Milan Highlights by guest contributor Angela Ferguson.

The event is officially called Salone Internazionale del Mobile (or I Saloni) and this year was held from 22-27 April at the fairgrounds known as Fiera Milano in Rho, Italy. There are 24 halls at the fairgrounds in use for the exhibition (each hall is about the size of all the halls at Darling Harbour or the Melbourne Exhibition Centre) and it’s a 1.5 kilometer walk from one end of the event to the other.

We spent 5 nights and 4 days in Milan, so really condensed a LOT into that time. We had two very full days at the fair and saw as much as we possibly could of the furniture fair, the lighting fair and Satellite which is the under 35’s show. We then had a full day at Zona Tortona which is a creative design district devoted to innovative projects and events, and then one day walking around Milan itself to see places like the Duomo and the Galleria Vittoria Emmanuelle II. This is a gorgeous covered arcade, home to many Italian designer labels and also the location of the very first Prada store.

The Milan fair is inspiring on so many levels. Almost 3.5million people attended this year from all around the world, with the exhibition space completely sold out and nearly 500 companies on a waiting list to be involved. The only sign of the GFC was perhaps a bit less new product and a bit more development of existing product, but with environmental concerns becoming more widespread this may not necessarily be a bad thing?

From a designer’s perspective it was fantastic to be part of I Saloni. Not only was there the fair itself and Zona Tortona, it seemed that every hotel, coffee shop and retail store was geared up to be part of the fair. Rinascente, one of the main department store chains in Italy, handed over their windows to designers such as Patricia Urquiola, David Chipperfield and the Campana brothers to create installations along various themes. There were lots of partnerships between designers and manufacturers (Diesel + Moroso was one of my favourites) and it was a real thrill to be in a city so obviously enthralled with design and architecture.

01. Some fellow Aussies on the Street
02. Dedon at Zona Tortona
03. New Soundwave from Offecct
04. That crazy Karim
05. Softblack and Softwall by Molo
06. The Duomo all nice and clean
07. The Original Prada Milano
08. Flos Stand
09. Funniest product at Satellite – Waldrom
10. Diesel for Moroso

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