The Best Things We Saw at Salone Del Mobile

Is Milan’s Salone del Mobile the new fashion week? Given the number of events being hosted by fashion brands around the annual design fair this week, you couldn’t be faulted for confusing the two. It makes sense: the city has as rich a history with clothing and accessories as it does with objects and interior design. Bottega Veneta, Gucci, and Loro Piana all have some form of seating on display, and Prada and Miu Miu are hosting heady talks on the subject of design to keep visitors on their toes. Plus Loewe, MCM, Saint Laurent, and Thom Browne are all in town as well. Below, a quick guide of the surrounding events you missed and what you can still see. (The fair itself remains open to the public through April 21.)


A collaboration between Colin King and Calico Wallpaper at Villa Borsani

Photographed by Jonathan Hökklo

Compared to Alcova’s previous settings, which included an abandoned ivy-covered military hospital and a former slaughterhouse, the locations for this year’s satellite fair — Villa Borsani and Villa Bagatti Valsecchi — are downright luxurious. The former is a 1940s modernist architectural gem by Osvaldo Borsani with lush gardens and a Lucio Fontana-designed fireplace, and the latter is a former summer home of a noble Milanese family and a notable example of 19th-century architecture. Both are a 25-minute train ride from the center of Milan, which is worth it to see installations by Laila Gohar, Conie Vallese, Colin King, Sema Topaloğlu, and others, but also to catch a quick break from the whirlwind of the week (also on view through April 21).

Il Bisonte x Shawn Henderson

The Florentine leather goods brand has collaborated for the second time with the New York-based interior designer Shawn Henderson on a capsule collection titled: “There’s A Home For Everything: The Keepsake Box.” Inspired by Wilhelm Wagenfeld’s Bauhaus design principles of combining utility and beauty, each stackable black box, which can store everything from family photos to love letters, is crafted in Tuscany using the finest vegetable-tanned leather. The collection is available now at Il Bisonte’s flagship store on Via Santo Spirito.

Bottega Veneta x Cassina and Fondation Le Corbusier

Matthieu Blazy’s take on Le Corbusier.

Courtesy of Bottega Veneta

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Matthieu Blazy’s second installation during Milan Design Week is a collaboration with Cassina and Fondation Le Corbusier. It features 60 limited-edition intrecciato leather stools and 100 wooden ones, all of which are available for purchase—and quickly selling out—and which served as the seating for Bottega Veneta’s fall-winter 2024 show. Inspired by Le Corbusier’s timeless LC14 Tabouret Cabanon, a box-shaped design he created after finding a whiskey box washed up on a Côte d’Azur beach, it’s just about the size of a carry-on suitcase if you’re in the market for a souvenir. If not, the original whisky box is on display alongside its contemporary offspring at Palazzo San Fedele from April 16 – 20.

Gucci Ancora

Sabato de Sarno’s reinterpretation of an Acerbis cabinet.

Courtesy of Gucci.

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Ancora, ancora, ancora! Gucci creative director Sabato De Sarno worked with Michela Pelizzari, founder of P:S communications (and the unofficial queen of Salone), on a reimagination of five limited-edition, well-known Italian design objects that have been rendered in the brand’s new signature Rosso Ancora color. Exhibited at the brand’s flagship store with a floor-to-ceiling neon-green installation by Spanish architect Guillermo Santomà, they include an Acerbis cabinet by Nanda Vigo, a cc-tapis rug by Nicolò Castellini Baldissera of Portaluppi Pattern Project, a FontanaArte lamp by Gae Aulenti and Piero Castiglioni, a Tacchini couch by Mario Bellini, and a Venini vase by Tobia Scarpa.

Hermès’s Archival Deep Dive

References to leather riding whips made their way onto a series of lamps at Hermès.

Courtesy of Hermès.

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This year, Hermès turned to its vast archives for inspiration, taking design elements from objects like leather hunting whips and silver necklaces and incorporating them into homewares (lamps and lounge chairs, respectively). For the first time, the brand is also utilizing its long history with saddlery for the home. Colorful 1960s jockey jerseys inspired bold blankets and baskets, plus images of a braided rope harness were printed on porcelain dinnerware. A visit to the exhibition space feels like stepping into a museum.

Loewe’s Lamps

An artful light fixture at Loewe.

Courtesy of Loewe.

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“Loewe lamps” has a nice ring to it, no? For the fair, the brand commissioned 24 artists, some of whom have never made light fixtures before, to create an eclectic range of floor, table, and suspended lamps. The results are delightful and unexpected, with materials like bamboo, birch twigs, and horsehair, and forms that resemble everything from lighters to hanging gourds. Genta Ishizuka, for example, a Japanese urushi lacquer artist who won the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize in 2014, finished his lamp with layers of gloss that are stripped back to reveal glimmers of gold finishing, making the piece look like it’s magically glowing inside.

Loro Piana’s Ode to Cini Boeri

Historical designs rendered in touchable Loro Piana cashmere.

Courtesy of Loro Piana.

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On the occasion of the brand’s own centennial, Loro Piana paid homage to Italian architect and designer Cini Boeri, who would have been 100 this year, by dressing some of her most iconic pieces in its luscious home fabrics. On display at the Loro Piana headquarters, the collection, produced by Arflex, includes playful pieces like the “Strips” bed, which you can zip yourself into, plus the “Bobo” and “Boborelax” armchairs. They showcase just how ahead of her time Boeri was—and thanks to Loro Piana, will surely be the softest pieces of furniture you touch all week.

The Prada Frames Symposium

The author and academic Marta Segarra talks at Prada Frames during Milan Design Week at Museo Bagatti Valsecchi.

Getty Images for Prada

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One too many giant negronis at Bar Basso can make you feel a little brain-dead, but thankfully Prada’s third-annual Prada Frames symposium brought some intellectual energy to the fair. Curated by the design studio Formafantasma, this year’s program, which consisted of conversations and lectures led by various scholars and experts, used the concept of home as a framework to explore the complex relationship between the natural environment and design. Hosted at the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum, which was an actual home until 1974, the talks centered around various rooms, from the bedroom to the bathroom.

MCM x Atelier Biagetti

The Chatty Sofa in the metaverse.

Courtesy of MCM

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This is the German brand’s first time at the fair, and they’re making a grand entrance with a seven-piece furniture and accessories collection curated by Maria Cristina Didero that extends beyond the physical world. Unlike other Salone presentations, you can actually experience this one from the comfort of your own home by entering the MCM “Wearable Casa” metaverse on your phone, computer, or Meta headset. So you can gossip on the “Chatty Sofa” just like everyone else.

Miu Miu’s Literary Club

A poster for Miu Miu’s literary club

Courtesy of Miu Miu

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Also for the first time, Miu Miu is joining forces with sister brand Prada with a two-day Literary Club. Titled “Writer’s Life,” this year’s focus will be the works “A Woman” by the Italian writer and poet Sibilla Aleramo and “Forbidden Notebook” by Cuban-Italian writer Alba De Céspedes, both of which demonstrate how writing has and can be a powerful form of self-expression and independence for women. On April 17 and 18, the brand will host conversations, live performances, and other events around these two writers at Circolo Filologico, Milan’s cultural association.

Saint Laurent x Gio Ponti x Villa Planchart

A reissued Ginori plate from the the Villa Planchart Segnaposto collection.

Courtesy of Saint Laurent

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Saint Laurent creative director Anthony Vaccarello has curated an exhibition and exclusive collaboration with the Gio Ponti Archives and the Fundación Anala y Armando Planchart. It all started In Venezuela in 1953, when Anala and Armando Planchart commissioned Ponti
to build an avant garde villa for them on the highest hill overlooking Caracas. In addition to building the couple a gorgeous home, he also handled every inch of the interior design, commissioning Ginori to design a set of porcelain tableware decorated with the symbols
and motifs of the villa, including the Sun, the Crescent Moon, and the Polar Star, plus the letter “A.” Now, thanks to Saint Laurent, Ginori has reissued 12 original plates from the Villa Planchart Segnaposto collection designed by Ponti in 1957.

Thom Browne x Frette

A perfectly made bed by Thom Browne x Frette.

Courtesy of Thom Browne.

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Thom Browne announced a rare extension of its home collection with a dramatic performance at Palazzina Appiani on April 16. In collaboration with Frette, the 160-year-old Italian textile company, the brand will release new bedding and bath linens, plus a gym towel, a beach bag, and a bathrobe inspired by a trench coat. Of course, every single piece features the label’s signature four stripes, so you can tuck yourself in in style.

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