Starting 12 April and lasting almost a full week until 17 April, Milan is a Mecca of international design and architecture. In FieraMilano, just outside the centre of Milan, all this week you will find one of the biggest assemblies of furniture and interior designs. This part of design week requires an entrance fee and for most visitors also a whole lot of planning – but more on this later.
Inside the city itself, the town is organised into eight design districts, each offering an ambience and atmosphere in itself. Danish participation this week is mostly to be found in the Brera, Tortona and Lambrate districts.
In my mind
Entering the Filological Institute in Milan and thereby also the exhibition of The Danish Arts Foundation during this hectic week of Design in Milan is probably just as mind-blowing as when scientists first started exploring the human mind. Up till about 200 years ago, scientists thought the human mind was divided into several sectors, run by one engine, feeding energy, thoughts and feelings to each another. Today, this way of thinking has inspired Danish-Italian design duo GamFratesi in their curation of MINDCRAFT16.
Eighteen different designers have given their take on the theme ‘In my mind’, which is showcased on several circular platforms rotated by one engine transporting energy, thoughts and feelings to the audience. For the occasion, the whole scene is covered in a red custom-made carpet from the Danish carpet maker Ege.
”We worked with the colour red in a big carpet installation, because we want the audience to feel like it is inside the mind of the exhibition. Therefore the carpet pattern is designed as a kind of abstract blood cells that fades from dark red to light red to white”, explains Enrico Fratesi, who is the Italian part of GamFratesi. He continues ”Also, the carpet emphasises intimacy and removes a lot of sound – also adding to the unreal sensation of being inside someone’s brain”.
Frame captures Abstract
Quite close to MINDCRAFT16 and also in the Brera design district, you find the exhibition of Frame. This year, Frame is collaborating with young designers from all around the globe, including three Danish students from the Design School Kolding in Denmark.
Their project, ‘Abstract’, is a cooperation between the digital interpretation of feelings and words into clothing with patterns corresponding to the way you feel. The idea is to make reality of the phrase ‘fine feathers make fine birds’ as well as supporting sustainability in fashion and producing clothing that represents your inner emotions.
Located more in the southern part of the centre, in the Tortona district to be exact, Danish OEO Studio is collaborating with Japanese textile company Hosoo. Together they have produced Prologue, which can serve as a spatial element or as a piece of furniture, and will add a subtle accent to any room.
How to perceive and create space for people to live in is something that the students from Aarhus School of Architecture in Denmark concentrate a lot of in their work. At this year’s design week, they have focused a lot on reinforcing traditional methods of building in a sustainable way, such as by using building methods like in ancient Rome to generate insulation by using air between bricks or by using small rocks of LECA instead of concrete. You can find their exhibition in the Lambrate district together with other educational institutions – Danish as well as international.
FioraMilano – where everyone meets
Despite the endless crowd of people cheering and mingling around the showcase events in the centre of Milan, it seems that there are even more people in FioraMilano, which is just outside of town. Here, you can find a diversity of international brands and design companies ready to take your orders, to take part in interviews and to receive regular people interested in their products. The number of exhibition halls is 24 and you will find between 30 and 60 brands in each hall.
In hall 16, the Danish furniture brand Onecollection, showcasing The French chair, is right next to another Danish brand Architectmade. Even though both are young companies, they have already made sales in many European countries as well as in Asia and the United States.
Mater is another Danish company to keep an eye out for internationally, as their designs of stools, chairs and tables are captivating buyers in several European countries.
FioraMilano is open to the public 16-17 April.