Overcoming the idea of styling, imagining new landscapes, connecting different cultures: Giulio Cappellini told us what he expects (and hopes for) for the Design Week

The FuoriSalone is still the place and moment in the heart of Giulio Cappellini – art director, curator, entrepreneur, talent scout, or rather, the talent scout of international design. “I'm in a bit of a rush as always at this time of year,” he says at the start of the conversation, “but it's not a complaint: after all, it's nice and fun like this, right?”

For him certainly, judging by the enthusiasm with which he talks about the project and the number of operations he has in the pipeline for the FuoriSalone 2024.

Signed by Giulio Cappellini, on the occasion of the Design Week, we will in fact see an exhibition in the showroom in via Borgogna which celebrates the partnership with Marc Newson (with a limited edition of the Orgone Chair), two installations for INTERNI Cross Vision (at the Statale, with San Patrignano, and at Eataly), an exhibition for the 40 years of Technogym in via Durini (40 designers who interpret the fitness bench), the curatorship of the Superdesign Show at Superstudio Più.

And, obviously, the art direction of Flaminia (with a one night only presentation with Nendo at the S32 roof garden) and the new Cappellini collections designed by young designers and planners of international caliber, with a limited edition of a piece of furniture from the Città series by Elena Salmistraro.

What do you expect from FuoriSalone 2024?

Giulio Cappellini: “Lots of energy, especially in the city. In the showrooms, increasingly numerous and active, with presentations, installations, talks. And, in general, in the various districts, where international comparison and the meeting between different cultures is growing.

At the Superdesign Show, which I curate at Superstudio Più, there will be many Asian companies, especially Korean and Japanese: which, having significantly raised the quality of their products, aim at the European market. A further demonstration that Milan is effectively a global crossroads for the world of furniture and design in general. Moreover, for two new tables that I will present in the showroom, I myself have chosen two young Asian designers: the Taiwanese Hsiang Han and the Japanese Daisuke Kitagawa.

What I then hope for is an overcoming of the obsession with style and a return to product quality. Because to make a space attractive all it takes is a person with good taste, but to create products that last, that make sense, that push the potential of industry and craftsmanship towards innovation, a system is needed. Which must be protected and strengthened, also through the creativity of designers.

Lastly, I think there will be less (nonsense) talk about sustainability because now, finally, we have understood that it is a serious thing, that it develops over time and that it is not a marketing story but the foundation of the way of doing design today" .

What are you looking for in young designers today?

Giulio Cappellini: “We don't need products but new concepts and ideas to build alternative landscapes: for homes but also for collective places , with high traffic. In young designers I therefore look for the ability to imagine how people want to live, travel, work, relax.

The tables that Hsiang Han designed for Cappellini, for example, are modular starting from three printed recycled nylon elements that form bases at different heights, with the top that can be added by someone on the other side of the world.

They are designed for a flexible, nomadic life, to be shipped flat pack anywhere and customized as you like, and this is what I'm referring to when I talk about new landscapes.

They are the same ones that the Master's students at the Istituto Marangoni also worked on: a collection of furnishings for theNo Code Generation, people who may be 20 or 50 years old but live on the move and when they move they bring with them some iconic pieces, designed to travel with them. The theme is strong, and important on a global level."

At the FuoriSalone he presents an exhibition on his forty-year relationship with Marc Newson. What is the point of telling the history of design today?

Giulio Cappellini: “It's fundamental. Because - returning to the theme of young people - a designer who does not know the archetypes of the past or who sees them simply as forms without grasping their revolutionary technical significance and in terms of materials, manufacturing and meaning, will never be able to create the new.

Telling the story of the objects that have made design great and also what lies behind - the relationships between people - is not a nostalgia operation but the exact opposite: an outpost to look to the future. ”

What will we see at the Marc Newson exhibition?

Giulio Cappellini: “We organized it on the occasion of the launch of the Taschen book on 40 years of Marc's activity. It is a journey that tells our story in stages: through the products but also our meetings because between us - as also with the other designers who grew up with me, Tom Dixon, Jasper Morrison etc – there is a real friendship, cemented over the years. And design, in the end, is born precisely from the elective affinities between people. The exhibition will also talk about this."

You also curated two installations for INTERNI Cross Vision. Can you tell us about them?

Giulio Cappellini: "At the University, the columns of the portico of the Cortile d'Onore will be covered with outdoor wallpaper with decorations - squares, lozenges - which reflect those typical of the Milanese houses of the thirties: resistant to water, they were handcrafted by boys from San Patrignano and show the craftsmanship acquired during the recovery path.

At Eataly, however, I created an installation that falls from above into the entrance atrium: a series of rice paper panels create a visually peaceful environment in the heart of the store while glass display cases, which seem to float in the air, showcase food elements such as wine, legumes, pasta, oil. I called it Food, Design, Happiness because I thought of it as an ode to food as a source of joy and tranquility, in its most essential, colourful, different image".

Cover photo: Giulio Cappellini, Spazio Cappellini Milan