May 21, 2024

The 15th edition of the Brera Design District, curated by Studiolabo for FuoriSalone 2024, is growing fuller and brighter, not only in terms of the number of events (226 joining the circuit, with 260 present in the district area, along with 196 permanent showrooms) but also in terms of the depth of themes addressed, disciplines brought into play, and communication tools used.

Supporting the theme Materia Natura (Matter Nature) proposed by FuoriSalone Milano, the historic district has decided to trace a route recounting the intrinsic and manifest link between habitat and design. “We reflected on the importance of nature across the whole process in recent years, both in terms of showcasing and also creatively. It seemed immediate to us to associate it with matter. Just think about the recovery of materials or the construction of materials that can be defined as organic. This dimension led us to talk about sustainability without ever making the word explicit, remaining in continuity with past editions of FuoriSalone: ‘Forms of Living’, ‘Between Space and Time’ and ‘Future Laboratory’,” says Paolo Casati of Studiolabo.

Today, only through the ability to transform resources by following the principles of a circular economy and creating new life cycles for matter by studying nature’s virtuous behaviors can we imagine building a sustainable future. Humans, with their practices, values, sensitivities, skills and design principles matured and transmitted over time, become the lens through which the two concepts of matter and nature meet and overlap, manifesting themselves in harmony with each other in their relationship with human beings.

Referring to the central role of humans, Paolo Casati then stresses the importance of “design culture” as a red thread to explore the pairing of matter and nature. “We try to work by developing content that can feed a critical debate. To involve all the entities that adhere to the Brera Design District in interpreting the proposed theme with this spirit. We see solutions ranging from material innovation to service design, to art, to the domestic landscape, to technology and to home living, but what’s fundamental for us, as communicators, is to encapsulate all of this in a collective cultural discourse. We tried to bring forward this ‘immaterial’ level of the event while also providing physicality to the theme through the district projects and a site-specific immersive installation, an audiovisual work in the Portanuova district, in Piazza Gae Aulenti.”

Here, with five moving videos inside the space, there’s a whole section dedicated to conversations, hence the title “Materia Natura: Conversation with Portanuova”. Once again, the concept of dialogue and language is important. Intelligence, not only human, but also artificial. “AI is also part of the immaterial, and we’ve considered it. With Studiolabo, we developed memorIA, the memory game revisited with artificial intelligence in the creative sphere. The game becomes a moment of reflection.”

With a paper map in hand — which Studio Ianus depicts through different scenes, among neighborhood landmarks and modern and contemporary design classics — we set out to explore the district. Here, then, is our selection of the ten must-see showcases in the Brera Design District 2024, which aims to offer an overview of its multiple identities and characters, ranging from the impact of art installations and performances to the display of product innovation and experimentation, exploring the worlds of fashion, design, cars, watchmaking, monographic exhibitions and group shows.

Of course it’s a selection highlighting the international character of the Salone del Mobile event — an Italian showcase where more and more foreign entities look to display their own creative energy, often among exceptional locations, historic palaces (let’s not forget that FuoriSalone is also a chance to discover the often inaccessible wonders of the city) and contemporary spaces.

Lines of Flight by Porsche

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Lorenzo Bacci

The Lines of Flight installation by Porsche at FuoriSalone 2024

A massive installation occupies the courtyard of Palazzo Clerici. Large and light, a metal frame traces a pure geometric structure on which a two-tone, black and white net is woven. A group of people climb the nets, laugh, and lose their balance, only to immediately regain it. It’s a majestic immersive and social sculpture. The 5th edition of Porsche‘s international touring art and design series “The Art of Dreams”, launched in 2021, showcases “The Pattern of Dreams”. For the series of artworks inspired by the theme of dreams, the automotive company celebrates pattern, rhythm, symmetry and repetition at FuoriSalone 2024 with the installation “Lines of Flight” by design collective Numen/For Use, opened with a hypnotic dance performance by Dutch sibling duo Imre and Marne van Opstal to the original music of Amos Ben-Tal in collaboration with Salvador Breed, bringing the work to life. The monumental interactive artwork is inspired by the iconic “pepita” motif first proposed in the 356C, 911 Porsche. The taut, suspended net is like a “floating landscape” that relates to the public — visitors can climb it barefoot for a multidimensional experience — and the context, filtering the façade of the building through its weave. The message it conveys flaunts a social character: eschewing any system of control, it’s a place of escape, transition, fantasy and freedom. It refers to the act of escaping, flowing, leaving and dissolving into the distance. We feel protected inside something, and at the same time strongly connected to the outside, the sun, the air, the colors of the sky. Just like the feeling we get when speeding in a car at high speeds.

Palazzo Clerici
Via Clerici, 5

from April 16 to 21, 2024
10:00 AM – 8:00 PM

ADI Design Museum

la mostra l’attimo prima di francesco binfaré curata da silvana annicchiarico e promossa da edrapinterest
Lorenzo Bacci

The Flap sofas by Edra on display in the “The Moment Before” exhibit by Francesco Binfaré at the ADI Design Museum

For this edition of FuoriSalone Milano, the ADI Design Museum digs deeper into the program of the Brera Design District, proposing a series of temporary exhibitions that aim to contribute to the dissemination and enhancement of design culture on a national and international level, reaffirming the principle on which it was founded — not as a celebratory museum, but a research museum. The three exhibitions we’ve included here in our guide interpret this philosophy in different ways: exploring a great Italian “author”, the sensitivity of a people and the potential of a material. We start, then, with Francesco Binfaré’s “The Moment Before”, curated by Silvana Annicchiarico and promoted by Edra, a company for which he made unique sofas like Flap, Standard, On the Rocks, and Pack. “It’s not a monographic exhibition, a retrospective or a showcase for the company that produces his pieces,” says the curator, “but an exhibition with autobiographical traits, elements linked to the events of life and capturing the urgencies of contemporaneity. Binfaré is a man who loves history, but who doesn’t bask in nostalgia for the past; he is full of visions, with a tension toward the future, but that is not where he lives, nor is he a man rooted in the present. If I had to locate the space where he’s situated, it’s in the moment before.” Hence the title, which accounts not only for the way the “author” works, but also for how his imagery has been formed and layered over the years through drawings, sculptures, poems, biodance, and sofas. They are all expressions of a complex personality that in the installation is composed of all these elements, tracing the profile of a contemporary diviner, able to feel with his heart and head what’s happening, the need for relationships, the climate emergency, the urgency to get in touch with nature, a moment before these things happen.

la mostra origin of simplicity 20 visions of japanese design con progetto di allestimento di kenya hara che raggruppa in alberi le opere che sono espressione di una stessa qualitàpinterest
Lorenzo Bacci

The “Origin Of Simplicity 20 Visions of Japanese Design” exhibit at the ADI Design Museum

We move on to “Origin Of Simplicity 20 Visions of Japanese Design”, curated by Rossella Menegazzo, which presents more than 150 works of Japanese design. The peculiarities that emerge are essentiality of form, extreme attention to detail, and the originality of each piece while maintaining the continuity of tradition, combined with technological and engineering research that develops new materials and the recycling of waste materials. In the installation by Kenya Hara, the pathway created in the center of the museum hall — raised on a platform where visitors can walk without shoes — is like a forest through which to stroll. Each tree groups works that are expressions of the same quality, unprecedented juxtapositions of works by different designers and artisans through which the theme of simplicity is articulated by attributing keywords that assist in their understanding: emptiness (ku), space or silence (ma), sometimes read as poverty (wabi) and consumption related to use over time (sabi), and other times as asymmetry, non-definiteness and imperfection. They’re concepts rooted in various philosophical thoughts belonging to this culture: from Zen Buddhism to Shinto animist thought, almost opposed to Western rationality. Surrounded by ADI’s permanent Historical Compasso d’Oro Collection, The Spoon and the City, the exhibition — produced by ADI Design Museum with The Museum Box — is also an opportunity for a reinterpretation of the relationship between Japanese design and Made in Italy tradition and its intrusive capacity, underlined by the various collaborations of iconic Italian design brands with Japanese designers awarded the Compasso d’Oro.

la mostra dbew design beyond east and west 2024 che esplora le potenzialità del materiale ottchil in tavolini colorati che rendono omaggio a alessandro mendinipinterest
Lorenzo Bacci

The DBEW exhibition|Design Beyond East and West 2024 at the ADI Design Museum

Promoted by the Oriental Culture and Design Center (OCDC) and the ADI Design Museum in Milan in collaboration with the embassies of both countries (this year marks the 140th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and Italy), the DBEW | Design Beyond East and West 2024 exhibition highlights the connection between Made in Italy tradition and Korean design with its importance for the Italian production system. Ottchil Design – OD / KOREA 옷칠디자인 expresses the potential of the material Ottchil, a traditional Korean lacquer made from the sap of the Ott-chil tree, which stands out as an extraordinary material that combines durability and natural beauty. It’s a timeless material that, thanks to the fusion of modern production techniques with traditional methods, expands its use from small artifacts to furnishings of considerable size. The incorporation of different colors captures a sense of tradition by echoing a contemporary feel paying homage to Alessandro Mendini, transcending East and West.
ADI Design Museum
Piazza Compasso d’Oro 1
From April 16 to 21, 2024
10:30 AM – 8:00 PM

A place of making by AlUla

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Lorenzo Bacci

The Hall Haus sofa and the Surface! metal screen within the A place of making exhibit by AlUla at the Santa Teresa Mediateca

If you’re not familiar with AlUla and you’re hoping to get a feel for its incredible allure, Brera’s Mediateca Santa Teresa is a must-see. AlUla is a desert oasis region in northwestern Saudi Arabia, where for thousands of years it has been a natural crossroads for inter-regional trade and cultural exchange. It vaunts incredible geological features and ancient archaeological sites, but AlUla is also a source of inspiration for the designers and artists who have immersed themselves in the territory through the AlUla Design Residency program. There, they have the opportunity to stay and enjoy interactions with local communities and their surroundings, as well as Design Space AlUla, the first permanent gallery dedicated to design in AlUla, located in the creative AlJadidah Arts District. FuoriSalone Milan 2024 is an opportunity to immerse yourself, if only for a few moments, in its vibrant atmosphere. Thanks to the installation curated by CLOUD / Studio Sabine Marcelis for the Royal Commission for AlUla, visitors can experience the light of the region, at first blinding, then warm and soft, changing from white to orange, its materiality emerging through wood, textiles, clay, leather, and the magical spirit of the endless desert, with its dunes, palm trunks, impressive stones, chamomile flowers and all the typical grasses of the desert. Above all, however, it’s the creative spirit that animates the young artists that emerges here. In the center of the main hall, the large Hall Haus sofa is a metaphor for this sense of shared energy. The cushions and takaya of domestic interiors, semi-public diwans and outdoor cafes are the hubs of AlUla’s social life. The large seat, on which visitors can embrace a moment of respite barefoot, sipping a wonderful Oriental spiced coffee, explores the ways in which these cushions can be reimagined and repurposed, laying the ground for a place of cultural encounters and exchanges, not to mention regeneration. The entire set allows visitors to visualize the region’s dynamic work that begins with materials — mud, straw, steel, palm fronds, beeswax, natural cellulose and bioplastics — giving life to works that reinvent traditional craftsmanship in a contemporary key, while using new techniques like 3D printing to inhabit a realm between sculpture and everyday objects.
Mediateca Santa Teresa
Via Moscova, 28
From April 15 to 21, 2024
10:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Mattter in Movement by Grand Seiko

grandseiko ha realizzato una foresta di betulle bianche e alternati ai tronchi ci sono delle teche di vetro con gli orologipinterest
Lorenzo Bacci

The Japanese white birch forest by Grand Seiko at Casa Brera

Another natural space to recover a bit of energy, though at a different latitude. From desert dunes we move on to Japanese white birch forests. The historic watchmaking brand Grand Seiko recreates a real forest inside its space in Casa Brera. Visitors can enjoy an enveloping experience, touching and smelling the “materia-natura” whose vital movement is perceived. The forest breathes to the sound of Grand Seiko watch models that are displayed in glass totems alternate with the trunks. Here you can try Shinrin-yoku, a famous Japanese meditation technique made possible through the reproduction of the real forest. Meanwhile, in a second area, a contemporary, digital environment aims to evoke the “urban forest”, a theater where matter finds its transformation through human intervention. Through vertical led-walls, visitors are catapulted into a contemporary metropolis whose dynamism symbolizes the transformation of everything. Of course you can also admire two exclusive models from the Kodo collection, delving into their movement.
Casa Brera
Via Formentini, 10
From April 16 to 21, 2024
10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Ronan Bouroullec – A Dialogue on Ceramics by Mutina

collezione di rivestimenti ceramici bottone di mutina moduli di piastrelle rettangolari le cui sagome danno vita a un gioco di pieni e vuoti rivelando motivi attraverso le fughepinterest
Lorenzo Bacci

The Bottone collection of ceramic claddings by Ronan Bouroullec displayed in the “A Dialogue on Ceramics” showcase by Mutina

Mutina, a leading brand in the field of ceramic coverings, presents a monograph on the work of Ronan Bouroullec. It’s a real journey through the French designer’s creations, which for the first time in the company’s history strikes a dialogue on the use of the material between outdoor and indoor environments, enhancing the connection between design and contemporary art. In doing so, the exhibition winds through the spaces of Casa Mutina Milano, occupying the garden and loft of the adjacent Spazio Cernaia as well. These three stages emphasize the versatility and expressive power of the new collections of ceramic surfaces, always juxtaposed with the new Editions: a series of vases and a modular candelabra produced in a limited edition, drawing inspiration from bucolic and natural imagery. The tour begins, then, with the presentation of the indoor collections, where a succession of rooms feature a wall clad in Osso and Bottone: rectangular tile modules whose silhouettes breathe life into a game of volumes and voids, revealing patterns through its joints. On the other wall, Adagio presents a series of ceramic modules designed to be assembled as scenic wall sculptures. Meanwhile, in the outdoor garden, Osso and Bottone reveal an optical vibration capable of blurring the original geometries and opening a dialogue between the collection and the natural world it faces. In the loft of Spazio Cernaia, large compositions of Adagio emerge from a brilliant white background, recounting the poetics behind the project: photographs of the assembly of individual pieces, the slowness that accompanies it, and the musicality of time in a sophisticated interplay of joints.
Casa Mutina Milano & Spazio Cernaia
Via Cernaia 1°
From April 15 to 21, 2024
10:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Design Duo Double Feature by FENIX

match un classico tavolo da pranzo con una piegatura centrale che lo trasforma in un tavolo da ping pong inbetween una struttura modulare che possiede due facce scaffale contenitore e specchiopinterest
Lorenzo Bacci

The Inbetween bookcase and the Match table within the FENIX® setup at FENIX Scenario

It’s more refined work on surfaces by FENIX®, a manufacturer of innovative interior design materials with an exterior surface made of acrylic resins, together with Broadview Holding’s brands Arpa®, Formica® and Homapal®. Thanks to the curation by Federica Sala within FENIX Scenario, visitors will find six products investigating the varied potential of the material, starting from the concept of the double. “In order to recount the extreme versatility of FENIX®, alone or combined with other materials, we thought of multiplying the minds involved in the project so as to stimulate lateral thinking and, consequently, designs that are also double — in form, function, transformation…” explains Sala. “Design Duo Double Feature is therefore an exploration of the possibilities in using and applying a surface material to objects. Embracing the trend of customization in interior design that has seen an increase in “tailor-made” solutions, six pairs of designers — CARA \ DAVIDE, DWA Design Studio, Martinelli Venezia, Næssi Studio, mist-o and Zanellato/Bortotto — give life to furnishings with new multifaceted functions, embracing aspects like transformability, mobility, sustainability and versatility. The installation itself, from design duo Studioboom, transforms the environment by connecting indoor and outdoor spaces through the design of a single white three-dimensional geometry in FENIX®. White, just like the interior backdrop that frames Match, a classic dining table with a central fold that transforms it into a ping-pong table; Ambo, a seat that recalls the aesthetics of corrugated cardboard, created through the combination of two chairs that match perfectly; Duo, two rocking chairs that support each other by remaining balanced only when used by two people; Inbetween, a modular structure that possesses two faces, a storage shelf and mirror; 1-2 many, sculptural volumes created through the regular repetition of a module; and Theia, a floor lamp designed to store and display precious objects.

FENIX Scenario
Foro Buonaparte, 66
from April 16 to 21, 2024
10:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Saint-Louis

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Lorenzo Bacci

The Chamade collection of decorative objects by artist Pierre-Marie Agin for Saint-Louis

Against the striking backdrop of the Sacrestia delle Chiesa del Carmine (a must-see for those looking to explore Milan’s most fascinating spaces), Saint-Louis showcases the skill and beauty of its artisans’ work in crystal and glass. Europe’s first crystal manufacturer (founded in 1586) entrusts designer Stefania di Petrillo with the task of expressing the spirit of innovation, honoring traditions. Her Torsade collection (pictured in opening) features a highly contemporary aesthetic and functionality, enhanced by the refinement of classic details that distinguish the brand. The arms of the chandeliers, developed on a new repertoire of forms — U-shaped, rings, or rather “curls” — no longer have the traditional function of supporting candles, and later bulbs, but become sources of light themselves thanks to a technology that illuminates them from within. In doing so, they emerge from their usual two-dimensional development to embrace a third dimension. Sparking a dialogue with the historic charm of its context, the light installation articulates the motif of the arm — standing alone or connected in up to 18 combinations — composing table lamps, wall sconces, pendant lamps and chandeliers.

Meanwhile, outside, Chamade by artist Pierre-Marie Agin revisits the beauty of hand-carving techniques through the interpretation of Saint-Louis archival details, crafting unique and colorful decorative objects (pictured here).
Cloister and monumental sacristy
Church of Santa Maria del Carmine
Piazza del Carmine, 2
From April 16 to 21, 2024
10:30 AM – 6:30 PM

MCM Wearable Casa Collection by Atelier Biagetti

mind teaser un oggetto trasformativo, sgabello o sedia o ancora un tavolino color argento fa parte della collezione wearable casa collectionpinterest
Lorenzo Bacci

MCM Wearable Casa Collection, the installation by Atelier Biagetti for MCM, curated by Maria Cristina Didero at Palazzo Cusani

The seventeenth-century Palazzo Cusani hosts MCM, a historic German luxury fashion and accessories brand making their debut at Milan Design Week 2024 with an innovative, ironic and rebellious collection: MCM Wearable Casa. Conceived by Atelier Biagetti and curated by Maria Cristina Didero, the showcase unfolds within the rooms recreating surreal settings with a seriously scenic impact. Here, objects transcend their traditional roles and become tools to transport the visitor to other worlds. They include Pet Backpack, a backpack for pets; Clepsydra, a lantern with a lampshade that becomes a hat; Tatamu, from daybed to tatami; Mind Teaser, a transformative object, stool, chair or even small table; Gilet, a wearable storage container; Chatty Sofa, a sofa with a transportable cushion and integrated charging device; and Space Cabinet Series, three objects of different sizes with dual functions, a bag and jewel, a container and light, an exercise ball or seat. Overall, travel is the concept that animates the exhibition. The seven portable and multifunctional pieces allow people to keep a piece of home with them at all times, making their way through the world and embodying the lifestyle of a digital nomad. In fact, the collection also considers our travels into the metaverse, thanks to a game that allows you to discover the various pieces with an avatar. “The feeling we want to recreate is something you have never seen before, a place between past, present and future. The exhibition is conceived as a hybrid space, with two sides and ways to enter: reality and metaverse, so that you can enjoy the experience remotely. It is an exhibition which lives out and after itself, making Palazzo Cusani’s rooms an extension to another world, where everything becomes magic and infinite,” say Alberto Biagetti and Laura Baldassari. A tale of the exciting possibilities of tomorrow.
Palazzo Cusani
Via Brera, 13/15,
From April 15 to 21, 2024
10:00 AM – 7:30 PM

Red Takeover and Silver Dome by Diesel

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Lorenzo Bacci

The Red Takeover hall of the Red Takeover and Silver Dome exhibit by Diesel

Lively and eccentric, Red Takeover and Silver Dome is the home according to Diesel. The line of Diesel Living products with Moroso, Lodes, Iris Ceramica and Scavolini furnish three rooms playing on the colors of red and silver. The first, Red Takeover, dips into Diesel red, with walls entirely covered in the lacquered ceramic Melt tiles and a crimson carpet creating a powerful backdrop for Diesel Living lighting. The path continues through the Red Tunnel, covered in red Vynil tiles from the Diesel Living line with Iris Ceramica, leading to the Silver Dome. Here the entire space is wrapped in 3D crumpled metallic silver foil framing the collections: a Brutalist dining room and living room with the furnishings of Diesel Living and Moroso, including the new D-uffle Sofa in red technical canvas, inspired by utility accessories, and the bedroom, also with laminated walls. In the last room, visitors will find the Get Together kitchen by Diesel Living with Scavolini. An understated white box with wraparound gray industrial-style cabinets, an enormous mirror and Alurock floors by Diesel Living with Iris Ceramica complete the space.
Brera Site
Via delle Erbe, 2A, Milan
From April 15 to 21, 2024
10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Design Palazzo Austria

una serie di oggetti, lampade, vasi, accessori per la tavola su un telo color porporapinterest
Lorenzo Bacci

The “Design Palazzo Austria” showcase features the best of Austrian design selected by Advantage Austria, on display at Palazzo Confalonieri

At Palazzo Confalonieri (the Convention Hall of the Fondazione Cariplo) we’re welcomed by the hospitality of Advantage Austria, a foreign trade promotion organization of the Austrian Chamber of Economy. The red thread here is actually purple, with over thirty interior design manufacturers and designers tell the story of Austrian creativity in “Design Palazzo Austria”, a creative concept created by architects Vasku & Klug that starts in the gardens and winds its way through rooms full of stories. Clad in the color that represents the ancient and highest nobility for Austria, the majestic rooms are decorated with furnishings for the home, bathroom, office and commercial spaces, from lamps and home accessories to tableware made exclusively from materials like wood, metal and more, using handcrafted techniques interpreted in a contemporary key. The exhibition is spread over two floors and transforms each room into a microcosm in its own right as an interplay of colors, styles and materials. A perfect combination of the classic style of the location and contemporary Austrian design.
Palazzo Confalonieri – Fondazione Cariplo Convention Hall
Via Romagnosi, 8, Milano
From April 16 to 21, 2024
10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

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