For those who see the Milan furniture fair as a cultural event, and are less interested in the ups and downs of the contract furniture business, it’s all about the fringe. Away from the wheeler-dealing hordes of the Saloni, the city blossoms with design exhibitions that are less commercial and more searching, more propositional. This year, however, there seemed to be less of the curated, thematic shows that have made Milan so stimulating in the past.
Only a few years ago, the area around Via Tortona would have been the barometer of the week, with young designers filling derelict warehouses with experimental work, and the streets thronging with visitors. But gentrification and the influx of giant corporate brands from Ford to Samsung have killed off Tortona as a place of interest. Instead, the shows staged by design schools and recent graduates have moved northeast, to the Lambrate district.