Milan Design Week 2012 highlights: "il Salone del Mobile" (Milano)

Milan is often talked about as the capital of fashion, however many rival cities definitely challenge this state of things.

On the contrary, in the world of design the "salone del mobile", usually called Milan Design Week, remains strongly considered as the absolute reference for everything design-related. We know how loose the definition of the word 'design' can be so you can expect food, furniture, architecture, Do-It-Yourself craft, food (again!), parties, fashion, lots of public relations, product launches, socialites and more...

During this intense and festive week, Milan becomes more international than ever and every opportunity for brands and designers to gain visibility is caught while the audience is treated to many visual and food/drink delights.

You will find below a highly subjective selection of events that we have found worth mentioning. In view of our love for photography we will let pictures tell most of the story, with minimum text coming mainly from the official and brands' websites.

We look forward to your comments and additions to what we missed...

Buona visita !

Jardins Florian team


1. MOST - Museum of Science and Technology

"In a fit of spontaneous madness we decided that the world's most important meeting place for global design obsessives needed a new epicentre, a space for quiet contemplation or chaotic energy - a platform for the exchange of big ideas. (...) We have created a place where we can demonstrate the new democratisation and hyperactive innovation of technology in art, food, fashion, manufacturing and communication.Tom Dixon

MOST is a new and important destination instigated by British designer Tom Dixon, turning Milan's National Museum of Science and Technology into an ambitious environment for innovation and culture. In a creative partnership with Ambra Medda and Martina Mondadori, Tom Dixon has partnered with a diverse group of leading global brands and young designers which have been located in the extraordinary historic spaces of the museum from Tuesday 17 - Sunday 22 April 2012. This collision of technology, culture and design was one of Milan's highlights during Salone del Mobile 2012.

Positioned within walking distance from Zona Tortona, and minutes away from Rossana Orlandi, MOST has been a focus for a group of innovative and groundbreaking designers, curators and companies who share the same global brand attributes.

As Inhabitat blog puts it: "Through it all, MOST inspires us to consider the process as much as the product, and how our designs impact and improve our world." 

Tom Dixon interview by Dezeen

National Museum of Science and Technology - Photo Source: Dezeen

2. CARPIGIANI Gelato University - The Art of Gelato Making

Carpigiani Gelato University joined Tom Dixon at MOST to create a futuristic Anglo-Italian Gelateria.

In a Tom Dixon designed space, Masters from the world's most famous and prestigious gelato school have taught visitors about the elaborate process of making the traditional Italian treat and how to create their own gelato - unique and incomparable as is typical for Italian gelato - using the new Carpigiani EVD machine. The creative experiments were concluded with a tasting of the delicious treats and free gelato has been given away all week.

Photo Source: Carpigiani

3. DEZEEN Studio @ MOST

Dezeen, the design and architecture blog, and Jawbone join forces to present Dezeen Studio powered by Jambox, an innovative space where the Dezeen team will base themselves during the Salone del Mobile. Dezeen will record and broadcast interviews via a variety of web channels including DezeenScreen. Adjacent to the studio will be a JAMBOX pop-up shop created by Yves Béhar, where visitors will be able to experience and buy Jawbone’s award-winning JAMBOX speakers.

Dezeen Studio has been furnished by Dixon to resemble The Factory, the legendary studio established by Andy Warhol in New York in the sixties (see picture below).

The Factory, Andy Warhol's studio - Photo Source: Dezeen

Jambox, the wireless speaker system designed by Yves Behar for Jawbone.

Designer and social entrepreneur Yves Béhar was definitely very active during the show as visitors could also enjoy SodaStream cocktails served from the Soda Bar designed by Yves. Set against the dramatic backdrop of an actual cruise liner in MOST, the bar supplied fresh free drinks to all with no plastic bottles on site.

SodaStream bar by Yves Behar

Yves Béhar has joined forces with SodaStream to create an elegantly redesigned carbonating bottle for its home carbonation system which has been on show as part of the SodaStream bar. SodaStream is a completely reconceptualised new product line of the home soda system. Famed for his mantra of “reduce and refine” Béhar’s concept re-examines every element of the SodaStream system, including the interface, design and material selection, redefining the way it is used. The monolithic shape of SodaStream Source expresses the simple efficiency of the system while making a strong design statement in the kitchen. 

Sodastream is committed to reducing bottle waste; its reusable carbonating bottle is estimated to save 2000 bottles and cans in 3 years. SodaStream launched the “A World Without Bottles” campaign to raise awareness of plastic bottle waste and its devastating effects on the environment.

Photo Source: Fuse

EDITOR'S NOTE: Dezeen has been particularly important for Jardins Florian as they invited us very kindly to their Temporium store in London (December 2011) where we had for the first time a pop-up shop with our candles and our bike on display. So we seize this new opportunity to thank them for their constant promotion and support of new designers and brands.

4. MERCI's miniature version

MERCI, the Parisian concept store, installed a miniature version of its shop in collaboration with architect Paola Navone's in Super Studio, Via Tortona 31.

Not only they brought with them their signature red Fiat 500 (the original model!) but they displayed and sold furniture, tableware, notebooks, suitcases and home accessories, most products wearing Paola Navone's bold designs. Australian skin care brand Aesop was also part of the trip with a small corner.

Photo Source: Arlene Gibbs Decor

5. HERMES modular wall-covering system 

Hermès, unveiled in Milan "Module H", an inventive modular wall-covering system. Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has been invited by Hermès to create this modular screen and partition system for their home furnishing collection. We have also read that Hermès is about to open 40 home collection stores in 2012, which confirms if need be that Hermès is transforming its Home division into a significant business.

You can read Design Boom and Designs We Love for explanations as to how this modular system works or, even better, watch Module H full video presentation here on Hermès facebook page.

Photo Source: designboom

Photo Source: Hermès

6. ITALIA INDEPENDENT and SMEG: The Denim Fridge

Italian home appliances manufacturer Smeg and Italia Independent opened Milan’s Design Week on Monday paying a tribute to one of the most iconic pieces of Italian furniture. The companies created a limited edition version of the Fab 28, Smeg’s iconic fridge inspired by the Fifties, now covered with denim.

In order to guarantee a long-lasting performance, I-I realized with denim brand Care Label an exclusive fabric, which was treated with plasma to be waterproof and stain resistant. For the occasion, Smeg also reworked its 60-year-old logo introducing an Italian flag. 

We share the same love for Italy and the desire to combine tradition and innovation” said I-I founder Lapo Elkann, who revealed that the item presented at the Smeg store on Monday is just the starting point of a bigger collaboration. “We will do something cold in the heat” he said, as a clue about the next project with Smeg to be presented in the summer.

Deciding to re-work one of our most iconic and successful pieces was brave, but the risk paid off because we have already sold 500 pieces” highlighted Smeg CEO Vittorio Bertazzoni.

Photo Source: Smeg

For those who do not know, Lapo Elkann is so fond of denim that the interiors of his Ferrari have already received such a denim treatment!

Photo Source: How to Spend It

To be continued...