One of the world’s most prestigious annual expositions, Milan Design Week weaves together boutique events, immersive pop-up installations and one sprawling, spectacular fair known as Salone del Mobile. The citywide celebration presents carefully curated and often awe-inspiring exhibitions dedicated to textiles, wall coverings, furniture and decor. Surprise and delight are prerequisites and, for most brands and Italian design institutions, so is public access.
The items honored during Milan Design Week 2022 stretched from reissues of legendary accessories—like Flos’s Arco K, an exquisite limited edition update to Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni’s arching 1962 floor lamp, now featuring an optical-grade crystal base—to fixtures that represent the future of interiors, as seen through Lee Broom’s haunting Requiem collection, which the London-based designer made by hand. There were instances of timeless Italian collectible design, evidenced by Federika Longinotti Buitoni’s Collecto tableware collection, and technological milestones, like the Silente noise canceling chair.
Speckling the city between all of these design brand activations, fashion maisons debuted their own sets of astonishing objects for the home. “Fashion entered the design world with intention,” explained furniture designer Marta Sala, whose exquisite chairs are used in Hermès and Loro Piana boutiques. In fact, many of the most memorable moments and covetable collections this Milan Design Week were imagined by Italian design brands with international fashion collaborators, or fashion and jewelry brands with design collections. A few highlights, below.
Presented in the interior courtyard of Palazzo Isimbardi, an 18th century palace, Loewe’s Weave, Restore, Renew exhibition featured three distinct projects unified by the idea of offering new life to forgotten items. Utilizing colorful leather string, artisans in Spain repaired 240 unique baskets sourced from around the world. These reborn objects lined the walls of the exhibit while, in the center, sculptural fringed raincoats—reminiscent of thatched roofs—were displayed. Each had been crafted using an ancient Galician technique known as Coroza. Additionally, Loewe presented a tote collaboration with Young Soon Lee, composed of woven recycled newspapers. Altogether, it was transportive.
Few armchairs are as recognizable as Italian architect and designer Mario Bellini’s bulbous, beloved Le Bambole for B&B Italia, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this Milan Design Week. To honor the icon, the contemporary furniture brand tapped Stella McCartney for a uniquely unconventional iteration featuring a hand-drawn mushroom pattern, known as Fungi Forest Burgundy.
Composed of curious and frequently colorful creations, the Louis Vuitton Objets Nomades collection found the historic maison collaborating with several of the world’s most imaginative designers. This year’s artistic roster included Atelier Oï, Patricia Urquiola, the Campana Brothers, and the studio of Marcel Wanders (who recently announced his departure from the world of design). In Milan, a multi-level design wonderland was dedicated to the collection and allowed each eccentric item to converse with those around it.
Four glowing geometric sculptures, each resembling a variation of a water tower, hosted the most recent Hermès home collection in the Brera Design District. With light and lightness as central themes, these hollow, radiant structures housed porcelain pieces, furniture, design objects and—for the first time—cashmere textiles worthy of the Hermès name. Blankets and bedspreads alluded to historic patterns and utilized patchwork and quilting techniques that emphasized internal geometries.
Debuted alongside a live ceramics workshop in Brunello Cucinelli’s Milan boutique, designer and architect Daniel Germani’s limited edition ceramic cup referenced the bales of cashmere utilized by the Italian luxury knitwear brand. Its elegant, clean aesthetic mirrored that of Brunello Cucinelli, who only sold the vessel on site the day of the event. All proceeds from the item were donated to the Franceso Morelli Foundation.
Forgoing large-scale installations and limited edition releases, Prada participated in Milan Design Week by hosting a series of engaging conversations in a symposium entitled “Prada Frames,” curated by design studio FormaFantasma. Staged among the stacks of Milan’s National Braidense Library, the stimulating multidisciplinary discourse—themed On Forest—paired architects and designers with scientists and scholars, with session subject matter ranging from “narrating” to “sensing” and “inhabiting.”
The Medallion Chair has been an undeniable brand signature since it premiered in 1947 at Christian Dior’s 30 Avenue Montaigne atelier, channeling a distinct Louis XVI style. It has since been reimagined time and again by some of the world’s most renowned designers, including this year’s minimal, polished aluminum Miss Dior by Philippe Starck iteration. This wasn’t Starck’s only contribution to Milan Design Week: he also partnered with Baccarat on ethereal chandeliers, home accessories and crystal jewelry.
The centerpiece of Italian luxury furniture manufacturer Cassina’s Milan flagship, the Modular Imagination installation was composed of two different sized building blocks imagined by the late Virgil Abloh (which were completed before his passing). The exhibit, enveloped in bright orange, demonstrated the power of modular units by presenting each block—both sturdy and cushioned to the touch—in various configurations.
Within the walls of Milan’s historic Casa Campanini, a 12,000-square-foot Art Nouveau palace built in 1903 and acquired by Ralph Lauren in 1999, Ralph Lauren Home debuted their stately Fall 2022 collection, aptly entitled Palazzo Ralph Lauren. The invitation-only destination incorporated Ralph’s Milan, an upscale outdoor dining experience at the heart of the palazzo, though the real star of the show was the collection. The elegant Fall 2022 furnishings—which include the handsome Bradburn Chesterfield Sofa, the ornate Ellsworth Bar Cabinet and an eclectic range of well-crafted pieces with classic Ralph Lauren accents—felt right at home in the textured rooms of the palazzo.
Italian heritage house Ginori 1735, in operation for almost three centuries, unveiled an enchanting Profumi Luchino fragrance collection in collaboration with artist and designer Luke Edward Hall, founder of the Chateau Orlando fashion label. For its inception, Hall referenced five international destinations that have influenced him: Venice, The Cotswolds, Marrakech, Rajasthan, and Big Sur. The candles have been cast by hand, and feature evocative illustrations of dwellings imagined by the artist.
On the terrace of Portaluppi’s Palace, now the headquarters of prestigious Italian high-jewelry house Buccellati, four acclaimed designers assembled installations in mirrored cubes that reflected views of Milan in all directions. Inside each of these immersive exhibits were scenes utilizing Buccellati’s porcelain Galateo homewares collection, designed in collaboration with Ginori 1735, along with the brand’s classic silver pieces. Stefano Boeri Interiors designed the presentation, with curation by Federica Sala, who tapped collaborators with ties to Italy: Milan’s Dimore Studio, designers Ashley Hicks, Chahan Minassian, and Patricia Urquiola.
The acclaimed Venetian lighting experts of Lodes opened their first showroom in Milan, anchored by a stunning new modular collaboration with Oslo-based architecture and design firm Snøhetta, known as Volum. Also within the ebullient space, visitors could find Lodes’s radiant multi-piece partnership with Diesel Home, the decor division of the Italian fashion retailer.
During Milan Design Week, Dolce&Gabbana invited guests to experience four vibrant Casa collections at their first-ever home decor stores in Milan, all of which opened earlier this year. From the animal-inspired Zebra and Leo (or, leopard) to the kaleidoscopic Carretto (which references Sicilian carts) and the Mediterranean Blue (and its nod to the classic tile pattern), each incorporated a multitude of exuberant furniture and decor additions.