Milan is always at its best under the sun and when crowds arrive in heavy numbers for the Salone de Mobile. This week end was incredible, with tons of energy, smiling faces, sun beams and creative happenings, including KidsroomZOOM. Reportage…

Salone del Mobile, World Leading Furniture Fair

Salone de Mobile doesn’t mean just a classical trade show in a convention center. It is a combination of that + “Fuori Salone, with events disseminated all over the city. The  exhibit centre itself is in Rho, outside Milan, and although it is of human size (think a large ICFF, a small M&O), Salone del Mobile is huge, and 5 days are probably not enough to see it all! Most of the non-professional visitors visit the Fuori Salone only : free, open to everyone, very lively it is heaven for social design lovers.

There are 3 main areas with a high concentration of design : Tortona/Savona, which used to be cutting edge, now hosting a majority of  large brands and showrooms, Lambrate : rather new with lots of students projects, but already mutating the way Tortona/Saona did. Both Tortona/Savona and Lambrate have an industrial feel, lots of warehouses and very large spaces. Brera, in the heart of the historic center, has smaller spaces and show rooms, yet a good mix of styles, projects/brands.

The Chinese neighborhood near via Paolo Sarpi is apparently developing nicely, off the beaten path.

Spazio Rossana Orlandi is also an absolute must see. Rossana is a genius in spotting new artists, new talents and new trends, and in displaying them. The garden is lovely with delicious, un-pretencious and affordable food.

Although the event is focused on furniture and decor, fashion brands are (increasingly) present, via special events (The Little Black Jacket – Chanel, photographed by Karl Lagerfeld), sponsoring, exhibition of their furniture lines (Marni, Armani, Fendi, ect), sometimes of their clothes lines (Cos).

This year KidroomZOOM took place in a wonderful nursery school called Chlorofilla, and this is also something new in Milan : finally  a few interesting infrastructures for children. Paola Noe did a great job, gathering all the best of design for kids in one place where parents and children were invited to play and participate in workshops.

What will I keep in mind from this year’s edition of Salone del Mobile? The video/sound installation by Christophe Pillet at La Statale, Hermes at Instituto di Filologia, Rossana Orlandi‘s display at Museo GaBagatti Valsecchi, The movie on Ray and Charles Eames by Head Design School Geneva (with live violin  and cello performance), Ingo Maurer at Krizia Show Room. I missed Nonostantemarras at Antonio Marras’showroom/gallery as well as the Wallpaper event  and tons of other good things, but my head is full enough with two days of walking and watching.

New Buildings

Milan has changed a lot since I was living there 12 years ago. The air is much cleaner, cranes are decorating the sky like they never did since decades and new projects are flourishing.

Unicredit Tower by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, Bosco Verticale by Stefano Boeri (not finished yet), Palazzo Lombardia by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners (inaugurated in 2010), Diamond Tower by Kohn Pederson Fox Associates, City Life by Zaha Haddid (partly finished).
Soon, in zona Tortona, the Citta delle Culture (city of cultures) will open, designed by David Chipperfield.
And, last but not least, a new campus for the famous Bocconi University, by Saana, and La Citta della Salute by Renzo Piano, that will be surrounded by  ten thousand trees.

Where to eat in Milan?

Milan has many many good restaurants. This is just a small list of new or beloved places.
Pane e Aqua (next to Spazio Rossana Orlandi), Via Matteo Bandello, 14
Un posto a Milano (NEW), Via Cuccagna 2
Rifettorio Simplicitas  (NEW), Via dell’Ordo 2 (Brera)
Pisacco (NEW), Via Solferino 48 (Brera)
Il Santa (NEW), in the Diamond Tower – 37, Melchiorre GioiaRaw (via Palermo 1 – tres beau)
Pavé, via Felice Casati 27
Fioraio Bianchi, Via Montebello, 7
28 Posti (NEW- opened April 10th!), Via Corsico 1
Latteria San Marco, Via San Marco, 24
Bacaro del Sambuco, Via Montenapoleone 13
Osteria dei vecchi sapori, via Carmagnola, 3
Ottimofiore, Via Bramante 26
God save the food (NEW), via Tortona 34
Corsia del Giardino, via Manzoni 16,

Where to sleep in Milan?

Ostello Bello (new – very economical), via Medici 4
Three Rooms (the best – $$$$!), owned by Carla Sozzani (Corso Como 10)