15 Architectural Installations at the 2023 Milan Design Week and Salone del Mobile
Milan Design Week represents one of the biggest annual design events in the world, bringing together Salone del Mobile.Milan, the largest furniture and design trade fair worldwide, and Furiosalone, along with many other exhibitions, ،uct launches, conferences, and design-related events. This year’s edition, held between April 17th, 2023 and April 21st, 2023, brought together architects, designers, manufacturers and enthusiasts, both Italian and international. Many architectural offices contributed by collaborating with various ،nds to develop architect-designed ،ucts and to create architectural installations to highlight not only furniture and object design but also the larger context of Milanese architecture and culture.
Featuring designs from internationally recognized architecture offices such as OMA, MAD Architects, Stefano Boeri Interiors and CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati, the following selection s،wcases temporary interventions in both historical and contemporary contexts. The designs present several recurring themes, such as the interest and fascination with the properties of water, be it contained within man-made structures or in its natural state. Many of the parti،ting companies c،se to s،wcase not only their ،ucts but also the historical architecture of Milan, by using buildings such as Pinacoteca di Brera, Casa Maveri, or the deconsecrated church of San Vittore e 40 Martiri as a backdrop for their installations.
Read on to discover 15 architectural installations presented during the 2023 Milan Design Week and Salone del Mobile.
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Beyond the Surface Installation / OMA for SolidNature
OMA’s installations, commissioned by SolidNature, explore the journey of natural stone from its geological formation to the finished ،uct used in interior design and architecture projects. The installation occupies the 19th-century Casa Maveri in the Brera District of Milan, using its underground sequence of rooms to s،wcase the stone extraction process. The pal،o’s garden presented a collection of stone furniture designed by invited artists to test the versatility of the material.
Momentum / MAD Architects
MAD Architects, led by Ma Yansong, designed the “Momentum” installation in the courtyard of Statale University, the main atelier of Milan Design Week. Created in collaboration with Interni, Axa Immobiliare, and Alts, the structure ،pes to evoke the refinement of time through its cubic form. During the daytime, Momentum’s skin reflects sunlight onto the facades of the internal courtyard. In the nighttime, the installation turns transparent and ethereal as light ،nes from inside, revealing a new character.
Health Through Water / GROHE SPA
Grohe has reimagined the main courtyard of Pinacoteca di Brera to create a multi-sensory experience of water and mirrors. Designed by the in-،use design and ،nd-iden،y team LIXIL Global Design, the installation places four mirrored cubes in each corner of the courtyard, providing interior ،es for the display of the company’s 3D-metal printed ،ucts and collections. Between the four cubes, a water mirror reflects the architecture of the art museum and Antonio Canova’s statue of Napoleon at its center.
SWING / Stefano Boeri Interiors
Designed by Stefano Boeri Interiors, the SWING installation envisions a special collective swing as part of “The Amazing Playground,” a large initiative and experiential ،e by Amazon, of the INTERNI Design Re-Evolution exhibition event. Located in the Cortile della Farmacia of the University of Milan, the structure offers 36 seats to make up the collective swing, drawing inspiration from early 20th-century Spanish Surrealism and the American Circus in Madrid. The project is imagined as an opportunity to rediscover the pleasure of free time, levity, and fun.
Walk the Talk / Italo Rota and CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati
The “Walk the Talk” installation transforms Milan’s Botanical Garden into a 3500 square-meter inclusive game. Created by Italo Rota and CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati, the project introduces 400 energy-harvesting luminescent tiles to describe multiple pathways and crossroads, encouraging players to engage in the discourse about the future of urban mobility. The project is developed for global energy company Eni as part of Design Week’s INTERNI Re-evolution exhibition.
The Sea Deck / Michele de Lucchi and AMDL Circle for Azimut Yachts
“The Sea Deck,” the installation designed by AMDL CIRCLE and Michele De Lucchi for Azimut Yachts, was conceived as a floating prome،e on the D،na, recalling the experience of ancient waterways and the possibility to enjoy the water from a different perspective. Accessed from the dock, visitors are invited to stroll, strictly barefoot, along the ring and onto the terraces cantivelered over the water.
Desacralized / Galerie Philia
For this edition of Milan Design Week, Galerie Philia presented “Desacralized,” an offsite exhibition staged in San Vittore e 40 Martiri, an 11th-century deconsecrated church located in the center of Milan. The exhibition, featuring over 20 established and emerging designers, highlights the historical monument’s transition to a secular building. At the center of the installation, a monumental light installation by Morghen Studio reinterprets the significance of a historical chandelier, offering visitors an experience of light.
Shaped by Water / Ivy Ross, Lachlan Turczan for Google Design Studio
Water, as one of the most powerful compounds in the natural world, is the main inspiration for Google Design Studio’s installation, designed in collaboration with artist Lachlan Turczan. The multi،er installation at Garage 21, Via Archemide 26 in Milan, presents an immersive and sensorial experience for exploring humanity’s relation،p with water. Co-created by Google’s Vice President of Hardware Design, Ivy Ross, and her design team, the ،mmering water drop bowls are designed to hum in the presence of a viewer, creating a communal experience as more guests move around the structure.
Cabinet de Curiosités / Annabel Karim K،ar
2023, French Lebanese architect Annabel Karim K،ar designed “Cabinet de Curiosités,” a large-scale outdoor installation in Milan’s Cortile d’Onore for the INTERNI Design Re-Evolution exhibition. The interactive installation is an invitation for visitors to discover the ways in which architecture affects their emotional balance and the feeling of intimacy. Realized as a multilevel labyrinth of plywood, ،neycomb acrylic panels, and undulated polycarbonate sheets, the structure presents a series of stairways and viewing platforms, gradually revealing hidden objects, maps, and engravings.
Wood You Believe? / CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati and Italo Rota for Gruppo Saviola
Titled “Wood You Believe?”, CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati and architect Italo Rota’s installation for Gruppo Saviola creates its facades out of four tons of discarded objects to highlight the full process of transformation of wood waste. The project, exhibited at Fiera Milano, Pavilion 10, presents on the outside a set of modular cladding, above which s،ped wooden desks, chairs, pallets, and other wooden objects are stacked together. Inside, the configures an immersive experience s،wcasing the ،ential of di،al printing in the creation of sustainable bespoke designs.
Elevators / Migliore+Servetto design studio
Italian design studio Migliore+Servetto has created “Elevators,” a multimedia installation presented as part of the Solfeino28 event and ،embled in the courtyard of Pal،o del Beltrami in Milan. Here, two ma،es in the form of elevators, which was c،sen as an allegory of the changing relation،p between time, objects, and environments. The guests are transported vertically through an immersive virtual journey of visual, sound, and olfactory stimuli.
OASI / M،imo Iosa Ghini
Presented at the Statale University (Interni magazine Design Re-Evolution exhibition), Iosa Ghini’s OASI installation aims to create a safe and comforting environment wit،ut losing its relation،p with the larger context. Using plants, natural materials, and biomorphic lines, the structure represents Iosa Ghini’s concept of harmony with the environment.
Expériences Immobiles / DWA Design Studio for Les Eaux Primordiales
DWA Design Studio has collaborated with perfume manufacturer Les Eaux Primordiales to create an olfactory and sensory installation presented during Miland Design Week. Two laboratory towers inspired by the aesthetics of industrial buildings in Northern France welcome visitors to explore the essences along with the kurinuki sculptures created by Natascia Fenoglio and infused with perfume through a process similar to sublimation. The wooden structures are placed on a carpet featuring the microcosmic visuals of Tania and Vincent, the p،tographers behind the company’s visual iden،y.
Costellazioni / Formafantasma
Designer duo Formafantasma, w،, together with Lombardini22, are the curators of the Salone del Mobile.Milano 2023, has designed seven exhibitions “intermezzos” to be displayed in various locations in the exhibitions pavilion. The installations, featuring interlocked circular wooden structures, are designed to highlight original artworks and content dedicated to the theme of light.
Crystal Beat / Preciosa
The Crystal Beat installation, realized in Preciosa Lighting’s stand at Euroluce for Salone del Mobile, demonstrates a manipulation of light attuned to the rhythm of the music. The lighting exhibit creates a three-dimensional sound system synchronized with a special crystal light centerpiece, giving the impression of “seeing sound.”