Milan furniture fair

Since someone mentioned it in another thread, I thought I’d start another to get some discussion going.

Did anyone here attend Milan this year? What was the most memorable thing(s) you saw on display?

I’ve never been myself, although from what I’ve seen in photos and read, it could be described as if ICFF and High Point were held in the same city at the same time. Not only are many there to sell (i.e. High Point) but many are also there to show off new ideas and concepts (i.e. ICFF).

Is Milan really that great? In the many photo albums I’ve browsed through, the most interesting stuff seems to be the indie designers presenting concepts that are pretty far from production (or so I assume…). The more well-known manufacturers have well-done displays, but the furniture is often lacking in my opinion.

The actual Furniture Trade Fair, is the Salone del Mobile.

In the ‘design’ section, which is about a quarter of it, only 20% of the companies in this section are actually interesting.

Its a disaster if you take a wrong turn and find yourself in the ‘classic’ pavilion…so very kitsch, baroque and grotesque…very un-hip…
searching for the exit in a sea of ornament. I guess starck and wanders
took that wrong turn some years back.

The Salone Satellite is also on the Main Fair grounds and with thousands of new ideas on display, this can be a breathe of fresh air … or completely
suffocating…it is difficult not to get ‘chicken head’ in the Satellite.

And then there is Fuori Salone which means everthing scattered around the city…lots of stuff.

What was memorable for me this year:

In the fiera: Maybe the Moroso stand, as its vertical moving walls made everyone feel sick.

Vitra…leaps and bounds ahead.

At the Salone Satellite: second hand knives cut to become bottle openers by

That docdecahedron sound sculpture in the middle of the room.

SUperstudio: umbrella-like stool by Patick Jouin at Materialise, which was printed in its closed form, hinges and all, to save space.

Established & Sons was good, very grand presentation…but you have to be english if you want to design for them. I liked Jasper morrison’s crates. Just crates…really nice compared to the super fibreglass forms by Zaha Hadid.

Open Your Mind : Elmes (a japanese doorhandle company launching its brand in europe)…who commissioned designers to come up with very loose interpreations of OPen/Close…which led to a very interesting
and well executed exhibition. The prototypes were perfect. Japanese Saki guys in bandanas and Karate suits served Saki from large vats with wooden spoons into little boxes in the end they were all were completely hammered.

Bar Basso: the bar that is always packed with designers and wannabes …a drunk guy drove his BMW into the crowd on the Saturday night. Ive heard at least 3 completely different versions of the same event but im sure no one was injured.

Overall whats great is that there are some many characters from all over the world, so many languages being spoken so many people to meet, contacts to be made. Chances are you bump into people you know from other things or from other years and start to get a sense of a design community.

The first time I went to the fair I was blown away beyond belief. Each year you go back of course, the laws of diminishing returns takes effect, not to mention much of these brands can be found in the USA now.

But yes, it is that great. The sheer size of the Design area is staggering, and Modern is not too bad - worth a walk through the first time you go. Consider that this year was also the kitchen and bath segment - another 3 enormous buildings worth. They had to build a temporary building just for the Satellite, even though the fairgrounds are brand new this year. (IMHO the inventiveness of the satellite has worn off a bit - less standout ideas than usual).

Then of course you have the entire Interni city guide book to check out for each day’s showroom events in the city… too much to see in 4 days. Next time I am taking the entire week.

two years back i went to visit andrea branzi in milan on my way to iran. so he told me to meet him at this gallery 7:00pm via solferino exhibit he did with sotsass.

same old andrea with his weird designs and concepts. he was like half an hour late. when i told him he’s late he yelled at me “midispiace non sono alla tua disposizone- sorry i’m not at your disposition!”

Milan Fair Photo Gallery

Core77’s official photographer hit the fairgrounds for five days and captured as much as he could in that time.


no machine gun lamp this year? damn, my collection is still incomplete.

a few interesting items, a lot of merit badge-looking stuff, i give it a rating of “craptacular”. apparently my job is safe for another year.