Milano Design Week

Salone del Mobile and Fuorisalone 2024

What to expect from Salone del Mobile 2024 (including David Lynch)

For its 62nd edition, the Salone announces an increasingly impressive cultural program, the 25th anniversary of Salone Satellite, and the participation of the American director and the 2022 Pritzker Prize laureate Francis Kéré.

An ecosystem, which can only look at itself in an evolutionary key to continue in its role – a key value for the city of Milan as well, as Mayor Giuseppe Sala has stated.

In the form of a press non-conference hosted by the Piccolo Teatro Strehler in Milan, the president of Salone del Mobile.Milano Maria Porro has launched the 2024 edition of the commercial and cultural design world epicenter that will once again generate the complexity cluster we all call Milan Design Week, this year from April 16 to 21.

More and more an ecosystem, channeling more and more self-awareness, an insatiable desire to tell its own story, and a need to increasingly focus on visitors and their experience. The regional councilor for tourism Barbara Mazzali has in fact illustrated how visitors keep being the lifeblood of the whole system: this is confirmed by the 40 percent increase in attendance in the city compared to the average week, with a 25 percent increase recorded for Design Week 2023 over the previous one.

An ecosystem that in such perspective will investigate itself, both pre-emptively and in real time, in a new collaboration with the Milan Polytechnic, which, as Professor Stefano Maffei has recounted, will work at mapping all this complexity of data and relationships so as to provide foreshadowing and visions for the future, the ever-growing knowledge cornerstone of a permanent observatory that the city is about to launch.

Salone Internazionale del Bagno. Layout © Lombardini22

The contents – the hard core at the Fair, hosted at the FieraMilano complex in Rho – will articulate this year around the biennials dedicated to the kitchen, Eurocucina with FTK, and to the bathroom, with its Salone Internazionale del Bagno, as they did in 202e from Euroluce.

There are 172500 net square meters of exhibition space, and the activities are bringing together more than 1900 exhibitors, Porro has confirmed, but compared to previous years – an evergreen question – there walking distances are going to shrink: reiterating this fact along with Porro is Juri Franzosi, general manager of the Milan-based firm Lombardini22, in charge of the exhibition space design also this year. The 2024 fair is inheriting from Euroluce a system of perspective escapes – allowing at every point of the exhibition to catch glimpses of some core of interest or inspiration – and the public spaces; a neuroscientific experimentation is instead introduced into the design process: the fair has been taken as a model for a VR test of the new spatial layout, which in addition to reducing walking time by 10 percent, as stated by the designers, should boost the memorability of things experienced by 40 percent, and even the release of those alpha waves that in our brains are associated with rest and disposition to reasoning and interaction.

Mangiare il mare

Then most sensational revelation has been made, trailblazing the impressive cultural program of this year’s edition (once again orbiting around epicenters such as the arena and bookshop by Formafantasma): the installation The thinking room will bring director David Lynch to the Salone. His interiors, as told by project curator and writer Antonio Monda, are true characters in his films, as powerful as human ones, and his violon d’Ingres, his form of meditation – news – is to conceive and produce furniture. From here he will take us to the dreamlike and moving dimension we associate him with, in a “sorprendenza” (“surprisability”)  that all speakers have hoped would be a new word to associate with Salone.

Associated with the theme of food, the program All You Have Ever Wanted to Know About Food Design in Six Performances, developed with 6 international food magazines, has been represented at the conference by the performative and culinary work Mangiare il mare (Eating the Sea), curated by Diletta Sereni, Tommaso Melilli and Luca Trevisani, which will rethink temporality, materiality and living forms of the sea, inviting visitors to literally drink it. In the installation Under the surface by Emiliano Ponzi with Design Group Italia and Accurat, the 400 square meters of an archipelago at once physical and digital among the typical underwater caustic reflections will lead visitors to discover through the visualization of data provided by the World Bank the current state of our relationship with water consumption.

Under the Surface © Salotto NY

The Drafting Futures dialogues and roundtables curated by Annalisa Rosso will also be back, counting names such as Francis Kéré, John Pawson, Jeanne Gang, Deyan Sudjic and Hans Ulrich Obrist; and a major celebration will involve Salone Satellite, conceived and curated by Marva Griffin to promote the connection between under-35 designers and industry, central and free at the fair as always, reaching its 25th anniversary with a massive landing at Triennale Milano: an exhibition curated by Griffin with Beppe Finessi and Ricardo Bello Dias will chronicle a quarter-century of visions and system building.

A remembrance of Andrea Branzi – a major loss this year for the design family together with Italo Lupi, Valerio Castelli and Rodolfo Dordoni – has greeted the conference attendees, with his evocation of that “genetic crisis, need for a deeper exploration” that had started his career decades ago standing to define the climate of expectation once again surrounding the Salone, in a hard-to-fade hope that another quote, Ponzi’s own from Lynch’s book In Deep Waters best represents: ideas are like fishes, “to catch the small ones you can stay on the surface, but for the big ones you will have to go deep”.

David Lynch © Dean Hurley

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