The last edition of Milan Design Week taking in Milan from 18 April to 23 April 2023 was successful.


The Salone del Mobile Milano 2023 edition taking place at Rho Fiera Milano show pole saw the participation of more than 2,000 exhibiting brands, 34% from 37 different countries, including 550 young designers from 31 countries, and 28 design schools and universities from 18 countries.


The show welcomed 307,418 registered visitors, 15% more than in 2023. Out of the total visitors, 65% of buyers and sector operators were from abroad, from 181 different countries. Especially significant was the presence of insiders from China who have returned to being the first country after Italy, followed by Germany, France, The US, Spain with Brazil and India on equal terms.


Fuorisalone, the series of events hosted throughout Milan, counted over 550,000 registered users, confirming the very good attendance and positive attitude that coulkd be perceived in the city once again hosting the Salone in April, as it traditionally happened before the stop imposed by COVID in 2020 and 2021 and the postponing to June in 2022.


While the 2024 event's edition will take place from 16 to 21 April, this year's edition highlighted a vast series of events and installations also involving a significant number of fashion brands focused on new sustainable and higly innovative projects.


Giorgio Armani's invitation to Palazzo Orsini
On the occasion of the Salone del Mobile 2023, Giorgio Armani presented a selection of Armani/Casa furniture and furnishings for the very first time at Palazzo Orsini, one of the designer's own prestigious properties in via Borgonuovo.

Armani Casa
Photo: Giorgio Armani
Armani Casa
The designer presented his new collections, including the brand's first outdoor collection, and new editions of established classics in a setting that conveys sophisticated domestic charm, revealing the creative epicentre where the expressions of Armani style come to life. A unique display created a path from the hidden garden – accessed from the 17th century porticoed courtyard – through the frescoed rooms usually hosting the brand's Haute Couture creations.


"My work, both in fashion and in design, is a constant pursuit for balance that comes from the choice of materials and the expert skill of the hands that create it," said Giorgio Armani.


"Opening the doors of the brand's historic headquarters to the public at the Salone del Mobile and unveiling the new Armani/Casa collection in such an intimate setting is a way of highlighting this process," he added.


Stone Island investigates on liquid crystals' potentials
A new Stone Island's Prototype Research Series limited edition capsule made its debut at the brand's Milan showroom.

Stone Island Prototype Research Series07
Photo: Stone Island
Stone Island Prototype Research Series07
For the occasion, they released two Series 07 pieces in Liquid Crystal Heat Reactive. While exposed to a heat source and cooled subsequently, the fabric of these jackets exhibited the broad spectrum of colours attainable while LED screens completed the installation, projecting a chromatic microscopic investigation of the cholesteric liquid crystals.

The new Series 07 jackets unveiled a special thermochromic technology made with a nylon canvas fabric, coated with helical-shaped cholesteric liquid crystals ink that reacted revealing a vast spectrum of chromatic points, spanning diverse and unexpected degrees of iridescence.

Reacting to temperatures from 15° C to 31 °C, the liquid crystals distributed on the fabric triggered a molecular reactive color change system evident in the metamorphosis that entered the shades of yellow and green to then flew into the blues.


Developed by the Stone Island Research and Development Hub in collaboration with the British duo Sara + Sarah, the Liquid Crystal Heat Reactive featured a black starting base at room temperature, taking distance from the thermo-chromatic solutions previously investigated by Stone Island since 1989.


Freitag hypes on circular design
Along with Levi's and G-Star, also significant were installations like those presented, among others, by Freitag, the accessory and apparel brand that operates according to circular principles.

Photo: Elias Boetticher
For this edition Freitag, the accessory and apparel brand focused on a circular model, participated in Milan Design Week by launching its new "Always Beta. Never Waste" project at Dropcity, Milan's new Architecture and Design Center. The project was focused on a new functional backpack entirely made with a single recyclable material used for every part including belts, zippers and fabrics.


Lanieri's new research
The made-to-measure and made-to-order Lanieri menswear brand owned by Reda, presented Upcycle, a new numbered capsule collection, made with precious Reda Group's historical archive fabrics. After a careful research process they chose five archive fabrics reinterpreted in unique design single edition apparel pieces.

Photo: Lanieri
Lanieri also presented the work of artist Alessandra Roveda, created in collaboration with Galleria Paola Colombari, which interpreted the historic sewing machine of the Singer store in Turin designed by architect Carlo Mollino, through crochet work. The artist's works used crochet as an expressive tool to give new life to forgotten objects of ancient memory, as in this case, Singer's early 20th century sewing machine.


Labo.Art flies high
Labo.Art presented the "Butterflies" installation that soberly interpreted the Design Re-Evolution theme hosted at the State University together with, for example, Levi's.

Photo: Courtesy of Interni
Labo.Art 's project, through the metaphor of the evolution of simple organisms such as, for example, the caterpillar becoming a butterfly, wanted to convey the message of transition from simplicity to complexity.


Ludovica Diligu, designer and founder of the Labo.Art brand, chose for this installation a vast color scale that emulates the natural wonder of the rainbow.


Benetton discloses its new store concept
United Colors of Benetton launched its new Benetton Home collection inside a pop-up store in Via Capelli 1, just around the corner from Piazza Gae Aulenti, one of Milan’s most dynamic destinations.

Benetton Pop-Up store, Milan
Photo: Benetton
Benetton Pop-Up store, Milan
The new collection was inspired by the s/s 2023 the collection's Fruit of Desire theme featuring colorful pop prints of apples, cherries and pears permeating the kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms, featuring on plates, cups, aprons, tablecloths and placemats, bathrobes, towels, blankets, pillows and bed linen.


The main theme of the collection also defines the layout of the pop-up store – an industrial space of almost 300 sq. meters, designed to amplify the brand's experience. "A renewal of the image and layout of our commercial network is underway,” explains Massimo Renon, CEO, Benetton Group. “For a couple of months, this pop-up store with its original concept will represent a trial run of the Benetton store of the future, both in terms of product type and positioning.”


Avant.Toi's Rainbow's end
Italian knitwear brand Avant Toi, as a technical partner of the exhibition "Rainbow. Colors and Wonders among Myths, Arts and Science," inaugurated at the MUDEC Museum in Milan open until July 2, 2023, was the protagonist of some workshops.

Avant Toi
Photo: Avant Toi
Avant Toi
Mirko Ghignone, artistic director of the brand, wanted to celebrate the rainbow colors by participating in some live action painting performances presenting the techniques and background of the creations of the Avant Toi collections.


Timberland's AI-generated creativity
To mark the 50th anniversary of the iconic Original Timberland Boot, Timberland has unveiled the special Timberland x Suzanne Oude Hengel Future73 project.

Photo: Timberland
Knitwear researcher, technician and designer, Suzanne Oude Hengel is one of six visionary designers called upon by Timberland to reinterpret the iconic Yellow Boot, recreating its first knit version.


Inspired by Oude Hengel, who likes to take textile machinery to its limits to create seemingly impossible shoe designs, the installation featured three different sections.


The first showed a mosaic of archival images, collected over the years, of the Timberland Premium 6-Inch Boot; the second part consisted of a pattern created through artificial intelligence and inspired by Oude Hengel's knitting techniques; while the final chapter harnessed artificial intelligence to create a unique work through the combination of Timberland and Oude Hengel's data - a visual embodiment of the Future73 project.


"It is exciting how the ideas developed for the Future73 capsule can take shape through AI and to see how the union of my DNA and Timberland's melt together in a new immersive experience that will recall most different consumers' attention," commented the designer.

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