Between the University, the Botanical Garden and the Audi City Lab, from 4 September to today, more than 150thousand people have visited INTERNI Creative Connections. Considerations on the event that marked the Milan Design Week 2021 and that ends tomorrow

INTERNI has always believed in the power of Design Week. And, not surprisingly, our magazine has been the spokesperson several times, even during the pandemic, of events capable of activating the project's international community (Interni Designer's Week 2020 and 2021).

The numbers registered at INTERNI Creative Connections, however, amazed even us.

The exhibition-event that occupied, with its installations designed by international architects and created by the most avant-garde companies in the sector, the University of Studies, the Botanical Garden and the Audi City Lab, was in fact visited by mora than 150,000 people during the opening period from September 4th to today (the exhibition closes tomorrow, September 19th). Thanks, as always, to the 26 installations designed by 35 designers (between the University, the Brera Botanical Garden and the Audi City Lab, via della Spiga 26) and the open and welcoming atmosphere of the place, designed to amaze, fascinate and entertain. And, above all, to explain the role of design in the creation of those “creative connections” that increasingly lead to true sustainable innovation, also to non-experts.

The creative connections told by those who make them

INTERNI Creative Connections was a choral work, a collective commitment of architects and companies to illustrate the power of relationships between people, companies and institutions. A hot topic in the era in which major problems (such as the pandemic or global warming) can only be addressed in a global perspective of collaboration and mutual help, commitment and creativity.

On this ground, as we know, Italy has a lot to say, as discussed in the Talk dedicated to Expo 2020 Dubai, of which Mondadori is gold media partner and which INTERNI hosted in the context of Creative Connections.

To review the talk, click here

And precisely to explore the different points of view of architects on the role of Creative Connections in terms of innovation, a cycle of talks ("The project of change") was accompanied by the exhibition: to discuss, together with some of the companies that participated to the event, of the themes touched by their installations.

To see the videos of the talks, click here

The guest star of the event was Kengo Kuma (author of the Bamboo Ring installation for Oppo), with his lectio magistrali dedicated to the connection between architecture and music.

Watch Kengo Kuma's lectio magistralis here

But what exactly did we see at INTERNI Creative Connections?


Once through the large entrance door to the courtyard of honor, and the Transsensorial Gateway, the irregular gate made of sounds and steel stems and lights, up to 4 meters high - created by the team of young architects Noa (Network of architecture) for Ewo, the gaze is immediately captured by the installation in the center of the lawn which, in recent days, has also depopulated on the Net (very suggestive after sunset).

This is Survival, a symbolic raft-ark inhabited by 40 animal-lamps designed by Stefano Giovannonii with Marcantonio and Studio Job for Qeeboo. To act as a counterpoint, with the body still under the porch and the muzzle already reaching towards the sky, the maxi luminous seagull of Freedom, a "Jonathan Livingstone 3.0" ready to take flight towards new lands, a hymn to positivity signed by Mad Architects, Created by Eurostands with Ledvance, which has already become the symbol of the optimism of this edition of the FuoriSalone. Ledvance also illuminated 4 installations, in addition to the aforementioned "Freedom", namely: Survival by Giovannoni; Pura by Guglielmi; Tribute to Alessandro Mendini Furniture for Men of the Bisazza Foundation; Plan Bee by Fabio Novembre created by PerDormire.

All visitors also appreciated the lounge areas, in particular Righe e Fiamme da Outdoor by MissoniHome, with lights by Davide Groppi, comfortable seats that play on the soft-rigid contrast of the waterproof fabrics (the colorful Andalusia and the black & white Virgola Soft) and the outdoor upholstered furniture from the Missoni home line. And (especially children) the fun Spun, rotating stools by MagisDesign designed by Thomas Heatherwick, and the Folly molded polyethylene bench, designed by Ron Arad. Surprisingly, MagisDesign was also present with the iconic Proust armchair by Alessandro Mendini, exhibited on the upper floor, in the west loggia.

Continuing the path in the Cortile d'Onore, a "connection" with the Universal Exposition thanks to Expo Doors, the maxi-tent made of nautical ropes (in rigorously recycled plastic) Sal Cord illuminated by blue led lights of Oneeightyone which is part of the installation by Italo Rota with Francesca Grassi for the Italian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. High Intensity Design Training - Training with one's past, on the other hand, is the work of the students of the Triennium in Design at Naba, New Academy of Fine Arts under the supervision of teachers Claudio Larcher r and Sara Ricciardi: three very colorful "columns" that resume yes the archetypal shape of the spine but transform it into a lot of boxers training.

Next to it, Vertical Chalets, a project by the Peter Pichler Architecture studio: five mini chalets that represent, on a smaller scale, the new hospitality model created in Pass Thurn in Austria for Six Senses Kitzbühel Alps Staininger Group, a contemporary, eco-sustainable and sustainable version of the traditional alpine architecture.

Instead, it seems to be a response to the restrictions of the pandemic, the installation Sharing-Connection-Conviviality that AMDL Circle with Michele de Lucchi created for Whirlpool (anticipation of the large installation that we will see at FuoriSalone in April 2022) a reflecting aluminum tower of 8 meters that, inside, pushes the gaze to rise and at the same time pushes us to reflect on who we are and will be. Opposite, another relaxation area with comfortable seats by Nardi inspired by the concept of "staves", a project by Raffaello Galiotto.

Alongside the work of a great master, here are those of students and designers under 35 who have won the Design Contest. A journey between Italy and Spain on the theme of the identity object announced by the Embassy of Italy in Madrid and by Interni: enclosed in three maxi cages in red lacquered wood, installation by Davide Valoppi of the Noarc studio, the public can see the winning prototypes made by some Italian companies (Alessi, Baleri Italia, Mobile Design, cc-Tapis, Emu, Martinelli Luce, True Design). Pura, on the other hand, speaks of water, an installation by Alessandro Zambelli which, like a large origami, tells the processes of water change on the four sides of the structure: steam, condensation, accumulation, filtration. And with, inside, the Tuttuno mixer by Guglielmi.

Alongside, UNcracked, an installation by the Stroop Design studio, in collaboration with Jeffrey Beers International, Coperta and Guzzini with International Montaggi, Intro and Sunclear Italia together with iGuzzini Illuminazione, Michieli Floricoltura and Panasonic, is presented as a path enclosed in a recyclable polycarbonate parallelepiped with the floor made of compacted plastic bottles. An invitation to reflect on how even a complex material such as plastic can transform itself from waste to resource.

From the courtyard of honor, a stop at the Info Point-Press room, created by Mac Stopa and Massive Design with TMK Project, Wolf Group, Forbo, Hushoffice and Muraspec together with Ceramica Fondovalle, Fiam Italia and Tonon. A colorful and unusual space, between reinforced plaster and glass tables, colorful 3D printed bookcases and chairs made from recycled plastic bottles. And where, to isolate yourself, there are the A11 lounge chairs designed for Hushoffice, which allow you to close yourself in a muffled space and escape from everyday chaos.

Outside, the installation LAD Project by Emilio Randazzo brought the attention of visitors to the theme of beauty in the places of care, specifically the pediatric oncology wards. A story 10 meters long and developed like a film, with four screens and images mounted on forex panels to talk about the architecture that takes care of, between art, psychology and design. The protagonist is WonderLAD, the house-laboratory built in Catania according to the principles of bio-architecture.

Next to it, Augmented Architecture, the installation that dominates the access to the staircase of the North Portal. This is the work of Cino Zucchi Architetti and Chiara Zucchi with the Mapei brand: a large 'mask' that reproduces the upper part of the North Portal by enlarging it six times, thus making the architecture and moldings that frame it "explode".

Go up to the upper floor, in the west loggia, three more installations. The first one you meet - actually - is a double installation, a tribute by the creatives Ctrlzak (Katia Meneghini and Thanos Zakopoulos) with JCP Universe in Nanda Vigo, who passed away in 2020. It is Saeturn, a tribute to the interdisciplinary, experimental and futuristic personality of Vigo, between rocks, lava earth and the famous light segments of the Vigo.

Alongside, a tribute to Alessandro Mendini, who passed away in 2019, through his famous (and ironic) Mobili per Uomo made with the Fondazione Bisazza and in Bisazza mosaic, a late nineties creation: Hat, Shoe, Jacket, Glove, Head. That is, the "out-of-scale decomposition" of a bourgeois man. The third installation is Plan Bee, by Fabio Novembre, which draws attention to the importance of bees for the planet and to a new way of feeling the home, where the bed has taken on a different domestic centrality, through a maxi beehive formed by 22 PerDormire beds upholstered in yellow fabric.

On the opposite side, looking towards the east loggia, stands the installation Design is the World of Fantasy  by CastagnaRavelli produced by the Associazione per il Policlinico Onlus in collaboration with Inpuro Officina del Design, a large abstract painting composed of three square canvases in white, gold, red and black and the pop image of a dog, which wants to be a tribute to design and optimism.

Returning to the ground floor, after crossing the entrance to the Richini portico, we change continent with the Apex-Brasil exhibition in collaboration with Abimovel, curated by interior designer Josè Roberto Moreira do Valle and entitled: Brasil-Design in motion, with the works of young designers from all over the country in the name of innovation, diversity and sustainability. From here you reach a corner of the Orient, in the courtyard of the Bagni del Filarete in the center of which is Bamboo 竹 Ring :||Weaving a Symphony of Lightness and Form by Kengo Kuma created by Oppo in partnership with London Design Festival and with the curatorship by Clare Farrow. A very light and extremely resistant structure, made of bamboo and carbon fiber rings, born from the creativity of the Japanese designer who also becomes a sound installation, thanks to the music of the violinist Midori Comaschi and Musicity.

The installation Falso Autentico, by Marco Nereo Rotelli with glo, in the courtyard of the eighteenth century, speaks again of the relationship between nature and space. A raw earth architecture of the African tradition, with a typical ogive shape, an example of a construction from the past which you can enter to be enveloped by electronic sounds and images that speak of modernity and the future.

While, in the courtyard of the Pharmacy, Mario Cucinella makes a tribute to the founder of the Artemide Group, Ernesto Gismondi, who passed away in 2020, with the installation Il Mondo di Ernesto, a project by MC A Mario Cucinella Architects who, on 100 rectangular panels interlocked together almost forming a tower, it tells visitors about Artemide's design philosophy.

Finally, the exhibition v is unmissable in the hall of the Aula Magna. The books of the Fondazione Renzo Piano, on the delicate Folded Line structure designed by Anna Merci and created by Puricelli. On display, the eleven volumes published by the Renzo Piano Foundation, each dedicated to a single project by the great Italian architect - from the Center Pompidou to the Genoa Bridge - and edited by Lia Piano, creator, curator and director of the Foundation's editorial programs.

Finally, after leaving the University of Creative Connections, it continues in two other locations. The first is on the ground floor of a building in via della Spiga 26 where the Audi City Lab meets with Enlightening the Future. In the large space transformed by Marcel Wanders studio, Audi  offers the public an immersive experience based on light to present two new cars of the House: Audi RS e-tron GT and Audi A6 e-tron concept. A sensory journey through lights, reflections, sounds and the final relaxation area with furnishings designed by Marcel Wanders for Poliform.

Finally, at the Brera Botanical Garden, Natural Capital is Eni's poetic installation designed by Carlo Ratti Associati with the creative direction of Italo Rota and the scientific research of Alessio Fini, which in 500 square meters tells the role of plants and trees in CO2 capture and storage. To do this, it uses the symbolism of the bubble: from the different the different amplitudes different diameters - from a few centimeters to a few meters - which represent the different absorption and storage capacities of annual CO2 and during the entire life cycle of some of the many species present. A visual and immediate comparison that allows visitors to understand the symbiotic circle between man and nature.

Thanks also to: Audi, Caricami, Danese, Doma Food & Party Design, Ferrarelle, Guzzini, illy, Kartell, Magis, Oppo, PerDormire, Sony, True Design.