Milan Design Week is the world’s most significant design fair, taking place from 17–23 April 2023. It’s an annual celebration where architects, product designers and industry professionals descend on the city to discover the latest design innovation and get a glimpse of future trends.
Salone del Mobile, a furniture fair, is the biggest event to see throughout this week at the Fiera Milano exhibition centre. There’s also a series of fringe events and exhibitions spread across the city.
Nothing beats seeing incredible design up close and in the flesh, but if you can’t be on the ground during Milan Design Week, you can enter the ‘digiverse’ to see the hottest, most buzzworthy exhibitions. Whet your appetite by starting with these seven not-to-be-missed installations…
Shaped by Water (Lachlan Turczan and Google)
Tech giant Google is presenting Shaped by Water, a collaboration with American artist Lachlan Turczan which explores the fascinating effects sound and light can have on water. Mirrored basins filled with water are used as enormous speakers, vibrating to create shifting wave patterns. The idea behind the exhibition is to showcase the hidden qualities of water.
Audi House of Progress
Also at Salone del Mobile, Audi is presenting an exhibition on circular design and sustainability, while offering a peek into the fascinating future of automotive production. Visitors will see the Audi ‘Skysphere’ concept, a new, spage-agey electric roadster with autonomous driving technology and an adjustable wheelbase for improved agility on the road.
Hermès presents rugs, chairs and lamps enclosed by flowing iron rods and concrete structures for their latest home collection. The exhibition focuses on harmony and continuum, bringing together the furniture and its surroundings so each object can be seen individually as well as together.
Zen Pod and Abstracta Agile (Abstracta)
Abstracta is a Swedish furniture brand best known for acoustic office furniture. At Salone del Mobile, Abstracta is launching two new pieces – a noise-regulating, minimalist work pod (designed by Staffan Holm) and a mobile project workspace on castors (from Studio Stockholm).
Melt (Tom Dixon)
Melt is an eyecatching lighting installation being shown as part of Euroluce (an international lighting exhibition) at Salone del Mobile. Melt is a series of distorted spherical lights, evocative of molten glass. Their surface is half metalised to create a mirrored effect that reflects the environment – yet it transforms into a translucent colour when the lights are switched on.
Loewe Chairs (Jonathan Anderson)
Inside the courtyard of Palazzo Isimbardi is a fascinating collection of playful and quirky chairs from the Spanish fashion house Loewe. Think classic wooden spindle chairs woven in unexpected materials like leather ribbon, foil and shearling to create additional colours, textures and expanding shapes. Not to mention a beautiful collection of brightly painted toadstool chairs in varying sizes.
The Sea Deck (AMDL Circle and Michele De Lucchi)
Azimut Yachts commissioned AMDL Circle to design a floating installation on Milan’s Darsena waterway. The Sea Deck, which is made from recycled bottle corks, was created to celebrate Amizut’s Seadeck series of hybrid motor yachts. Visitors can walk around the installation to enjoy an immersive experience of the Milan docks.
To discover more about Milan Design Week, check out designboom’s ultimate guide, where you can see more highlights and get in-depth coverage as the week progresses.
Like this article? Before you go, catch up on the London Design Festival and read career lessons from Nicolas Roope, a design pioneer who’s created viral content for big-name brands like Orange and the Tate Modern.