Milan: The Design Temple

The furniture capital of the world – Milan beckons you to take the first flight and make those beautiful adornments a part of your home.


Clockwise from top: Zaha Hadid’s Moon System sofa, Shibuya vases by Christophe Pillet, Giò Ponti superleggera chair, rotating disc shelf by Nendo

The furniture capital of the world – Milan beckons you to take the first flight and make those beautiful adornments a part of your home.

How about a set of classic Giò Ponti superleggera (superlight) chair? Or, Zaha Hadid’s Moon System sofa. Or, an Edward chair along with an Equipe low side table by Giorgio Armani. Be it designer brands, quirky fittings or home décor items, if you’re looking to buy furniture for your home, Milan is the place to go to.

After all, where else would you find the famed Phillip Starck 24-light chandeliers, rotating disc shelf by Nendo, Shibuya vases by Christophe Pillet, lamps by Andrea Branzi or, the mix-n-match marbles by Patricia Urquiola, all on one stretch of a street.

It is in the streets around the Duomo – via Durini, via Manzoni and via Cerva, hailed as the haven for fashion, that you will find more square feet of furniture shops and homeware showrooms than anywhere else in the world. Artistic designs, high-end furniture brands, out-of-the-box pieces vie for space along side utilitarian goods and home décor items.

If a store like De Padova is known for its cutting-edge and contemporary furniture, Dilmos has products designed by Starck and Pesce to its credit; Studio 1950 has antique and modern objects on display, Alessi has kitchenware and fantastic gadgets as its USP while Cassina is a contemporary furnishing haven.

Milan is the city where designers showcase their work of art, some hunt for new ideas, budding talents display their aesthetic bent and manufacturers wait to strike a deal with those whose works have a winning edge.

Apart from shopping at these cluster of showrooms and standalone stores during your visit to Milan, if you’re a serious buyer and want a furniture that ranges from being high on fashion, a work of art or a made-to-order piece and pocket friendly, the Milan Furniture Fair or the Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano, as it is called in Italian, is the address you need to knock at.

Come April and the city of Milan becomes a hotspot for thousands of architects, textile, furniture and interior designers, manufacturers and buyers, all swarming the Feria Milano complex to visit this popular design fair.

You name it and they all come here. Prolific interior architect and designer Karim Rashid, product and interior designer Philippe Starck, industrial designer Tom Dixon, Rosita Missoni of Missoni Home, furniture designer Jefffrey Bernett… the list is endless. After all, it is the Mecca of design and the biggest event on every international design industry’s calendar.

This 52-year-old expo is the largest event of its kind in the world — with nearly 300,000 visitors and 2,500 design companies from 150 countries making it their home during the six day event.

The Salone is not just a trade show but a showcase for interiors. It has big names displaying their latest collections, emerging designers showcasing their independent projects, buyers floored by the choices on offer and art aficionados raving about the trend-setting designs that are set to rule the year ahead. A case in point being the Milan Furniture Fair 2013 that had Swiss furniture company Vitra display its iconic Prouvé Standard chair in black plastic; Japanese studio Nendo revealed its patchwork-style glass lights for Czech house Lasvit along with an installation of tables for Israeli quartz manufacturers Caesarstone, while Armani Casa came up with a banana-tree fibre coiffeuse to highlight the use of sustainable materials as the way forward.

Viva il Milan!

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