The Very Best Things We Spotted at Milan Design Week 2024

a large white dome with blue buckets in front of it
11 Things That Delighted Us at Milan Design WeekPiergiorgio Sorgetti

Like shopping for greeting cards, wandering through the Louvre, or scrolling Netflix, Milan Design Week offers an overwhelming number of things to see—and choices to make about what to see. The city-wide fair (which we ELLE DECOR editors like to refer to as “Design’s Super Bowl”) draws hundreds of exhibitors and hundreds of thousands of attendees. Salone del Mobile, the week’s anchoring trade fair, in fact, had more than 300,000 registered visitors last year. Amid this embarrassment of aesthetically pleasing riches, however, some stood out. From futuristic inflatables to a topsy-turvy office furniture installation, here are just a few of the things that delighted us during design’s biggest party.

Delcourt Collection’s “Horses in My Dreams” Exhibition

One of my favorite things about coming to Europe for the furniture fairs is finding smaller scale work that’s perfect for apartment living. “Horses in My Dreams,” an exhibition of 15 new pieces from Delcourt Collection, stuck with me for offering the exact opposite. Visitors were greeted by a colossal cabinet that could, in a pinch, double as housing itself, and turned the corner to find an outsize pendant light hanging over a table occupying the square footage of a city-friendly terrace, all exquisitely hand-finished. An extensive range of fabrics is all done in-house as well and appeared on upholstered seating and a bed. My favorite was used on a series of folding screens that featured a pattern designed by founder Christophe Delcourt’s daughter, Iris. —Sean Santiago, deputy editor

a room with a couch and a table with a vase of flowers
Frances Amiand

Korean Craft at Rossana Orlandi

Curator Jooyeon Choi has created one of the most beautiful exhibitions at Milan Design Week, “Thoughts on Thickness,” focusing on Korean craft. The show is an exploration of materiality, from the resin wall sculptures of Yongkyoung Kim to Sekyung Lee’s surprising plates with elaborate designs made of human hair. A highlight is a pavilion devoted to tea, which features a wall-size folded paper landscape mural by Changwon Lee that cascades with tea leaves, infusing the room with their intoxicating scent. —Ingrid Abramovitch, executive editor

a hallway with a white carpet and a white rug
Courtesy Rossana Orlandi, Milan

Allegra Hicks’s Metamorphosis Collection

Designer Allegra Hicks showed “Metamorphosis” at Nilufar Depot, an exhibition of six pieces that cleverly showcased her own crochet work by using it as a mold for cast-bronze lighting fixtures and tables. The idea was to connect what has historically been women’s work with the more masculine art of metalsmithing. While it’s a technique that can be seen in much of Hicks’s work, the sconces on view begged a second look. –S.S.

a group of chairs with objects on top of them
Filippo Pincolini

Ikea’s Pop-Up Dance Party

No surprise, the king of flatpack furniture knows how to throw a helluva pop-up. At Padiglione Visconti—a sprawling warehouse where sets and costumes for the Teatro alla Scala opera house are made—Ikea presented 1st, an installation that celebrates all the emotions that come with creating your first home. In addition to a labyrinth of vignettes celebrating Ikea’s latest launches (this fall, you can anticipate a collection of actually chic gaming furniture, plus updated versions of the Poäng chair and Klippon sofa), the venue featured a towering stack of scaffolding supporting a stage for discussions with various design luminaries (think Google’s Ivy Ross and Rossana Hu of the architect duo Neri&Hu). Come nightfall, however, the place transforms into a massive club with free performances from some of the hottest local artists in Milan, from hip-hop to Italo disco. Programming runs through Saturday, so if you’re still in town, pop on by and be prepared to get a little loose. —Anna Fixsen, deputy digital editor

milan design week 2024
Andrea Sgambelluri

Nifemi Marcus Bello’s Omi Iyo Collection

Designer and artist Nifemi Marcus-Bello has steadily been gaining attention for his sensitive, smart designs for domestic life, almost all of them made in his native Nigeria. For Milan Design Week, he brings back the poetic installation Omi Iyọ, which debuted during Miami Design Week last year and is now on view at the 5VIE space in Milan. Omi Iyọ, which came out of an encounter with an African refugee in Venice two years ago, is a living sculpture with a central shiplike form made of mirror-polished stainless steel. As viewers look on, locally sourced salt from Italy pours slowly from its center onto the platform below. Like a haunting hourglass of high design, it serves as a metaphor for the lives lost at sea in forced displacement, poignant in its first location in Miami and just as much so here in Milan. —Camille Okhio, senior design writer

a blue rectangular object with a round top and a round top and what looks like a mound of salt at center
Amir Farzad

Objects of Common Interest at Alcova

The ever active duo behind Objects of Common Interest, Eleni Petaloti and Leonidas Trampoukis are up to their necks in Milan-based design interventions this week. At Alcova, where they showed an outdoor inflatable fountain last year, their pavilion, or “garden house”—also inflatable—lends itself to the leisure of this year’s visitors. Like a bombolono split in half, it’s a much needed dose of levity and hilarity in what for many is the most hectic week of the year. If you’re in the mood for something more stable, there’s always the ceramics they designed with Bitossi Ceramiche, also at Alcova. And if you, like us, can’t get enough of these geniuses, they’ve installed an eggplant-hued room for retiring, Purple Nebula, inspired by celestial phenomena at Nilufar Depot that’s very much worth a stop in. —C.O.

a large white dome with blue buckets in front of it
Piergiorgio Sorgetti

Andromeda Collection by LSM Studio

Unifor, part of the Molteni Group, is known for designing chic, elevated office furniture, but its latest collection is so elegant, it can easily be used in residential contexts as well. Designed by longtime collaborators LSM Studio, the line includes a series of small side tables, a sideboard, a long table, seating and more. Seamlessly blending aluminum, chrome, and glass, each piece beautifully reflects its surrounding environment—an exercise in seamlessly blending open space with elegant design. The cherry on top was the installation at the brand’s showroom, executed by Studio Klass, which, outside, sets each piece on a tilted, circular platform. It emulates the Andromeda Theatre in central Italy, where Klass staged and photographed the pieces for Unifor, further demonstrating the collection’s versatility and impact. —Helena Madden, market editor

a large white building with a roof
Courtesy Unifor

WKND Lab’s Knotted Creations at Alcova

At Alcova, Seoul-based design duo Eunji Jun and Halin Lee of WKND Lab offered a literal twist on an ancient tradition: Korean knot-making, or maedeup. These elaborately-tied objects are traditionally gifted as good luck charms. In WKND Lab’s interpretation, however, these braided tokens have been reinterpreted as soft, beautifully complex wall sconces, accessories, and even furniture, all braided from puffy cloth ropes. Jun and Lee describe their work as “functional art with material-driven narratives”—and this was one story we were thrilled to experience. —A.F.

a room with a couch and statues
Piergiorgio Sorgetti

Foscarini’s Habitus Lighting

Italian lighting has a long history of combining technology with handmade craft. For an exquisite installation at the Milan showroom of Foscarini, artist and designer Andrea Anastasio teamed up with Amal, an India and Rome-based firm specializing in embroidery for haute couture, to create a small capsule collection that feels like an art show. Anastasio designed lighting that combines LED with beading made by skilled artisans in India. Some pieces combine glass beads, aluminum and LEDs in a series with echoes of artist Dan Flavin. Another group veils LEDs under strings of colorful beads with black centers for an effect reminiscent of an eclipse. Foscarini calls the grouping “experimental” (translation: not for sale), but here’s hoping the company will see the light and put them into production.—I.A.

spazio monforte habitus
Giuliano Koren

Squash Collection by Faye Toogood

Got curves? Poltrona Frau collaborated with British designer Faye Toogood for the first time this year, debuting a plump, playful collection at its sprawling showroom on Via Alessandro Manzoni. Offerings include an ottoman, side table, mirror, and rug, but it’s the voluptuous armchair that has us most excited. Its rounded silhouette feels almost like a contemporary take on Frau’s iconic Vanity Fair seat—further evidence of the brand’s continued relevance, even decades later.—H.M.

a room with a couch and chairs
Courtesy Poltrona Frau

Limbo Accra at Alcova

True to its name, Limbo Accra is adept at inhabiting the in between. For its first presentation at Alcova, the Amsterdam and Ghana based design studio released an edition of 10 lacquered wood Euclid Stools. A meeting of East and West, past and present, the stool takes its name from Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy and acts as a symbol of the space a soul takes on its journey to the afterlife. It is transmorphic, appearing as an A-frame structure on one side, and on the other recalling the Savonarola chair, itself pregnant with meaning as the victim of the Inquisition it was named after.—C.O.

a pyramid made of wood
Courtesy Limbo Accra

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