Milano Design City: The Return of Milan

Twelve days in late autumn showed the beginnings of a rebirth for the world capital of design.

The first European city hit hard by COVID-19, some estimates put Milan’s economic losses at €10 billion: a deep hole to climb out of post-pandemic. But doing what Milan does best — investing in quality design — that climb began with Milano Design City, a program where from September 28 to October 10 more than 230 physical and digital events were organized with the participation of all the design districts around the city and included exhibitions, showroom openings, new products launches or re-editions and debates. After the bruising of Salone del Mobile’s cancellation in April, it is encouraging to see the city regain its creativity.

GetLucky & Ruff | Moroso

These “sister” armchairs designed by Patricia Urquiola experiment with binary geometry to combine their seat parts and backrests to great effect. Created for dining, the soft backrest of GetLucky wraps around the back like a ribbon before interweaving with the comfortable seat. This dialogue between shapes becomes more solemn and sculptural in Ruff, designed for the contract and hospitality sectors. The wide armrests lie on the sides of the seat section and wrap around it firmly, even though they have just one single joint. Both are available in a variety of fabrics and leathers.

Taba | Moroso

Swiss/Argentinian designer Alfredo Häberli has created an eight-piece collection that includes a sofa, two armchairs, a bench and four ottomans and is named after an old Argentinian rural game where a cow’s bone is affixed to two metal plates and then thrown. How that applies to the furniture is a bit of a mystery.

Casilda Daybed | Talenti

Spanish architect Ramon Esteve’s daybed collection uses a natural palette of materials and shapes that merge quite cleverly with the play of the light and shadows, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Riviera Collection | Talenti

This outdoor collection of sofas, chairs, deckchairs, tables, coffee tables and sun loungers designed by Jean Philippe Nuel subtly combines fabric, ceramic and leather with an aluminum structure in a fairly sophisticated design. The lines can be adapted to suit a contract or residential or even nautical context.

Anima | Salvatori

The company’s first collaboration with Canadian powerhouse Yabu Pushelberg is a bathroom range with distinctly amorphic, organic form. Using four different stones including Bianco Carrara, Crema d’Orcia, Pietra d’Avola and Gris du Marais, Glenn and George applied, as they say, “the sensibilities of clay to marble” to express the material’s sensuous capacity.

Curl | Salvatori

Taking inspiration from Michelangelo’s remark that he only “chipped away at stone that was in excess,” the Piero Lissoni-designed chaise longue has been “revealed” from a block of natural stone using cutting-edge CAD/CAM technology to push the material to its limits. Both an engineering achievement as well as an elegant, simple interpretation of an established design.

Mattonelle Margherita | Mutina

Working with artist Nathalie Du Pasquier, this complex tile collection is characterized by a duality of, on one hand, a simple, minimalist style evident in the plain-coloured elements; and on the other a courageous, creative approach characterized by a large variety of graphics composed of 41 different patterns, all designed by hand. An anti-slip finish is also available upon request.

Lud’o Lounge Chair | Cappellini

Designed by Patricia Urquiola, this relaxing armchair is defined not by removable upholstery but “wearable upholstery.” Upon a supporting structure made of recycled plastic is a “soft dress” made of different fabrics or leathers, which like Milan’s other great industry – fashion – can be changed to create new moods.

Gong Circus | Cappellini

This variant of the Gong coffee table is characterized by thin, rigorous lines and represents a tribute to graphics reminiscent of the Fifties, in particular the designs of Alexander Girard. Designed by Giulio Cappellini, the collection is available in three variants: white/black; brick red/orange; and green/dark green.

Android | Antrax

Seen in Casa Cappellini during the fair, Daniel Libeskind’s first radiator is more sculpture than  technical product, appearing to be made from a sheet of paper and recalling Japanese origami, folded and folded over again. Available with electric and hot-water connections, the concept shows a major focus on sustainability issues, thanks to the use of recyclable material and requiring very little water content.