Hubert Burda Media

Milan Design Week: High Style

Luxury brands made their mark with a bonanza of showings and installations at the Milan Design Week.


As part of this year’s FuoriSalone, Hermès covered a number of buildings in Milan’s Brera Design District to showcase latest designs in its wallpaper collections, which featured clean lines, bold colours and patterns comprising cubes and horses — the maison’s motif — hand-drawn with children in mind: “Mille Jeux” by Gianpaolo Pagni embellished the exterior of Bar Brera; “Les Carreaux and Les Cabanes” by Nigel Peake found their way to the Panificio Pattini bakery, and “Promenade au Faubourg” also by Nigel Peake adorned the façade of Gelateria Solferino. Fusing city life and design, #hermesonthewall offered a refreshing expression of connecting and interacting with architecture. Such guerrilla wallpapering coincided with its exhibition at La Pelota, in a bright, airy pavilion conceived by Hermès artistic directors Charlotte Macaux Perelman and Alexis Fabry, with sneak looks of its latest homeware — Lien d’Hermès, which bears leather straps to hark back to the equestrian heritage; Èquipages d’Hermès, with furniture in neutral and earthy tones; Tie Set ceramic dinner sets; as well as fabrics and wallpaper.


The Roman purveyor of luxury announced two pieces of good news this year: The launch of Fendi Casa’s first flagship store along Via Montenapoleone in Milan, and the inclusion of furniture designed by Toan Nguyen in the Fendi Casa Contemporary Collection. With its new home in the 16th-century Palazzo Carcassola-Grandi, Fendi Casa is the first furniture and design brand to open in the high-end shopping district. Here, across three living areas, are pieces that display Nguyen’s characteristic sharp and geometric silhouettes. As a toast to the occasion, the French designer reimagined Fendi’s sleek modular Palmer sofa to create the exclusive made-to-order Six Shades of Palmer, which features a degradé effect to play on varying intensities of red. Nguyen also updated other Fendi Casa icons such as Hampton sofa, Ford table and Soho drawers.


Marni transformed an exhibition venue at Viale Umbria into Marni Playland, an amusement and recreation space that resembles toys strewn about the beach on a lazy summer day — only this beach is made of bright fuschia, teal or yellow sand. Picnic mats designed for the installation invited visitors to lounge at this interactive display, which featured storage containers, baskets, wheels, hoops and cones — South American children’s toys — alongside one-of-a-kind rocking chairs, stools and seats produced exclusively for the Milan Design Week. Crafted with metal, painted wood and woven PVC cord, the limited-edition home accessories were made by women in Colombia using indigenous artisanal techniques and took up to five months to complete. The installation was part of Marni’s charity initiative: Proceeds from sales went towards Only The Brave Foundation to support its corporate social responsibility efforts.


Nendo had a busy season this year. Besides an Invisible Outlines exhibition at the Jil Sander showroom in Milan, the Oki Sato-led art studio found time to partner watchmaker Panerai to revisit its Slice of Time installation (which premiered at last year’s Tokyo Design Week). An exploration of the connection between time and design, the set-up at Palazzo Visconti was configured as a workshop with a cluster of circular spaces. In just 10 minutes, craftsmen created a clock, working in tandem like a ticker’s sweeping hands, rotating gears and whirring mechanisms. Every five minutes, a plastic tube of eight metres was extruded and sliced crosswise to reveal a cross-section resembling the empty shell of a clock. To add dimension, the thickness of the slice also corresponded to the age of the visitor. Through processes of polishing, sandblasting and assembly, these pieces were transformed into clocks, expressing the interaction with time as a tangible entity. 

First published in Prestige Singapore’s Prestige Living supplement in June 2017.