The most awaited event of the Milan FuoriSalone returns for its seventh edition. The creators tell us what's new (including the installation of Objects of Common Interest with Bitossi), the most spectacular projects and the emerging names not to be missed

After registering more than 95 thousand visitors last year, Alcova returns, the most awaited event of the FuoriSalone in Milan, scheduled from 15 to 21 April 2024 (with preview for the press on the 14th), this year in a new double location: villa Borsani and villa Bagatti Valsecchi, both in Varedo, outside Milan (the curators explained the reason for the new address here).

Just over 80 exhibitors are expected, including established designers and emerging young people, companies, galleries, museum institutions and schools who, through research projects, investigate social and sociological themes, explore the domestic dimension in dialogue with the two prestigious residences, experiment with materials, craftsmanship and technology.

Telling us about the news are the creators of Alcova, that is, the stainless couple formed by Valentina Ciuffi, founder of Studio Vedèt, and Joseph Grima, at the helm of Space Caviar.

What's new at Alcova 2024?

“The formula is consolidated, characterized by the mix of designers, galleries, museum institutions, schools and companies. A basic recipe that is renewed at each edition with new exhibitors and different locations.

After the industrial sites, this year we have chosen two homes of great charm such as villa Borsani and villa Bagatti Valsecchi, in Varedo, which allow us , for the first time, to deal with living interiors and domesticity.

For the first time at Alcova Milano we present Alcova Design Shop, a physical and curated version of our e-commerce: as we have already experienced in Miami, on the occasion of the FuoriSalone 2024 we will graphically indicate the pieces on display which are purchasable online and on site, such as the works of Clara Schweers, Stefania Ruggiero, Polcha, Agglomerati and Maria Tyakina, Gonzalo Bascunan, Crafting Plastics! Study.

Unlike Miami, the projects/products will be collected in a single space and presented as a paradigm around a new idea of domesticity".

How many exhibitors are there this year? Any previews?

“There are just over 80 exhibitors, distributed across the two locations. Numerous creatives are participating for the first time in Alcova: the Japanese architect Junya Ishigami with a collection of furnishings for Maniera gallery in the exhibition space of the ice house of Villa Bagatti Valsecchi; Atelier de Troupe confronts the monumental scale of Osvaldo Borsani with a project on the design of transatlantic liners, created with CC-Tapis.

Among the great returns, Objects of Common Interest which with Bitossi will create an installation in front of Villa Borsani while in Villa Bagatti Valsecchi for Alcova Project Space they will create a public art project dedicated to the theme of conviviality; Agglomerati will participate with a new marble collection in dialogue with the interiors of Villa Borsani characterized by the precious and now unobtainable green Alpi marble; the Turkish creative Sema Topaloglu will intervene with a surprising installation in one of the bathrooms of Villa Borsani, and Supaform will interact with Borsani's old office , proposing a contemporary reinterpretation of the modernist office.

Numerous young people are telling their story for the first time, such as the Australian studio Don Cameron or the Polish studio Daniel K who reread and update craft" .

What are the main lines of investigation?

"The lines of research are those that have interested us for years: innovation, technology, craftsmanship reinterpreted by the new generations.

This year, in addition to domesticity, the theme of irony emerges for the first time, with "minigolf" in the outdoor spaces of Villa Bagatti Valsecchi, created by Diego < strong>Faivre, Hugo Béhérégaray and Pierre Castignola; with the research of the Umprum academy on the dress code and what it means to wear a dress in a specific social context, and with the metalinguistic investigation on the language of design by Inderjeet Sandhu , an Indian designer making his debut, while the large installation of HEAD – Genève, Geneva University of Art and Design turns the spotlight on global warming.

Among the lines of research, the experimentation with 3D printing by Hilos, a company that is reinventing the way of designing and producing shoes, and by Additive Tectonics which works with wood waste, assembling them into furniture with artistic direction by Harry Thaler”.

“As in every edition of Alcova, we ask exhibitors to interact and dialogue with the host architecture. In the case of Villa Borsani, the participants will build their project in a highly distinctive environment and in relatively small rooms, whereas in Villa Bagatti Valsecchi, a larger home with lots of greenery, the designers will have more freedom; at villa Bagatti Valsecchi we will also live in the basement of the villa, the foreigners' house, the portico.

In both locations, it is a timely reinterpretation of the spaces, an emphasis that is never exaggerated, in dialogue and with respect for the residences. The exhibitors are enthusiastic about being able to compare themselves with two signature architectures, even if they had to respect many constraints, because they are two protected historical architectures, where the original furnishings will be replaced by site-specific installations.

At Villa Borsani, around the Lucio Fontana fireplace, the LAMB Gallery of London in collaboration with Lucia Echavarria for the Magnetic project Midnight Maisonin London, which works with weaves, reconstructs the idea of a living room by adopting a contemporary craftsmanship, it will be an unprecedented clash”.

What atmosphere will you breathe in?

“This year we are arriving in spaces with a different character compared to the places activated in the past, two residential architectures from two different eras, of great luxury, special in their kind. A natural resonance will emerge between a high percentage of the projects on display and the interiors.

The resulting effect will be amazing, the contrast is inevitable as is the surprise effect.

All the exhibitors tried to build an unexpected dialogue, but at the same time pay homage to the two places. We work on creating atmospheres, not just on the presentation of objects and research, and this year the mood will be even more magical."

Alcova is in its seventh edition. Is there an evolution in the proposals you receive?

“If at the beginning the research was more based on new craftsmanship, recently collectible design has grown, with the appearance of a series of intermediaries between creatives and buyers and the multiplication of tunnels; technological research has also grown with on-site experiments".

How does Alcova evolve?

“Alcova is a place to show objects but also a research platform, a “pause” for reflection in a week projected and focused on the product and the big brands.

A reflection on what it means to do design today that we manage to maintain high, even now that we are in the seventh edition and we could have transformed into something else. We have supporters who accompany us on our journey, but we are and remain proudly independent."