It doesn't matter if you're a veteran or if it's your first time at the rodeo—Milan Design Week is overwhelming. Don't get us wrong, it's a good overwhelming—filled with inspiring installations and thought-provoking exhibitions. However, doing research to sort through exhibitions can be an exhausting endeavor. While we can't help you secure a last-minute AirBnb for under €100 per night, we can give you an organized breakdown of shows we're planning to see ourselves during the festival. Below are our top picks for smaller exhibitions around town, on view from April 9-14.
Artek FIN / JPN Friendship Collection
This exhibition explores the unique relationship between Finland and Japan, uniting traditional craftsmanship with contemporary and classic designs from both cultures. Designers featured in the exhibition include Aino Aalto, Alvar Aalto, Buaisou, COMPANY, Koichi Futatsumata, Akira Minagawa and Jo Nagasaka.
Via Lovanio 6
COS always goes big for Milan Design Week. This year, the fashion brand has commissioned French architect Arthur Mamou-Mani to produce a new architectural installation, titled Conifera.
Corso Monforte 35
Arthur Mamou-Mani for COS
All Together Now
The whole fam is in town! For All Together Now, Herman Miller has pulled pieces from Colebrook Bosson Saunders, Design Within Reach, Geiger, HAY, Maars Living Walls, Maharam, naughtone and Nemschoff.
Corso Garibaldi 70
This exhibition seeks to better understand the world’s largest virtual shopping mall, Alibaba. Whether we recognize it or not, Alibaba is a powerful agent in every stage of the design process today, and it is both a massive influence and an engine for change in contemporary geopolitics and global infrastructure.
Via Marco Aurelio 21
A mirrored surface, called Echo, will reflect the surrounding courtyard of Palazzo Litta's two levels. The accompanying Litta Variations exhibition will feature projects from over sixty-five designers from eleven different countries.
Corso Magenta 24
A Space For Being
This Google Design Studio exhibition held at Spazio Maiocchi will explore the field of neuroaesthetics and their impact on our biology and well-being. The exhibition is in collaboration with Muuto, Reddymade Architecture, and the International Arts + Mind Lab at Johns Hopkins University.
Via Achille Maiocchi, 7
Rimowa x Kaleidoscope
Another must-see exhibition at Spazio Maiocchi is Rimowa and Kaleidoscope's second collaboration in the new design space. Last year designer Dozie Kanu remixed Rimowa pieces into furniture, and this year visitors can expect to see Guillermo Santoma's avant garde take on a similar brief.
Via Achille Maiocchi, 7
Guillermo Santoma for Rimowa and Kaleidoscope
Still / Life
Aimed to inspire a moment of introspection within the chaos design week, this installation will feature site-specific gradients by Calico Wallpaper, interiors and lighting by Ladies & Gentlemen Studio and ceramics by Mud Australia. "Visitors will be transported to an environment rich with natural and creative energy—their senses engaged by sounds, scents, and visuals that elicit a rejuvenating sense of tranquility and inspiration." ...Sign us up.
Via Pietro Maroncelli 7
Lexus Design Award Pavilion
Lexus will present the seventh edition of the Lexus Design Award in Zona Tortona, at a pavilion designed by Japanese art and technology design firm Rhizomatiks.
Via Tortona, 27
Green Blast Jet Energy by industrial designer Dmitriy Balashov, finalist in the Lexus Design Awards
Blue is Divine | Scrap and Reprint
This installation will pay tribute to Kvadrat's longstanding collaboration with Finn Sködt, and in the same location a separate installation by graphic designer Rikako Nagoshima will be on display.
Corso Monoforte 15
No Man's Land
Breakfast with a view! Kvadrat will also be debuting its sixth collection by Raf Simons with an installation called No Man's Land. To compliment the installation, London-based restaurant Rochelle Canteen will hold a brief residency at the space, serving menus for breakfast and lunch throughout Design Week.
Via Archimede 26
Affinity in Autonomy
An emotional installation by SONY that will envision the relationship between humans and robotics. Visitors can expect to experience "the future of robotics evolving with emotion and a feeling of vitality".
Via Savona 56/A
Affinity in Autonomy
Prototype Research _ Series 04
Italian menswear brand Stone Island is known for their outrageous yet high-performance materials explorations. This year during Milan Design week, they will be presenting work that experiments with "manual flocking on nylon grid-OVD", revealing a few pieces using the method that's not yet optimized for industrialization processes.
Via Savona 54
Knoll Celebrates Bauhaus
Knoll will pay tribute to Bauhaus with an exhibition that demonstrates the company's successful collaboration with some of the greatest designers associated with the Bauhaus.
Piazza Bertarelli 2
Bang & Olufsen
A Bang Olufsen retrospective exhibition that will showcase innovative designs that have shaped the music industry over the past 93 years. The captivating presentation which will end with the unveiling of a new moving object.
Via San Carpoforo 9
Shape of Gravity
An exhibition of works by nendo for WonderGlass, featuring Melt, the cast glass furniture and homeware collection. The exhibition will also include the launch of new cast glass chandelier under the same collaboration.
Via Vivaio 7
An experiential installation done in collaboration between Laufen and Snarkitecture that will juxtapose two moments in the design process: the "origin" and the the finished product.
Via C. Correnti 11
Each of the many participating studios and brands taking part in this year's Design Language exhibition reflect their own unique universe and are eager to express their individuality and values through a wide range of mediums, from furniture to woven objects.
Via Tortona 35
Design Language 2018
38th & L'Objet Haas Brothers
The Haas Brothers' work embodies our ideal fantasy world, and for Milan Design Week L'Objet is welcoming the artists to showcase work from their dreamy collaboration collection.
Emily is a freelance writer based in NYC with an interest in all things design, specifically the design process. When she's not writing about design, Emily can either be found taking care of her 31 houseplants, going on "nature" walks in her neighborhood or studying Japanese. Before going freelance, Emily was an Editor at Core77.