"Spacecrafted 3" von Jan Kath

Design as an instrument

Parallel to this year's Salone del Mobile.Milano, the 5VIE Design Week took place in the historic centre of Milan. The focus of the tenth edition of the event: art and collector design, craftsmanship as well as the connection of design with the fields of art and creativity in the broadest sense.
by Linda Pezzei | 4/26/2023

From 17 to 23 April, the network of alleys and small streets between Corso Magenta, Sant'Ambrogio and Le Colonne di San Lorenzo was transformed for the tenth time into a wonderful open-air museum for design fans eager to explore. Those who followed the small yellow signs with curiosity were able to discover many surprising things and things worth seeing in numerous studios, courtyards and exhibitions. For under this year's title "Design for Good", the design quarter 5VIE invited its visitors to consider design as an instrument for creating and nurturing profound human relationships. One focus was the theme of sustainability. The play on words "Design for Good" reflects the desire for something tangible as well as the endeavour to direct it towards the common good. International curators, artists and designers had been called upon in advance to deal intensively with the theme and to present the results in several exhibitions realised by 5VIE at selected locations. Themes such as spirituality, closeness to nature, the relationship to one's own historical roots, the drama of incommunicability and the concept of connectivity made it clear that the strength of design lies in the poetic connection between the aesthetic dimension – the beautiful – and the ethical dimension – the good.

"Current events present us with unpredictable challenges and the task of design is not to remain indifferent and to turn urgency into opportunities. In a time of rapid change, the need to find effective, pragmatic and quick responses can lead to losing a sense of direction. In addressing innovation and sustainability, we believe it is essential for design to take time to reconnect and develop new, equitable and good design practices," said the minds behind 5VIE, who also wanted to draw attention to the need to drive the revitalisation of relationships and natural exchanges among people. However, 5VIE sees itself not only as a design quarter, but also as a cultural producer. The respective productions were meant to be moments of reflection on the state of the art of the discipline, in the course of which the contributors had been invited to elaborate on an aspect of the respective theme that had been set. This year, 5VIE presented six productions in collaboration with international creatives. In addition, there was plenty of design to discover in numerous showrooms and pop-up exhibitions. We show you four highlights:

Jan Kath

Jan Kath

Unconventional, visionary, idiosyncratic: under the motto "Across the Board", the renowned rug designer Jan Kath showed a selection of the most significant textile artworks from recent collections at the Alberto Levi Gallery. Jan Kath deliberately dispenses with strict design rules and prefers to translate the iconography of classic carpets into a modern matrix. The unmistakable style of the hand-knotted carpets reflects the craftsmanship and the preservation of old techniques. In parallel, three graphic rug series by architect and interior designer Clara Bona were presented.


In the courtyard of the 5VIE headquarters' urban villa in Via Cesare Correnti, the exhibition "A Future for the Past" by Greek design duo on-entropy presented itself as a tribute to the precious heritage of Tinos marble and to the evolution of the Greek island's signature craftsmanship, reflected in the changes of society over the years. Sisters Niki and Zoe Moskofoglou had staged the intimate story, closely interwoven with their family life, in a sensual environment of light, shadow, incense scent and relics around the centrepiece of the installation, a sculptural marble table altar. An act of reclamation that projects the formal heritage and technical knowledge of the past into the present and future.


The group exhibition "Prendete e Mangiate" curated by Sara Bologna at 5VIE Headquarters – SIAM in Via Santa Marta was entirely dedicated to the theme of table culture. The installation of a long table set with art and design objects as a place for sharing and coming together, sharpening the senses and negotiating with ourselves and others invited visitors to exchange food and words and literally break bread with each other. On display were the works of international artists, artisans and designers such as 1220° Ceramics, Casa Remedios, Catto Design Studio, DBO Home, DecorAzione by Angela Florio, LAM Ceramica, The Art Flower Maker and several more.


During Fuorisalone 2023, the Carwan Gallery showed the exclusive commissioned work "OMG-GMO" by Viennese designer Robert Stadler, which was created in cooperation with Bitossi Ceramiche over a period of two years. The Paris-based representative of the visual arts has been critically and intellectually addressing current issues for decades. In the course of creating the collection, the designer now provided a tongue-in-cheek commentary on the relationship between man and his environment by thematising the genetic manipulation of fruit and vegetables. Flawlessly yellow bananas, fleshy avocados, leeks, carrots and many other staple foods were transformed by Vienna-born Stadler into humorous, functional everyday objects such as tables, lamps and chairs.