FuoriSalone 2019 – the best of 5vie design district

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.

Ecole Comando Palazzo Litta Fuorisalone 2019
Teatro del Giorno: design as a theatre set design, an installation by the students of Ecole Camondo using furniture by a Paris-based brand Tiptoe. Photo: dreamsanddesign
Jaipur Rugs Matteo Cibic Palazzo Litta Fuorisallone 2019
Inspired by Rajasthan: the Jaipur Wunderkammer by Jaipur Rugs, a collection of hand-knotted carpets designed in collaboration with Matteo Cibic that explored the strong colours and ancient patterns of the Indian city. Photo: dreamsanddesign
Kawashima Selkon Textile Palazzo Litta Fuorisalone 2019
Crafts and modern technology made in Kyoto in a textile installation by Kawashima Selkon Textiles, featuring Japanese floral patterns embroidered on brocade, velvet and jacquard. Photo: dreamsanddesign
Lithea Mediterranean Grafts Palazzo Litta Fuorisalone 2019
Mediterranean Grafts: The Sicilian company Lithea presented a collection of objects made of natural stone, celebrating its Mediterranean heritage with creative input by Italian artist and product designer Elena Salmistraro. Photo: dreamsanddesign
Axap Matteo Ragni Palazzo Litta Fuorisalone 2019
147 colourful butterflies made of XL Extralight material in a conceptual installation by Matteo Ragni and Scuola Politecnica di Design SPD. Photo: dreamsanddesign
Palazzo Litta Milano
Looking up: a Murano glass chandelier at Palazzo Litta. Photo: dreamsanddesign
Allermuir Cove Palazzo Litta Fuorisalone 2019
Cove by a British brand Allermuir: minimalist benches designed by Benjamin Hubert on display inside the Mirror Room of Palazzo Litta. Photo: dreamsanddesign
Theater of Food Palazzo Litta Defne Kez Fuorisalone 2019
The Theatre of Food by Defne Koz, a collection of plates designed as a stage for gourmet food, their minimalist style in contrast with the decor of the room. Photo: dreamsanddesign
Artmining Milano 2019 Palazzo Litta Fuorisalone 2019
Artmining Milano 2019: a showcase of South Korean artists, craftsmen and designers exploring the themes of values and emotions. Photo: dreamsanddesign
Babled Editions Prime Matter Palazzo Litta Fuorisalone 2019
Traditional craftsmanship and digital technologies by Babled Editions, an installation promoting their new platform primematter.net that sells sustainable furniture as an alternative to mass production. Photo: dreamsanddesign

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.

Masterly the Dutch in Milano Fuorisalone 2019
Tulips and architecture: the courtyard of Palazzo Turati transformed into a floral lounge with 15,000 tulips. Photo: dreamsanddesign
Dots Thed Konings Masterly the Dutch in Milano Fuorisalone 2019
Dots: a chair made of a high-tech gel and polished metal by Thed Konings.
Photo: dreamsanddesign
Arnout Visser Masterly the Dutch in Milano Fuorisalone 2019
Big Mushrooms: artisanal LED lamps made of hand-blown glass by Arnout Visser.
Photo: dreamsanddesign
Bedding House Masterly the Dutch in Milano Fuorisalone 2019
Van Gogh’s dreams: a collaboration between the Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam and the Bedding House that produced limited edition duvet covers and decorative cushions.
Photo: dreamsanddesign
Linda Nieuwstad flowers Masterly the Dutch in Milano Fuorisalone 2019
Blooming in the Golden Age: hand-crafted roses by Linda Nieuwstad referencing the paintings of the Dutch Golden Age Photo: dreamsanddesign
Studio Kalff Masterly the Dutch in Milano Fuorisalone 2019
Inspired by Rembrandt: Amsterdam-based designer Roos Kalff drew inspiration from the painter’s colour palette to create lights made of vintage and contemporary hand-blown glass. Photo: dreamsanddesign

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?

Ikebana Rock'n'Roll Andrea Salvatori The Pool NYC Milano
Ikebana Rock’n’Roll: a collection of white vases with irregular pink spheres by Andrea Salvatori. Photo: dreamsanddesign
Ikebana Rock'n'Roll Andrea Salvatori The Pool NYC Milano
The vases were digitally fabricated using 3D printing by the Delta WASP 40100 Clay printer. Photo: dreamsanddesign

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. 

Giopato and Coombes Fuorisalone 2019
To the Moon and Back: the new collection by British-Italian duo Giopato and Coombes presented at the Adima concept store in via San Maurilio. Photo: dreamsanddesign
Giopato and Coombes Fuorisalone 2019
The lighting by Giopato and Coombes is made of Murano glass, oxidised brass and bone china. The new collection references the Cosmos and the surreal. Photo: dreamsanddesign
Bitossi Home Funky Table Fuorisalone 2019
B-Loom: a vibrant tableware installation by Paula Cademartori at the Funky Table store in via Santa Marta. The collection was inspired by the tropical South American flora and made in collaboration with an Italian ceramics brand Bitossi Home. Photo: dreamsanddesign
Eligo La stanza sul cortile Eligo Studio Fuorisalone 2019
La stanza sul cortile: a room overlooking a Milanese courtyard with a re-edition of Chiavari chairs by Eligo, a local brand that champions Italian craftsmanship. Photo: dreamsanddesign

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.

Human Code Roberto Sironi 5 vie Fuorisalone 2019
Human Code: an installation by Roberto Sironi, curated by Annalisa Rosso, in the underground Roman cellars, traced the stages of human evolution by using data analysis as well as objects from the past and the present. Photo: dreamsanddesign
Human Code Roberto Sironi 5 vie Fuorisalone 2019
Contemporary ruins: the Human Code exhibition reflected on a problematic relation between human beings and the planet. Photo: dreamsanddesign
Carlo Massoud 5 vie Fuorisalone 2019
The Fish and the Crowd: an exhibition by young Lebanese designers, siblings Carlo and Mary-Lynn Massoud, where objects were ‘seated’ on the benches as an imaginary crowd in front of a contemporary altarpiece, pointing to a tension between the physical and the spiritual context of the church. Photo: dreamsanddesign
Kiki van Eijk and Joost van Bleiswijk Connect 5 vie Fuorisalone 2019
Connect: an installation by a Dutch creative couple Kiki van Eijk and Joost van Bleiswijk focused on the theme of connection: human and artistic, but also the one between space and architecture, nature and people. Photo: dreamsanddesign
Kiki van Eijk and Joost van Bleiswijk Connect 5 vie Fuorisalone 2019
A series of sculptural objects by Kiki van Eijk and Joost van Bleiswijk, with a strong emphasis on free form, not constrained by functionality. Photo: dreamsanddesign
Anton Alvarez L'ultima Cera 5 vie Fuorisalone 2019
Bathed in the pink light inside a Renaissance church : ‘L’ultima Cera’ (The Last Wax), an installation by Anton Alvarez explored the boundary between the functional objects and sculptures, using a special wax technique for bronze. Photo: dreamsanddesign

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.

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