Milan Design Week for Dummies
Milan Design Week for Dummies.

Milan – It would be quite fair to say that exploring Salone del Mobile and Fuorisalone is about ricocheting off sofas and chandeliers. That’s why we wrote down this  Milan Design Week guide for dummies.

Milan Design Week Guide for Dummies. A tram at Arco della Pace - Photo by Enrico Zilli.
Milan Design Week Guide for Dummies. A tram at Arco della Pace – Photo by Enrico Zilli.

GETTING INTO TOWN AND ACCOMMODATION – Milan is very easy to reach by plane or train. There are fixed  taxi tariffs from airports to the city or the fair, don’t expect – or allow – the driver to start the taxi meter. If you haven’t booked your accommodation, hurry up! You might still find some spare flat on AirBnB, but do not hope for fair hotel fares.

Inspired in Barcelona: In and Out - PHOTO courtesy of BCD.
Inspired in Barcelona: In and Out – All images, courtesy of BCD.

MOVING AROUND – The public transport system is very efficient – the daily ticket costs 4,50 € – but design districts can be explored by foot. Comfy shoes are mandatory. During rush hours taxis are not easy to find. Still, if you feel lucky call (+39) 02 4040 or (+39) 028585. Do not use the car, as parking lots are more than a mirage and there is a fee to drive through the city centre.

Entrance of Salone del Mobile.Milano -Photo by Salone del Mobile 2018
Entrance of Salone del Mobile.Milano -Photo by Salone del Mobile.

THE FAIR – Back to business – Al lavoro, in Italian. The fair is huge – check our survival guide! – 14 massive pavilions and hundreds of exhibitors from 188 countries. Salone del Mobile.Milano is located just outside the city. During rush hours the metro and the traffic is a nightmare. Still, the most practical way to reach the fair is by tube – 4,00 € return ticket; if you pay contactless, remember to tap your card when you exit to avoid fines or extra charges.

Buy here your Salone ticket in advance, as there it’s a maelstrom! Once in, get one free guide and, if you haven’t done yet, plan your route before plunging into the design-drome!

Visitor at Euroluce - Photo by Salone del Mobile.
Visitor at Euroluce – Photo by Salone del Mobile.

FUORISALONE, the programme of exhibitions and parties taking over the city – is a tough job too. With over 1.700 events is quite a challenge. Avoid queues by registering on line to Superstudio (free), and Ventura Projects at Base in Tortona + Ventura Future by the Central Station (5€ ticket). Dedicate at least half a day to each design district.

Fifth Ring by MAD Architects - Photo by MAD Architects.
MAD Architects exhibition @ Fuorisalone.

THE DESIGN DISTRICTS – The Duomo central square often hosts statement exhibitions. Check also Palazzo Reale, Museo del Novecento and the INTERNI Magazine installations in the stunning cloisters of Milan University Statale [MM1 San Babila]. Nearby, you can walk to the 5 Vie design district. Meander through the quiet alleys of this historic discritct to discover stunning installations nested in picturesque courtyards, design and art galleries and atelier turned into exhibition venues. Three major locations at Palazzo Litta in Corso Magenta 24 and Palazzo Turati in Via Meravigli 7 and SIAM in Via Santa Marta 18.

Masterly @ Palazzo Tirati - Photo via IG, follow @roy_zeropxl
Masterly @ Palazzo Tirati – Photo via IG, follow @roy_zeropxl.

A must visit pit stop is at the gallery of Milan Design Week’s godmother Rossana Orlandi [Via Mandello 14, MM2 St. Ambrogio], nearby check what’s on at the Science & Technology Museum Leonardo da Vinci in Via San Vittore 21 which often hosts installations and exhibitions. Make sure to visit La Triennale di Milano [Via Alemagna 6, MM1,2 Cadorna], a true temple of design hosting major exhibitions, talks and events, as well installations in the exquisite garden designed by renown artist De Chirico.

Entrance of RO Rossana Orlandi Gallery - Photo via IG, follo @sabrinelj.
Entrance of RO Rossana Orlandi Gallery – Photo via IG, follo @sabrinelj.

Brera Design District [MM1 Brera] hosts the flagship stores of some of the leading Italian design brands. Explore the historic district’s cobbled streets and verdant courtyards to discover unexpected installations. The most popular streets are Pontaccio, Via Brera, via Solferino, Piazza San Marco and Corso Garibaldi.

FUORISALONE 2019. Moroso Showroom @ Fuorislaone 2019 - Photo by Leonardo Duggento.
Moroso Showroom @ Fuorislaone 2019 – Photo by Leonardo Duggento.

Tortona [MM2 Porta Genova] is a post industrial neighbourhood with large exhibition spaces. The main venues are Superstudio and co-working space and cultural platform Base which host curated programmes of events, talks and installations. Along via Tortona and via Savona garages, shops and offices are transformed into exhibition galleries for independent brands.

Crowd at Super Design Show - Photo by Superstudio
Crowd at Super Design Show – Photo by Superstudio.

Porta Venezia Design district [MM1 Porta Venezia] is an elegant neighborhood with Art Deco buildings, bars and exhibitions. Must go destination is Villa Necchi Campiglio, a glorious villa in Via Mozart 8 designed by Piero Portaluppi in the 1930s which often hosts major exhibitions.

Interiors of Villa Necchi Campiglio - Photo courtesy of FAI Fondo Ambientr italiano
Interiors of Villa Necchi Campiglio – Photo courtesy of FAI Fondo Ambientr italiano.

Isola design district is located just beyond the skyscrapers embracing Piazza Gae Aulenti. The new creative epicenter is full of surprises. The Stecca, a former squat now turned into a community exhibition centre, hosts a program of talks and events. Find new inspirations at the Milan Design Market.

Photo via IG, follow @isoladesigndistrict
Photo via IG, follow @isoladesigndistrict.

NoLo – North of Loreto – district is a vibrant multiethnic neighborhood with exhibitions and installations in unexpected locations such as the massive industrial vaults under the central station. [MM2 and 3 Centrale and MM3 Loreto].

AGC's sound generating glass @ Soundscape installation in Milan - Photo by Akihide Mishima, courtesy of Asahi Glass Company.
AGC’s installation at Ventura Centrale – Photo by Akihide Mishima, courtesy of AGC.

Every year new design districts are born including Sarpi Bridge if the Chinese neighborhood of Milan [MM5 Monumentale] and, the ultimate one, Bovisa [S1,2 & 3 Bovisa Politecnico].

Repubblica del Design debuts at Fuorisalone 2019 - Photo via IG, follow @bovisadesigndistrict.
Repubblica del Design debuts at Fuorisalone 2019 – Photo via IG, follow @bovisadesigndistrict.