MILAN — Milan Design Week, or Il Salone del Mobile, is more than a design-forward trade show for furniture geeks. Now in its 57th edition, it is also a city-wide immersive art experience that comes with its manifesto, boasting keywords and buzzwords from emotion and enterprise to communication, culture, and “Milan at the Centre.”
The theme of this year’s Salone, which runs through April 22, was “Be Human.” Just in time for Earth Day, environmental sustainability and a hefty dose of technology were key elements, with installations scattered all around the city trying to demonstrate how technological advancement can benefit mankind.
But despite all the talk about sustainability, there were plenty of designs that are just as preoccupied with looking good on camera. There are several kaleidoscopic installations, complex lighting scenes, and even dining experiences that focus on picture-perfect “mise-en-place.” The setting of these installations ranges from historical palazzi to former industrial warehouses, such as an abandoned panettone factory.
Here are a few highlights from a two-day visit — which, in a city filled with 1,200 installations, only managed to scratch the surface.
An exhibition in Tel Aviv is reputedly using works by leading Arab artists without their permission, and the curators say they’re doing so deliberately to provoke a conversation around the topic of boycott.