As many of you already know, the Fuorisalone, a part of Milan Design Week that takes place around the city, outside the main furniture fair, is split into a few separate districts, each of them bringing its own flavour to the mix. This year I wanted to take a closer look at events organised by the 5vie design district. What is exactly 5vie? It’s the historical heart of Milan with many landmarks and charming courtyards, but also a project of territorial marketing that promotes this part of the city through art and culture initiatives. Something that feels truly unique in the era of mass tourism. If this concept appeals to you too, scroll down to see my selection of design events organised by 5vie for Fuorisalone 2019.
If you visit the 5vie area during this special week in April, be prepared to discover a variety of installations scattered throughout the district. Still, there are two main exhibition hubs that invite you to visit the majestic interiors of Palazzo Litta and Palazzo Turati, located along the main arteries of 5vie – Corso Magenta and Via Meravigli. Both palaces host group shows, where each room contains a mini installation. I’ve already talked about the futuristic Echo Pavilion in the courtyard of Palazzo Litta (you can read it here), so now I would like to share my picks from the Litta Variations Opus 5, a group exhibition inside the opulent interiors of the baroque palace. This year it included works by sixty-five designers from twelve countries: from heritage Asian brands to ultramodern minimalism from France and the United Kingdom.
The second group show, held in the 19th-century Palazzo Turati, focused on design from the Netherlands. It’s one of the most vibrant and creative design scenes in Europe and the fourth edition of ‘Masterly – the Dutch in Milano’ introduced a panorama of local designers, young talents, design universities and galleries. While this year’s event was less spectacular than the first edition that I attended back in 2016, it still included a variety of products with participants celebrating the 350th anniversary of the death of Rembrandt.
My visit to the 5vie district wouldn’t be complete without contemporary art, to be found at The Pool NYC, an art gallery inside another historic landmark, Palazzo Fagnani Ronzoni. The gallery presented ‘Ikebana Rock’n’Roll’, a solo exhibition by Andrea Salvatori featuring a series of ceramic vases, their asymmetric shapes mirroring the musical scores and organic forms found in nature. The overall effect was highly original, poetic and unpredictable, in tune with abstract paintings by Giulio Turcato, also displayed in the gallery. They also reminded me of coral reef, don’t you think?
Apart from showcasing work by international designers, 5vie design district is equally committed to promoting the local design network. Events organised by 5vie gave me the chance to discover concept stores and ateliers hidden in the courtyards and narrow streets. Here are my favourite installations.
Finally, some highlights of more conceptual, site-specific installations that touched upon wider topics related to nature, anthropology, society and politics. The 5vie design district is dedicated to promote activity at the crossroads of art, design and culture. This year it was done through special exhibitions: ‘Human Code’ by Roberto Sironi in the Roman cellars of SIAM, ‘The Fish and the Crowd’ by Carlo Massoud inside the Oratorio della Passione, ‘Connect’ by Kiki van Eijk and Joost van Bleiswijk at 5vie headquarters and ‘L’ultima Cera’ by Anton Alvarez, an installation curated by Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte inside the church of San Bernardino alle Monache.
As you can see above, a tour of the 5vie district exposed me to various facets of contemporary design. It was a thought-provoking experience and I hope that you enjoyed my photo diary.