by Jerry ElengicalSep 09, 2021
Perseverance, resilience, and innovation outline the spirit of this year’s Milan Design Week that reinvents its skin and insides to rise beyond the challenges and criticism of the year devoured by the pandemic. Curated by Italian architect Stefano Boeri and headed by newly elected President Maria Porro, the 59th edition of Salone del Mobile.Milano is gearing up to return in full swing between September 5-10, 2021, in an innovative, hybrid format called Supersalone, that merges the explosive physical event held at the Rho Milan Fairgrounds in Italy, with a curated, online one, catering to makers and lovers of design alike and acting as the bridge to the 60th edition slotted for April 2022.
The world’s largest and most celebrated furniture fair will commence with an accent on safety, design transversality, innovation, cultural exchange, seamless digital experiences and green commitment. Some notable highlights include 423 brands and 50 independent producers displaying their wares across four carefully planned pavilions, an exhibition traversing 170 projects from 48 design schools from the world over and another showcasing 110 Compasso d’Oro award-winning chairs, talks and discourses held with and by some of the most influential figures on the creative scene today, as well as 200 trees from Forestami growing into the physical venue.
Last year, despite the event being cancelled and pushed to a later date, STIR kept the buzz going by reaching out to eminent designers who frequent the fair with elan each edition, asking them to reminiscence what they miss and what they remember most from the Milan Design Week and the city of Milan, in a power-packed series dubbed Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A).
For supersalone, STIR has planned a lighthearted, descriptive series called STIR at Supersalone, covering the event, from how the city is preparing itself, to interviews with core designers and exhibitors, outlining the essence of the anticipated fair, along with our picks of the top products and exhibitions presented.
Here is what you can expect from the six days in Milan, in pursuit of global design:
Supersalone: A renaissance, a recovery, a circularity
Cross-pollination, fusion, and extroversions drive the Milan furniture design fair curated by Boeri along with an international and multidisciplinary team of co-designers, including, Andrea Caputo, Maria Cristina Didero, Anniina Koivu, Lukas Wegwerth, Marco Ferrari and Elisa Pasqual of Studio Folder, with the collaboration of Giorgio Donà, co-founder and director of Stefano Boeri Interiors. Their planning and vision will foster a real creative circuit, in the new, challenging format, a “happening that will flesh out a new story and make all the difference.”
“The “supersalone” will be the first great Italian fair since the pandemic erupted. Super because it’s unmissable. Unmissable because it will see the great design brands, the young makers, the international schools, the great icons of design, the most renowned Italian chefs and many stars of the art and architecture scene gathered for the first time. Unmissable because everybody will have a chance to see the top products from the top companies – live – and purchase or reserve them on the Salone del Mobile web platform. Unmissable because all the display components have been designed to be reused or recycled. Unmissable because at such a difficult time in our history we’ve mustered the courage, the passion, and the generosity of the best of Italian business and creativity. “supersalone” is a cheerful response from a Super Italy after the long night of the pandemic,” shares the curator, Stefano Boeri.
Cutting through the bedlam of extended lockdowns, acute uncertainties and heavy losses, this year’s edition of the Milan Design Week is a renaissance and a recovery, presented as a large design library rendered via fluid and dynamic exhibitions and setups designed to valorise new products and creations by manufacturers and designers over the last 18 months. The layout will consist of seven long parallel sets with modular vertical walls on which most of the exhibiting companies’ products will be showcased. All the display materials, components, arenas, benches, and seating have been designed to be dismantled and reused, keeping circularity at its essence.
The event will be punctuated with themed areas and itineraries: arenas for talks on knowledge sharing and deepening, lounges dedicated to commercial and business company meetings, areas reserved for young students at design schools, and areas for socialising and relaxing.
Maria Porro, President of the Salone del Mobile.Milano, the first woman ever elected, says, “We are pouring our hearts into organising this “supersalone” because we believe it is crucial to go back to meet each other, conduct relationships and see for ourselves the products that our companies have carried on creating… We are working with all the regional institutions and bodies involved to ensure a totally safe experience for our exhibitors and visitors. The new Salone del Mobile.Milano platform with its palimpsest of events live streamings and dedicated content will ensure that we can also fully involve that part of the design community that has been prevented from travelling due to the restrictions in force.”
Unmissable exhibitions and talks
The event has always drawn from the power of design, creativity, and the indomitable human spirit to become a powerful hub of cross-pollination, and a forger of new opportunities, putting at centre stage the furnishing manufacturing industries, the schools turning out the new cohorts of designers, independent makers, and influential design figures.
The Lost Graduation Show
Curated by Anniina Koivu, the fluid exhibition hosted across all the pavilions will showcase 170 projects from students who graduated between 2020 and 2021, from 48 leading design schools in 22 different countries. The format is a first in the history of Salone del Mobile.Milano, encompassing furniture design, mobility design, inclusive design, medical and sports design, as well research into materials and the sustainable design sector. “The hope is that the exhibition will act as a stimulus for schools to teach the sort of design that channels “disruptive” practices, generating responsible, intelligent and accessible projects both now and in the future.”
The Makers Show
Dedicated to the designer-makers from the world over, the fluid and cross-cutting exhibition will feature workshops, studios, laboratories, and start-ups that marry design and experimentation, new production techniques and materials research. The idea is to showcase a collective global picture of where independent design stands, via different types of objects ranging from furniture to furnishing accessories. “Supersalone will thus become an incubator of new stories, providing an opportunity to discover original products and take stock of emerging phenomena, to follow the evolution of the independent design market and make direct contact with its leading lights,” the makers of the show remark.
Devised by Maria Cristina Didero, this programme is packed with conversations, talks and lectures by leading and inspiring designers, architects, artists, scholars, innovators, and managers such as Humberto Campana, Bjarke Ingels, Paola Pivi and Formafantasma, responding to questions on design, art, architecture, education, circular economy, the relationship between project and curation and much more. These will be amplified with curated biopics and docufilms in collaboration with the Milano Design Film Festival.
Take Your Seat
The exhibition Take Your Seat / Prendi Posizione curated by Nina Bassoli will share the story of the most iconic of all product designs, the chair, and how they narrate the political, social and cultural evolution of society. It will feature 30 ADI's Compasso d’Oro award-winning chairs and another 100 having with honourable mentions spread into four themed sections, along with an added section at the ADI Design Museum to “illustrate how design has harnessed languages and content throughout the great changes in society and how it has managed to respond to new cultural paradigms with new inventions,” the official Salone del Mobile website reads.
A planned forest of 100 trees of many different species like acer, ash and lime, through which the turnstiles at the East Gate entrance can be accessed will make up this urban installation, upping the green credentials of the event. The forest follows inside the heart of the event where 100 more trees will lead visitors into the various exhibition and relaxation areas. All the trees have been donated to Forestami by Salone del Mobile.Milano and will be replanted post-event in the Metropolitan City of Milan area in new rows, single trees and thickets that will help design a fresh landscape, a green lung designed for the city.
Identità Golose Food Courts
The International Gastronomic Hub is a bespoke concept conceived as an integral part of the visitor experience and an opportunity to savour original recipes of some of the greatest Italian chefs and artisans, including Carlo Cracco with pastry chef Marco Pedron, Massimo Bottura with the workshop Il Tortellante, and more. “Each of them will come up with an iconic dish – either sweet or savoury – that the public will be able to purchase, putting together their own ideal menus to enjoy in an informal and inclusive environment.”
The new edition of Fuorisalone, to be held from September 4 to 10, will venture beyond the confines of the Rho Fairgrounds to reinforce its dialogue with Triennale Milano, the city hub of supersalone across different design districts such as Brera and 5Vie. This is part of the programme that began last April with Fuorisalone Digital Edition and will explore the theme "Forms of Living", tying in questions and displays of the future of the furniture and design sectors.
Watch this space for ground reports of the mood in Milano, fun videos and lots more!
Bianca Felicori highlights six exhibits at the recently opened Salone del Mobile.Milano 2021 that tackle varied themes of sustainability and inclusion, united by a desire to solve everyday problems.
STIR takes a video check of mood Milano - peep inside showrooms, hear designers speak, and know all that's happening at the buzzing Brera Design District to keep your FOMO away!
With the 59th Milan Design Week in full flow in its new, hybrid format, STIR at Supersalone highlights a selection of galleries and exhibitions currently livening up the city of Milan.
Perfectly manifesting anthropology and design, the chair has always been an ubiquitous furniture form. Here are STIR’s picks of iconic and new chairs, sitting to inspire at Supersalone.
Amid the innumerable design luminaries currently showcasing their work in Milan, STIR at Supersalone presents a selection of the most innovative lighting designs on display.
Curated by Anniina Koivu at this year's Milan Design Week, the exhibition features 170 projects by students who graduated between 2020 and 2021.
Rosso, editorial director of the new digital platform of Milan Design Week, and Didero, curator of Open Talks, speak to STIR about the fine balance of realities at this year's fair.
STIR speaks to Lukas Wegwerth, who designed Supersalone's sustainable installations as one of its co-curators, about the importance of reusing materials and creating circular design cycles.
Dior Maison commissioned 17 of the industry’s most renowned creatives including India Mahdhavi, Ma Yansong and Pierre Yovanovitch to reinterpret their ovel backed Medallion Chair for Milan Design Week 2021, their most weighty presence at the fair yet.
The president of recently concluded Salone del Mobile 2021, Maria Porro discusses being the first woman to take up the role, growing up with the fair, and the success of its 59th edition that came about as a special, courageous, cohesive vision.
Writer, curator and educator, Anniina Koivu, speaks with STIR about her curatorial intervention at Supersalone, and the multidisciplinary nuances of her practice.