesy of LiveinSlums and Assab One

Design for Communities

At Assab One (April 18– May 26, 2023)

Design for Communities is the result of a collaboration between Milanese designer Giacomo Moor and Liveinslums NGO, which carries out urban regeneration work in Nairobi. Moor went to the Mathare slum, in order to make prototypes of furniture for the refectory and dormitory of the Why Not Academy, a local school in the region that has about 300 students. The pieces of furniture made by Moor will be presented during Design Week together with an immersive installation of photographs featuring images by Francesco Giusti, Filippo Romano, Mattia Zoppellaro and Alessandro Treves.

Displaced Line (in the making) | Exhibitions at Milan Design Week 2023| STIRworld
Displaced Line (in the making) Image: Alma Libera; Courtesy of Oxilia Gallery

Displaced Line

At Oxilia Gallery (April 16-23, 2023)

Grace Prince’s work explores authenticity, gesture and entropy expressed in functional objects. Prince will release her 2023 collection of new works, each of which explores their attendant sensation. Within her practice, Prince researches the motive of suspended movements, meaning that each object’s apparent structural precarity is central to its expression, resulting in a disarming yet captivating construction that belies each piece’s essential functionality. The intent of Prince’s work is to harness movement, tension and sensation within these static objects.

Bionicraft, Biovessel| Exhibitions at Milan Design Week 2023| STIRworld
Bionicraft, Biovessel Image: Courtesy of Isola Design District

Take Care!

At Stecca 3.0, Isola Design District (April 18-23, 2023)

Curated by multidisciplinary design studio Tellurico, the exhibition Take Care! highlights individual and collective wellness, stated in all its meanings. The inequity in access to food resources, fast deterioration of the environment, and excessive production of waste are just a few examples of some urgent topics of our time. The projects on display work towards raising awareness on these themes, bringing up crucial questions, and promoting both conceptual and practical solutions.

Arrigo Arrighetti, Manzoni school building, via Grazia Deledda 11, Milano| Exhibitions at Milan Design Week 2023| STIRworld
Arrigo Arrighetti, Manzoni school building, via Grazia Deledda 11, Milano Image: Pino Musi; Courtesy of Dropcity

Arrigo Arrighetti. Un architetto pubblico

At Drop City (April 15-23, 2023)

Arrigo Arrighetti. Un architetto pubblico is an exhibition dedicated to Milanese architect and urban planner Arrigo Arrighetti, who was also the Head of the Technical Office of Milan City Council, for a long time. In the 1960s and 1970s, Arrighetti designed some of the most interesting and innovative public buildings (social housing, schools, markets, offices, swimming pools and religious centres) in the city with great attention to form, architectural structure and construction details.

Nilufar Depot. Milano Design Week 2017| Exhibitions at Milan Design Week 2023| STIRworld
Nilufar Depot. Milano Design Week 2017 Image: Ruy Teixeira; Courtesy of Nilufar

The Bright Side of Design

At Nilufar Gallery and Nilufar Depot (April 17-23, 2023)

Nina Yashar, the founder of Nilufar Gallery, is presenting her reflections and observations, shedding light on parallel and coherent paths to explore the art of collectable design. The exhibition, The Bright Side of Design, will take place in Nilufar Gallery located on Via della Spiga as well as in spaces of Nilufar Depot, connecting the centre and periphery, in search for masters of the past and discovery of contemporary makers.

IRTHI, Gargour x Clay x Leather (process), Bahri Collection| Exhibitions at Milan Design Week 2023| STIRworld
IRTHI, Gargour x Clay x Leather (process), Bahri Collection Image: Courtesy of Mr.Lawrence

Echoes of Alchemy

At Apartment, via Cesare Correnti 14 (April 17-23, 2023)

A pioneering reality based in Sharjah (UAE), Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council promotes cultural and creative initiatives in favour of women’s emancipation, with the aim of developing a sustainable economy to enhance UAE’s craft heritage. At Fuorisalone, the organisation together with Mr.Lawrence studio is presenting the exhibition Echoes of Alchemy, questioning modes of production and consumption within the built world and in the domestic realm, emphasising the central role that raw materials and craft methods play in the country.

CFGNY: Emporium, on show at Marsèll| Exhibitions at Milan Design Week 2023| STIRworld
CFGNY: Emporium, on show at Marsèll Image: © Sammie Anselmo; Courtesy of Marsèll

CFGNY: Emporium

At Marsèll (April 17–May 11, 2023)

Marsèll and PIN–UP Magazine are joining forces to present CFGNY: Emporium, an exhibition by the New York-based art collective CFGNY. The event acts as a survey show, combining aspects of previous CFGNY exhibitions and remixing them into a new multi-level experience. Ranging from garments and design objects to architectural installations, ceramic sculpture and video, the exhibition "showcases the different material languages that we have developed over the years," explain the four members of CFGNY.

Samer Selbak, Luffa Project| Exhibitions at Milan Design Week 2023| STIRworld
Samer Selbak, Luffa Project Image: Courtesy of Alcova

Alcova Project Space

At Alcova (April 17 – 23, 2023)

The Alcova Project Space is a new entity within Alcova, in this ‘exhibition within an exhibition,’ the curators Valentina Ciuffi and Joseph Grima collect things that intrigue them–essentially projects that capture their imagination or that touch them deeply in some way. “Here we vent to our curatorial instincts, to piece together an image of what resonates most with us in the contemporary design scene—emerging or otherwise,” say the curators. The exhibition is divided into three topics—Digital Ornamentalism, Augmented Nature, and Afterparty—each narrating an aspect of the ‘extreme present’ that we are experiencing.

Break to Make. Daniel Arsham + Nendo| Exhibitions at Milan Design Week 2023| STIRworld
Break to Make. Daniel Arsham + Nendo Image: Courtesy of Friedman Benda

Break to Make

At Nendo Milan (April 18-23, 2023)

Break to Make is a collaboration between American multidisciplinary artist Daniel Arsham and Japanese design firm Nendo, led by Oki Sato. The exhibition is being presented by the New York design gallery Friedman Benda and is a culmination of creative dialogue, spanning over four years. Demonstrating both the designers' poetic approaches—Arsham transforms each distilled form designed by Nendo into works with humour and playful intricacy.

STIR’s coverage of Milan Design Week 2023 showcases the best exhibitions, studios, designers, installations, brands, and special projects to look out for. Explore Euroluce 2023 and all the design districts—5Vie Art and Design, Brera Design District, Fuorisalone, Isola Design District, Tortona District, and Milano Design District—with us.

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