Mint Milano

This year’s International Furniture Fair was a sight to behold
Milan's Duomo
The Duomo itself, which dates from the 14th century, is Milan’s undisputed design masterpiece.

In April the hugely underrated city of Milan hosted, for the 50th year in a row, the Salone Internazionale del Mobile. Designers, vendors, buyers and the press descended on the massive fair complex at Rho to take in all that’s new, from Zaha Hadid’s lightweight colored-plastic “Tide” shelving system for Magis to Jacopo Foggini’s glowing pink “Alice” chair for Edra. Cutout forms, such as Patricia Urquiola’s honeycomb-like lamp collection for Flos, were trendy, and whimsy was everywhere, from the laugh-out-loud room vignettes at Vitra to an Italian tricolore “car seat” at Meritalia (literally a car-shaped piece of furniture) to the floral-patterned pillows and furniture at Kenzo, which were wrapped in bands of black fabric, obi-style.

Pop-up installation at the Duomo (left) Mannequins at Prada (right)

Style Capital | Taking a peek at a pop-up installation on the Piazza del Duomo (above left).  At Prada (above right), in the soaring Galleria Vittorio Emanuele shopping arcade, mannequins sport dresses with Josephine Baker–like motifs. Architect Zaha Hadid’s “Tide” shelving system for Magis (below left). During the fair, swaths of fabric were woven through the columns of the Pinacoteca di Brera, known for its Renaissance religious art (below right).

Left; Zaha Hadid's "Tide" shelving. Right: Swatrhs of fabric woven through colums at Pinacoteca di Brera.

Around town, pop-up installations and showrooms fêted the fair in practically every nook and cranny. “Design Delikatessen” featured sinuous elongated glass votive holders by Marco Ciceri; Manel Torres played witty videotaped fashion statements using spray-on fabric in the shadow of the magisterial Duomo; and 10 Corso Como, the Carla Sozzani–helmed style emporium, reinterpreted the “dining table” of Italian designer Carlo Mollino, selling bottles of vino rosso for 50 euros each. On via Statuto, Dodici displayed fabulous “galvanized”
baths and sinks painted white or black and accented with supple wood tub rests, while Baccarat unveiled new design darling Jaime Hayón’s “Candy Lights,” though the cut-crystal pendants by Michele DeLucchi and forest of real birch trees and skinny crystal lamps were a lot more interesting. And the “Mutant Architecture and Design” installations inside the 15th-century Ca’ Grande at the University of Milan were a triumph, proving that no matter how old the venue, there’s always a fresh way to look at things.

Missoni’s tableware (left) and Kartell’s showbizzy stall (right).

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner? | Missoni’s vibrant stripes and colors were reinterpreted into new table-ware patterns (above left). Red Sea | Kartell’s showbizzy stall included these greatest hits (above right). Space Case | Jacopo Foggini’s “Plasteroid” lands at the University of Milan’s 15th-century Ca’ Grande, with Carlo Colombo’s alluring tower (it conceals a secret garden) in the background (below).

acopo Foggini’s “Plasteroid” at the University of Milan’s 15th-century Ca’ Grande