April fools many, and I know I need never care...
by Thomas Wagner
Mar 26, 2014

April is underrated. It has a tough time being loved. April is traditionally considered a moody month, one when showers and sunshine alternate faster than you can open or close your brolly. Not that you can trust the weathermen this year. Ever since we started using expressions like “climate change” and “two degrees max” as part of a global vocabulary, February is suddenly like April used to be – and from now on it’s gonna be summery and warm. Yet we shouldn’t forget that April is the only month to start with tricks. Who knows, perhaps it embodies like no other month the contradictions of days such as these, sunny bright one moment, somber the next, spring-like but frosty, soft and wild. Well, April is capricious. And it is thus only fitting that Milan Salone del Mobile always take place in April.

Divas offer us the joy of more ...

Or is the furniture industry and all the designers in orbit round it anything other than a capricious diva? Well it most certainly is, and in a dual sense at least. Because nowhere else is the design so colorful and varied, so extravagant and kitschy, so conventionally sound and experimental, so innovative and so bereft of ideas as here; no other design event offers the joy of more as do the Salone and Fuorisalone – in the trade fair halls in Rho and of course in all the countless satellites round town hosting exhibitions, presentations, projects, events, and cocktails.

... but can be very capricious.

On the other hand, the opulent design-fest in the Lombard capital is not without its moods. Since there’s such an overkill in Milan, the one or other manufacturers – such as Nils Holger Moormann – consciously steers clear of the Salone or opts to take the stage elsewhere, preferring to present their new products in Cologne (again) or wherever. Too much is simply also not good.

Another thing that catches the eye is that it is not always easy, possibly at times ever harder, to find out where the really exciting things are on show. While a few years ago the Zona Tortona with Superstudio Più was simply ablaze with ideas, it is now increasingly suffocating in commercial hustle. While the young and old, the lone wolves, the small labels and colleges tend to be bustling around Ventura Lambrate – in high-end lofts, huge factory hall and old garages. But in capricious April the wheel keeps on turning, and thus yet another format has been invented, the Ventura Hive, and the 5Vie around the Via San Maurilio brings an additional location into play. Here, art and design are supposed to converge and Maarten Baas is taking the stage with a new collection called “Baas in Town”, rounded out by pieces by Bertjan Pot, fashion designer Walter van Beirendonck, and a few others. Remains to be seen what the upshot of all this is.

I know I need never care...

One thing seems to be a dead cert: In Milan any amount of colorfully lacquered furniture will be on show. And there’ll be any number of signs of a new metallic age. Alongside marble and metal there’ll be plenty of gold, brass and copper for the better-off design cognoscenti. Tinnier than ever.

... but to love design is to need it.

And although many designers don’t reveal until the very last minute which new products they intend to display (because either they’re still putting the final touches to the prototypes or they’re afraid of the me-toos) we’ve still managed to unearth a lot. And we’ve listed the got-to-see exhibitions and events for you, too. Because while Old Bill Shakespeare felt driven by April in his sonnet “From you have I been absent in the spring / When proud-pied April, dress’d in all his trim, / Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing,” we’ll already be driving in April, heading for Milan.

Baas in town – 5Vie – Ventura X

Maarten Baas across 500 sq.m. in the new 5Vie design district right in downtown Milan. In cooperation with Ventura Projects – so it sounds exciting. Also on board: Bertjan Pot, Walter van Beirendonck, Teun Hocks, John Körmeling, Lasvit and others.

Garage Sanremo, Via Zecca Vecchia 3

April 8-13, 2014
April 8-12: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
April 13: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Cocktail: April 9: 8 p.m. – midnight

Bernardino Luini e i suoi figli

The exhibition supported by the Salone del Mobile on Renaissance painter Bernardino Luini (1480-1532), who was a student of Leonardo da Vinci.

Palazzo Reale
Piazza del Duomo 12

April 10 – July 13, 2014

Fabrica for Daikin: “Hot & Cold”

Fabrica, the Bennetton Group think tank, has joined forces with Japanese a/c specialists to present “Hot & Cold” – interactive installations and designs relating to air and air quality.

Garage Milano
Via Achille Maiocchi 5/7

April 8-13, 2014
April 8: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
April 9-10: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
April 11-13: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Party: April 8: 6-10 p.m.

Formafantasma “De Natura Fossilium”

Formafantasma explores and discovers lava. Along with Biennale Interieur, BuroBELÉN, DAMn Magazine, Experimentadesign, KASK School of Arts, Raw Edges for Caesarstone and Golran, Minale Maeda, Makers With Agendas, Space Caviar, Z33

Atelier Clerici
Palazzo Clerici
Via Clerici 5

April 8-13, 2014

Opening: April 8: 8 p.m. - midnight

Gamfratesi presents “Urban Stories – In + Out”

In collaboration with Gubi, Casamania, Fontana Arte, Ligne Roset and Lightyears
Also on site: Daniel Libeskind, Volvo and Venini Glass

Attention! New location:
Palazzo Litta
Corso Magenta 24
20123 Milano

April 8-13, 2014
12 noon – 10 p.m.

Cocktail: April 9, 7 p.m.

J. HILL’s Standard – at Spazio Rossana Orlandi

is a new mouth-blown, hand-cut crystal maker from Waterford, Ireland, which is launching its first two collections – the "Elements" series by Scholten & Baijings and the "Cuttings" series by Martino Gamper

Spazio Rossana Orlandi
Via Matteo Bandello 14-16

April 8-13, 2014
9 noon – 8 p.m.

Kvadrat exhibition “Divina”

An exhibition relating to the classic “Divina” fabric created by Danish textile makers Kvadrat, with 24 designers interpreting the cloth.

Via San Gregorio, 43

April 9-13, 2014
April 9-11: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
April 12-13: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Lasvit Emotions

Exhibition with Daniel Libeskind, Maarten Baas, Michael Young, Arik Levy, Maxim Velčovský, Petra Krausová, Libor Sošťák, Jakub Nepraš, Jan Plecháč and Henry Wielgus

Officine Stendhal
Via Stendhal 35

April 8-13, 2014, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Maarten Van Severen – “Addicted to every possibility”

Lensvelt presents a re-edition of the first collection created by designer Maarten Van Severen who died in 2005, staged by OMA Architekten – Rem Koolhaas.

Ventura Lambrate
Via G. Ventura 5

April 8-13, 2014
April 8, 10, 11, 12: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
April 9: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
April 13: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

In addition there will be a documentary film about Marten Van Severen, premiere showed at the Triennale, 10 April 2014, 7.30 p.m.

Mini and United Visual Artists: “Parallels”

Following the Bouroullec brothers for BMW, this year it’s the MINI’s turn: London art and design collective United Visual Artists (UVA) translates and interprets the Mini Connected technology in a show entitled “Parallels” – an impressive a/v installation.

Magazzini di Porta Genova
Via Valenza 2

Triennale: “Reflections” by Belgium is Design + Italian Design Beyond the Crisis

“Reflections” by Belgium is Design: 38 Belgian designers and companies focus on the mirror and reflecting surfaces.

Italian Design Beyond the Crisis: The 1930s. Curated by Silvana Annicchiarico and Beppe Finessi. Exhibition design: Philippe Nigro

Viale Alemagna, 6

Where Architects Live

The exhibition being held as part of the Salone del Mobile offers an insight into the homes and apartments of eight famous architects: Shigeru Ban, Mario Bellini, David Chipperfield, Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas, Zaha Hadid, Marcio Kogan, Daniel Libeskind and Bijoy Jain/Studio Mumbai.

Curated by Francesca Molteni

Hall 9
Salone Internazionale del Mobile
Milan, trade-fair complex, Rho
April 8-13, 2014