How Milan Design Week got its start

Today two of the most important events in Milan are the “Fuorisalone” and the “Salone Internazionale del Mobile” or International Furniture Fair that are celebrated each year during the Design Week, now in its 58th edition. 

© Cristina Torriano

Every year, events take place all over Milan and design becames the main protagonist of the city, with visitors pouring in ftom all over the world. 

However, only a few people know the history of these events that started in the late 1960s.

At that time,  Italy’s economy was booming and Italian industries were riding the wave: it was in this economic scenario that the first Salone del Mobile took place. It was organized by Cosmit (the Italian Comitato Organizzatore del Salone del Mobile) in order to promote Italian furniture industry exports.

At the end of the 70s, Cassina – a well-known Italian design firm – was the first  company to use its own showroom for receiving its costumers, in order to provide them with a more informal location. 

In the following years, a lot of other companies decided to do the same thing as Cassina, creating events in their showrooms or in other uncommon locations: this could be considered the informal birth of today’s “Fuorisalone”.

In 1983, the magazine “Abitare” dedicated a full section to this new phenomenon and in 1991 the Cosmit decided to change the exposition, moving it from September to April.

Gilda Bojardi – director of the magazine “Interni”- organised the first Designer’s Week with events set up by all the showrooms in the heart of the city; and collected them in a complete and official guide. 

The event — which took place at the same time as the Salone – didn’t really have the same success. For this reason, they decided to connect the two occasions, marking the official birth of the “Fuorisalone”.

Little by little,  the “Salone”  was opened even to everyone and not only to the experts of the sector.

Since 2000, “ via Tortona” and its surroundings became another important design district.

Also, firms, companies and boutiques – both from inside and outside the design sector – started to organize parties and promotional events, where was easy to find famous designers, architects, journalists or industrialists, a part from the international jet set. 

Since 2006, the “Salone’s” trade fair has been moved outside the city centre, in a new area called “Fieramilano”, designed by the Italian architectural  firm Fuksas. 

Despite this change in the logistic organization of the Salone, the connection between the fair and the city remained unchanged. The Fuorisalone meanwhile has spread out across the city center. 

Today, Design Week has gained popularity all over the world and is considered internationally as the main exhibition for the design sector.  

The edition that just ended of the Fuorisalone hosted more than 1311 events, from  184 countries, 350,000 guests and 2350 industries, mainly concentrated in the areas of Brera, Tortona, Ventura Lambrate, San Babila, Isola e 5 vie.

Italy Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte gave a speech at the opening cerimony this year, an edition that also celebrated 500 years of Leonardo da Vinci’s birth. 


5 tips for becoming a sustainable Fashion Addict


Did you know that the fashion industry is considered the second-most polluting industry in the world? In fact this sector is responsible for 10% of CO2 total emissions and the death of 70 million trees for the production of certain fabrics such as viscose, rayon or lyocell. So as consumers, what can we do in order to protect our planet and continue to be fashion victims

We can start following these five simple tips:

  1. Choose sustainable brands. Today many brands are taking environmental problems into account and choose not to use some fabrics or leathers that can cause environmental damage. So we should be aware about which brands are sustainable and which ones are not.
  2. Buy vintage,  or rent clothes. Apart from second – hand shops, where we can buy products at cheaper prices, another recent trend is the one of renting. In fact, today, people prefer to rent online – usually through specialized websites – products they love instead of owning them. In this way, not only we can be more sustainable, but also we can satisfy our desire to wear always something new.
  3. Check material and buy good quality. During the act of purchasing, price has usually a major role. But when it comes to sustainability, we should also pay attention to what is the actual composition of what we are buying. It’s very important to check and choose clothes that are made of sustainable fabrics or materials,  also considering that a lot of materials are not healthy for our skins or health in general. 
  4. Modify the cloth that we already have in our wardrobes. What if I tell you that what you are looking for- sometimes – can be just in front of your nose? Rarely we consider the possibility to take things that we already own and to transform them into what we are looking for. Indeed, sometimes having a bit of creativity and imagination can help us to save a lot of money and to find what we are searching with a few sartorial works.
  5. Don’t buy immediately. Last but not least in our list (LOL) we need to change our mental approach and attitude when it comes to purchasing. Usually when we find something that we like, we immediately buy it without taking into account our real needs. My suggestion is not to buy immediately what you like but to think about it: if you already own something similar, see if it will be useful for you and when. Sometimes, the best thing to do is not to buy the same day, but maybe the day after. This system allows us to understand if we really want that item or not.

This small piece of advice will help all of us to be more sustainable consumers and save money for things that – maybe–  we need more. Try to follow these tips  but – of course – when we are talking about sales, you can skip number 5 and go for it!

Banksy is against auctions. Is he right?

Art has a very fundamental role in today’s luxury market. In the survey “Art Market 2018”, we can see that sales at public auction of fine and decorative art and antiques reached $28.5 billion in 2017, up 27% year-on-year. The US and China dominated auction sales with a combined 68% share (respectively 35% and 33%). 

But artists themselves do not always appreciate selling their works to private collectors. Some artists think that art should be free and not privately owned, since it has a moral goal. A clear example of this attitude is the British graffiti artist Banksy. 

Last November, MUDEC inaugurated the exhibition “A Visual Protest. The Art of Banksy” curated by Gianni Mercurio and showcasing about 80 works including paintings, sculptures and prints of the artist. 

This graffiti artist has always been against the privatization of art and in general as artist Shepard Fairey explained, “His works are full of metaphors that transcend language barriers. The images are entertaining and witty, and yet so simple and accessible: even six-year old children who have no concept of cultural conflict, have no problem seeing that there is something not quite right when they see the Mona Lisa with a rocket launcher.” 

But let’s focus now on the idea of the commoditization of art.

On October 5 2018, Sotheby’s auctioned one of his paintings for 1.4 million dollars.The painting was a copy of the famous image of a girl releasing a heart balloon. However, after the sale, the painting self-destructed. After this episode, Banksy posted a video where he installed a shredder in the frame of the painting “in case it was ever put on auction.”  Then he quoted Pablo Picasso: “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.” 

This was a clear demonstration of Banksy’s way of considering art, but also a way to go against the system of auctions. 

However, this actually wasn’t Banksy’s first attempt to criticize the selling system. In 2007 Banksy created a work titled “I Can’t Believe You Morons Actually Buy This Shit” where he shows a clear opposition against the luxury art market. 

Another artist that has always been against the commoditization of art was Pietro Manzoni.

Each tin of his “Artist’s Shit, contents, 30 GR net, freshly preserved, produced and tinned in May 1961” was originally evaluated according to its equivalent weight in gold – $37 each in 1961 – with the price fluctuating according to the market. 

Manzoni’s simple, abject art more or less coincided with his country’s post-war boom, which saw great economic growth and a steep rise in consumer spending, also in the art sector. 

As graffiti artist Keith Haring said: “The public needs art — and it is the responsibility of a ‘self-proclaimed artist’ to realize that the public needs art, and not to make bourgeois art for a few and ignore the masses.” So has Bansky made a right choice of destroyng his work? As he says “The art world is the biggest joke going. It’s a rest home for the overprivileged, the pretentious, and the weak. And modern art is a disgrace – never have so many people used so much stuff and taken so long to say so little”.