15 Magical Moments at the Milan Furniture Fair

Wendy Goodman’s favorite lighting, wallpaper, and hanging chairs.

Photo: Wendy Goodman
Photo: Wendy Goodman

Last week, Milan opened its doors and hidden spaces for the 56th annual Furniture Fair, also known as the Salone del Mobile Milano, with installations and events occurring all over the city, from an abandoned industrial train depot where Lee Broom’s surreal white carousel of design floated in the surreal space, to the grandest of palazzos where the rooms were covered in sand and sprouted palm trees to highlight Louis Vuitton’s new Objets Nomades Collection. It was glorious and all happened so fast, it was like a dream.

Studio Swine’s Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves created this startling multisensory installation that addresses matter and impermanence for COS at the historic Cinema Arti in Milan.

Watch the imaginative installation in action.

White in the City was an initiative that set out to explore the color white in various design iterations — from products to lighting to architecture — via installations in the Brera District. Here in the courtyard of the Pinacoteca di Brera, architect Stefano Boeri created Urban Hugs, which was “an area where people can escape from their social interactions and hug each other.” Photo: Wendy Goodman
Nothing makes me quite as happy as a visit to Galleria Rossana Orlandi, where I’m always so inspired by the shows and the designers. Meet California native Kyre Chenven and her partner, the Milanese artist Ivano Atzori, who live in Sardinia. They have created a design brand, Pretziada, based on the island, culling the traditions of the local artisans and craftspeople and introducing other designers to the area to create products from their take on those traditions. Their installation in the basement of the gallery was superb and gave me a perfect sense of why I am going to Sardinia soon! Photo: Wendy Goodman
Palazzo Crespi is one of the many ravishing palazzos that host special events during design week. Here, in the ballroom, and in various rooms throughout, Swarovski presented its latest collaborations with different architects and designers, including Andre Kikoski, who presented a collection of multifaceted tabletop pieces. Photo: Wendy Goodman
Once out at the fairgrounds, a must-see was the new lighting at the Euroluce pavilion — all 38,000 square meters of it! The innovations in lighting are so spectacular, and at the Kinetura Design booth, I watched as this wall moved to feature light from within, as well as the standing lamp below, called “New York,” which seemed to be breathing as it slowly opened and closed. Photo: Wendy Goodman
Louis Vuitton took over the magnificent Palazzo Bocconi to show its latest Objets Nomades collection, which was installed in delightful ways, like the Campana Brothers’ Cocoon seating, each one wrapped in colorful leather and hanging over the imposing staircase. Photo: Wendy Goodman
The astounding installation continued upstairs, where palm trees sprouted and fine white sand was spread out over the parquet floors to show off different aspects of the collection, like the pieces pictured here by India Mahdavi. Photo: Wendy Goodman
Then, in one of the oldest parts of the city, where the small houses on a canal could have been out of a Vermeer painting, I entered a courtyard filled with blooming wisteria, which was the perfect introduction to J. J. Martin’s magic, maximalist showroom. It was filled with her vintage fashion and jewelry finds as well as her new collection of tabletop and clothes, at a now-open pop-up shop at Bergdorf Goodman, with an opening party on April 20. Lucky us! Photo: Wendy Goodman
Seeing British designer Paul Cocksedge’s incredible collection of new furniture offered a solemn meditation on impermanence, as these designs were made from pieces of the floor and other parts of his former studio that he had been forced to vacate as the building had been sold to a developer. It felt very “medieval castle” to me. Photo: Wendy Goodman
The British designer Lee Broom celebrated the ten-year anniversary of his company with an ingenious installation in an abandoned area below the Milan railway station. Lee created a carousel filled with pieces from his collections over the years, each one in a different white patina. It was an eerie and spectacular sight, entering this dark cave to what seemed an apparition out of Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast. Photo: Wendy Goodman
Corian had the brilliant idea of partnering with Cabana Magazine whose founders, Martina Mondadori Sartogo and Christoph Radl, asked eight designers to interpret the material in inventive new design schemes. Each designer created a bungalow in the Corian Cabana Club village, and the results were fantastic. Here, the Mexican Bedroom, by Antonio Marras in collaboration with Paolo Bazzani, features a Corian bed frame and bookshelves as well as colorful exterior panels (not shown here). Photo: Wendy Goodman
Rachel and Nick Cope have become major contributors to the wallpaper revolution with their company, Calico Wallpaper. One of the standout collaborations featured at the fair was their partnership with four designers — BCXSY, Ana Kraš, Snarkitecture, and Faye Toogood — to create new out-of-the-box templates for wall covering. I loved them all. Here, Snarkitecture’s amazing torn-paper pattern that you would swear was 3-D. Photo: Wendy Goodman
Martina Mondadori Sartogo curated a gorgeous show, “Passeggiata: An Airbnb Experience of Milan,” featuring a group of different designer’s collections set up in various rooms in Casa degli Atellani, a heavenly grand house with a garden where Leonardo da Vinci lived while he was painting The Last Supper nearby. Photo: Wendy Goodman
One of the most rarefied design experiences, “Wander From Within,” took place at the Villa Necchi Campiglio, where a pavilion was erected over the tennis court to introduce a collection of handmade furniture, a product of a collaboration between art entrepreneur and tastemaker Adrian Cheng and the late master designer Shigeru Uchida. The collection of three chairs, a table, and a lamp was designed to encourage meditation and defy spatial definitions. At lunch I also learned from Adrian that he has a passion for colored diamonds, and it had just been announced that his family’s jewelry company had purchased the most expensive stone sold at auction. Photo: Wendy Goodman
Ikea took over an entire warehouse in the Lambrate District, and it was a joy to walk through. I especially loved the design and organization of this tiny studio installation with its sleek black kitchen unit and bed accessed by a bookshelf-stair. I could live here, and in so many places that fired up my imagination in Milan. Photo: Wendy Goodman
15 Magical Moments at the Milan Furniture Fair