Projects, events and people who push the horizon of design beyond the line of comfort: ten stories that have sown well and will reap better

Summing up an event like the one staged this week is not easy: but while waiting to read the numbers, it is worth highlighting some evidence.

Meanwhile, to imagine and tell about design you need to know it. Studying is the first step, if not to overcome, at least to control the (misleading) theme of instagrammability: an image is beautiful when innovation, ethics and aesthetics speak together with the shot.

Because when value returns to the center of creativity, it regenerates abandoned spaces and tired bodies. We have seen it happening almost everywhere in the city: when the seed of a good and beautiful project is planted in the most marginal areas, the community gets active, responds and participates.

But let's not call it performance, let's not fall into the deception of the cliché: it's about real life, experiences moved by the curiosity of being more than just being there.

To get out of the comfort zone, welcome differences, challenge the unconscious: here are the paths traced by some young and other mature designers. We want to recall ten of them, in a different way, all aware that the difficulties of the present are faced with feet firmly planted in history.

Not to repeat itself (which is never nice).

1_ A tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Triennale which, with its objects, spans a century of good design. From 1923 to 2023: the new edition of the Museo del Design Italiano directed by Marco Sammicheli, “is a tale of the history of Italian design gathered around to seven domestic interiors designed by Paolo Giacomazzi.

Three houses Minerbi, Manusardi and Figini-Pollini, a close up on Antonia Campi's bathroom, the office with Sottsass's Elea and Walter Ballmer's studio, Vespa and 500 parked in the garage”. Design is what surrounds us and makes our daily lives special. And living is made for people, not for Instagram. We leave and come back here.

2_ Milan Design Week is an important stage for triggering new reflections on the limits and opportunities of creative regeneration.

The Reforming Future exhibition, strongly desired by Valerio Castelli, was the occasion to open the Marchiondi Spagliardi Institute to the public for the first time during the design week< /strong>: protagonists in the spaces conquered by nature, the projects of the master's course at the Milan Polytechnic, by Michele De Lucchi and Andrea Branzi.

A rare example of brutalist architecture, not everyone knows that the complex was designed by Vittoriano Viganò in the 1950s to house kids who needed special assistance. Thrilling.

3_ The least Dutch Fuorisalone of all. And not just because this year it has landed in the former slaughterhouse of Porta Vittoria, the complex designed between 1912 and 1914 by Giannino Ferrini and Giovanni Filippini. We are talking about Alcova, the international research platform that brings together start-ups, designers and design schools, born in 2018 from an idea by Valentina Ciuffi and Joseph Grima, curator and founder of studio Vedet lei, director of DAE and Space Caviar him.

About a hundred projects (including 'This is Denmark' by Laura Traldi and Elena Cattaneo with Matteo Ragni at the exhibition Design): a lot of research, especially in the section dedicated to 'Alcova Space Project', curated by Ciuffi-Grima, widespread intelligence and great participation of the city. Restorative.

4_ Objects are characters who together rewrite a new story. Like the one told by the projects of Matilde Cassani Studio, Christ & Gantenbein, Piovenefabi, Giovanna Silva and Jean-Benoît Vétillard who in Via Giacosa 11, inaugurated Diorama Bar (until 29 April).

It is a collective exhibition which, set up in the only showcase of Spazio Bidet / Enoteca La Botte (an arched space, whose 4-metre-high walls offer a depth of 1.25 meters by 3 , and a capacity of 13,490 litres), restores the idea of a miniature domestic space where the objects, originally created as installations, furnishings for larger projects, extracted from their original context are made accessible to a wider audience.

An 'existenzminimum' for lovers of the mother discipline (and cocktails). Radical.

5_ Sleep is a subversive act. 'Together in Electric Dreams', the immersive installation at ME Milan Il Duca curated by Francesca Gotti and created by (ab)Normal, is inhabited by a work by Erica Curci and a performance by Francesca Flora who gives voice to a text by Erica Petrillo (video-soundscape by Hyperscape Research Office) to induce us to reflect on the relationship that li rest, in its REM phase, has with the unconscious, a space in which anything can happen.

Numerous scientific studies show that the number of individuals suffering from insomnia or sleep-related disorders is an ever-growing phenomenon.

Many artists and writers, including Jonathan Crary, have been invited to reflect on this phenomenon, its causes and implications: at Milan Design Week, the collective claimed the right to rest. Take care.

6_ The space captures the zeitgeist of architecture and design. The Knoll stand at the fair is a manifesto space strongly desired by Jonathan Olivares (senior vice president of design): designed by Office, the studio founded by the Belgian architect duo Kerstein Geers and David Van Severen, takes on a purely domestic dimension, with rooms, common areas and gardens. Made from recyclable and recycled materials, the space, which has its roots in the ideologies of Eliel Saarinen and Mies van Der Rohe, takes the debated dream of a modernist utopia to the extreme. Essential.

7_ A step forward in the reinterpretation of the brutalist current. Twain is the armchair created by Konstantin Grcic in collaboration with the Dutch designer Hella Jongerius for Magis.

You recognize it among a thousand others that is signed by the German designer: it will be for that all his way of re-reading the Safari Chair. Which breaks down the shell-armrest-legs structure in pure material: wood-leather-fabric.

The seat is a harmonious design that combines, binds and superimposes matter to define a solid and light micro-architecture, perfectly decomposable. Unmistakably authorial.

8_ Gaming is a serious matter. Those who did not get distracted, but faithful to the line managed to overcome the long waiting queue, in the courtyard of the Pharmacy of the University of Milan, were the protagonists of a deliberately surreal performance.

To induce the public to reflect on the value of free time, the architectural studio Stefano Boeri Interiors, within 'The Amazing Playground' (the space that Amazon has brought at the Interni/Design Re-Evolution exhibition-event), created Swing: a mega swing (editor's note: a structure with 36 seats) that lulled the public to the tune of 'I pomeriggi Musicali', the evening musical program designed to accompany their movement. An ode to joy.

9_ Light, material to be sculpted. A few basic pieces from the Nemo Lighting collection and a lot of imagination: Ron Gilad stages, room after room, an unexpected theatrical piece to tell the light that does not exist .

Already because reflection, refraction, diffusion together with sound, color and video projections are the only tools that the Israeli designer uses to question the relationship between the light source and the space it occupies and tell the function beyond the object. Subversive.

10_ Deforming to shape a new harmony. With Becoming Stone, Stef Fusani presents himself at Milan Design Week: an artist and designer based in Madrid, he tackles the materiality of the body with a deconstructed and fluid approach. Irreverent and amorphous, his sculptures fascinate because they look like human creatures, but they are not.

They are bodies without organs, abstract and figurative at the same time. Strongly conceptual, you seem to recognize their meaning by recognizing the details. But it is a deception: reality, profoundly transfigured, defines the canons of a new aesthetic. Ambiguous is beautiful.