We Mediterranean - Courtesy of Paola Carimati.

Design-for-thought: 12 design exhibitions at Milan Design Week 2024. We Mediterranean – Courtesy of Paola Carimati.

Design — We have selected twelve exhibitions in Milan that provide some design-for-thought. Be it a reflection of the irreverent work by the late Gaetano Pesce, Ikea’s playful space focusing on experiencing your own very first independent home, or an intriguing exploration of the values and aesthetics of Japanese design… Enjoy!


Io sono un drago @ La Triennale

Until October 13 – viale Emilio Alemagna 6 [Map].
Io Sono Un Drago - The true story of Alessandro Mendini @ La Triennale - Photo by Delfino Sisto Legnani, DSL Studio, © Triennale Milano.

Photo by Delfino Sisto Legnani, DSL Studio, © Triennale Milano.

La Triennale di Milano pays homage to the late architect, designer, and artist Alessandro Mendini with the Io Sono Un Drago (I am a dragon) retrospective featuring over 400 works in different formats, materials, and subjects. The exhibition’s title is inspired by one of Mendini’s most emblematic self-portraits in which he sees himself as a quirky creature made from different parts, each representing a different creative professional. Io sono un Drago is curated by Fulvio Irace in collaboration with Archivio Mendini and is produced by the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain.

Complementing the exhibition is the immersive, site-specific installation ‘What?‘ by Philippe Stark, which invites visitors to delve into Mendini’s subconscious and creative universe, offering a dynamic and interactive exploration of his world.


ORIGIN of SIMPLICITY @ ADI Design Museum

Until June 9 – Piazza Compasso d’Oro 1 [Map].
Origin of Simplicity. 20 Visions of Japanese Design @ ADI Design Museum, Milan - Photo by Yuki Seli.

Photo by Yuki Seli.

ADI Design Museum presents ORIGIN of SIMPLICITY – 20 Visions of Japanese Design, an exhibition unveiling a brand-new cultural interpretation of Japanese design, highlighting its uniqueness between tradition and research. Curated by Rossella Menegazzo with a set-up and graphic design by Kenya Hara, the exhibition features over 150 works, mostly unseen in Italy by some of the most influential Japanese designers from the ‘60s until today. The exhibition underlines the close link between design and craftsmanship and the subtle balance between matter and human beings, as well as technique and technology, a constant feature of Japanese production.


Gaetano Pesce in Milan

Until April 23 @ Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Piazza Pio XII 2 [Map].
Gaetano Pesce at work - Photo by Olga Antipina.

Gaetano Pesce at work – Photo by Olga Antipina.

Italian architect and designer Gaetano Pesce, known for blurring the lines between art and design, passed away on April 3, 2024. The Nice to See You exhibition features around thirty mainly unreleased works, mostly created between 2023 and 2024. The pieces have been selected not only for their functional role but also as bearers of messages that encourage thought. In collaboration with the Municipality of Milan, the artist also brought to Milan L’Uomo Stanco (The Tired Man), a monumental installation addressing the ethical fatigue experienced by the so-called ‘stronger sex’.


On The Rocks by Bottega Veneta

April 16-20 @ Palazzo San Fedele, Piazza San Fedele 1/3 [Map].
Courtesy of Bottega Veneta.

Courtesy of Bottega Veneta.

Italian fashion Maison Bottega Veneta joined forces with Cassina and Fondation Le Corbusier to present On the Rocks, a large-scale installation centred around the LC14 Tabouret Cabanon, a timeless icon by French architect Le Corbusier that reflects the excellence of Cassina’s carpentry workshop. The design piece was used as a stool for the brand’s Winter 24 show. Custom wooden editions, first seen on the Winter 24 show set, are here, joined by a new limited edition in signature Bottega Veneta leatherwork.


We Mediterranean

April 12-21 @ Drop City, Via Sammartini – Tunnel 50 [Map].
We Mediterranean at Drop City - Photo by Archipanic.

We Mediterranean at Drop City – Photo by Archipanic.

Can design be the media allowing Mediterranean people and cultures to build dialogue and cultural exchange? This is how the We Mediterranean exhibition and project was born. Curator Paola Carimati teamed up with the We Design Beirut festival to create an arena for honest debate on some of the most pressing issues across the Mediterranean Sea, starting from immigration. The exhibition features design and architectural interventions by a fellowship of designers, including Matilde Cassani Studio, Francesca Lanzavecchia, Sex & The City, Studio Ossidiana, and Piovenefabi. The exhibition space hosts talks, dance performances, poetry readings, and DJ sets during the design week.


Taiwan Pavilion

April 16-21, Via Pietro Maroncelli 7 [Map].
Taiwan Pavilion at Milan Design Week 2024 - Courtesy of Taiwan Pavilion.

Courtesy of the Taiwan Pavilion.

Titled Who is going to raise the questions? The questions are designed in Taiwan, the first Taiwan Pavilion in Milan explores the past and present, as well as the unique challenges and opportunities of the island nation in the Pacific Ocean – now squeezed between the environmental emergency and a delicate geopolitical balance, a rich Chinese heritage and the commitment to self-determination. A series of questions guides visitors to discover innovative projects by 15 Taiwanese designers examining the role of design in contemporary society and the value of design thinking in asking questions correctly.


Design for Community – Part 2, Giacomo Moor x LiveinSlums

Aprile 14-21 @ Assab One gallery, via Assab 1 [Map].
Design for Community - Part 2, Giacomo Moor x LiveinSlums - Photo by Alessandro Treves.

Photo by Alessandro Treves.

Assab One presents the second chapter of the Design for Communities exhibition and social project by Giacomo Moor per LiveinSlums, an NGO that works in urban territories with severe critical issues. In the past months, the Italian designer teamed up with locals of Mathare, one of Nairobi‘s largest slums, to build the kitchen premises for the canteen of a primary school. In Milan, the microarchitecture, in full scale, is reconfigured in the gallery space to host photographic research by Alessandro Treves, narrating the making of the building.


MANIERA Gallery x Junya Ishigami

April 15-21 @ Alcova, Villa Bagatti-Valsecchi, Via Vittorio Emanuele II, Vareno [Map].
MANIERA x Junya Ishigami - Courtesy of MANIERA Gallery.

Courtesy of MANIERA Gallery.

MANIERA Gallery teamed up with Japanese architect Junya Ishigami to create a new furniture collection that exudes elegance and simplicity. Preferring lightness over mass and fragility over gravity, Ishigami’s creations defy conventional notions. This ethos is evident in the new furniture series for MANIERA, comprising dining chairs, rocking chairs, a low Zaisu chair, an atelier table, a dining table, a glass table, two partitions, and seven lamps. Crafted from stainless steel, leather, rattan, glass, and wood, each piece embodies Ishigami’s distinctive aesthetic vision.


MOOOI

April 16-21 @ Salone dei Tessuti 29, via San Gregorio [Map].
A Life Extraordinary exhibition - Image by Moooi.

Courtesy of Moooi.

Moooi returns to Milan with A Life Extraordinary, an immersive design exhibition featuring brand-new furniture collections. This year, the Dutch company invites you to step into the Green House, where flora and fauna converge in a symphony of sophistication to give life to a series of wallpapers inspired by visionary bugs.


Rude Art Club

16—21 April @ cc-tapis showroom, Piazza Santo Stefano 10 [Map].
Rude Art Club - Photo via IG by @tacchini_italia.

Photo via IG by @tacchini_italia.

Tacchini and cc-tapis invite you to the Rude Arts Club, designed by British designer Faye Toogood. Pop by to find an oasis of serenity from the design week’s hustle and bustle. Fabric-covered walls frame rugs Faye Toogood has created for cc-tapis, taking inspiration from Francis Bacon’s art. The new Cosmic sofas and recliners for Tacchini invite you to sink into their soft forms. Lamps can be touched and crumpled.


1st by IKEA

Padiglione Visconti, Via Tortona 37 [Map].
1st, IKEA in Milano - Image by IKEA.

Courtesy of IKEA.

At Tortona Rocks, the 1,244 sqm Padiglione Visconti becomes a playground for IKEA’s dynamic exhibition 1st. Designed by architect Midori Hasuike and spatial designer Emerzon, the exhibition explores the contrasting yet similar experiences of moving out on our own for the first time. By day, visitors can explore the space, including limited-edition merchandise, along with curated event magazines. At night, the space morphs into a hub for music enthusiasts, featuring genres spanning from Hip-Hop to Disco, Funk to Techno, and more.


Dimorecentrale

Via Sammartini 63 [Map].
Courtesy of Dimorestudio.

Courtesy of Dimorestudio.

Dimorecentrale, the headquarters of Milanese practice Dimorestudio led by Emiliano Salci and Britt Moran, presents Occupazione. A stone’s throw from Milano Centrale Train Station, the exhibition features works by Yves Salomon x Chapo Création, Bonacina, Altai Gallery, Monde Singulier, Aesop, Maison Royère, Paradisoterrestre, Dimoregallery, Wallpaper San Patrignano and Nicola Guiducci.


Courtesy of Bottega Veneta.

Courtesy of Bottega Veneta.