Milan ready for Design Week

17-22 April. Six days of events across the city.

When Milan’s annual Salone del Mobile furniture fair opens on Tuesday 17 April, it’s not just the leading European trade fair of its category; it’s an excuse to turn the city into a party for the Fuorisalone – the “beyond the fair” programme of events, exhibits, cocktail parties, performances and more under the umbrella heading of Design Week.

The Salone Internazionale del Mobile was founded in 1961 as a vehicle for promoting Italian furniture and furnishings exports and soon became the most keenly awaited event in the world of furniture. Now it has grown a number of specialised satellite exhibitions – for kitchen equipment, bathrooms, lighting and so on – as well as its spinoff programme to keep the buyers and exhibitors entertained, along with milanesi in general and anybody else visiting the city during Design Week.

Hundreds of brands and designers will grab the occasion of the fair to showcase their latest inspirations, from a garden presenting all four seasons at once to a faithful reproduction of a traditional American east-coast diner, from innovative use of recycled plastics to African futurism, from a “monster cabaret” for exotic lighting to vegan-friendly homeware.

The Fuorisalone is not a Fair event; it doesn’t have a central organisation and it’s not managed by any institution. It started spontaneously early in the 1980s thanks to the will of companies working in the furnishing and industrial design sectors, and this year offers 1,312 events in bars, clubs, piazzas and palazzi all around Milan.

Whether you’re in Milan for business or tourism or live there anyway, whether you’re interested in furniture or disco dancing, whether you prefer modern art or retro collectables, Design Week in Milan offers plenty to see and do.