In April of every year, since 1961, Milan’s Design Week takes place; an event that gathers international design makers and lovers from all over the world. The impact on the city’s structure is highly noticeable during the week as the number of tourists and visitors increase, and therefore so does the traffic. The need for getting from one place to another as quickly as possible is high as everybody wants to be part of this event.
Week one of the event represents a city shaping experience, and is divided between the commercial hub of Salone del Mobile and the cultural events of Fuorisalone.
Salone del Mobile takes place in Rho Fiera, a vast organized space that was built to accommodate Milan’s need for large exhibitions. The design of the structure represents a closed hub that can be reached by any means of transportation from the city center. It is highly accessible because of its strong link to the city, but it is a separate entity developed outside Milan’s urban area.
If you’re in the furniture industry, you will most likely spend most of your time in Rho Fiera. The restricted area can be accessed only by pre-paid ticket entry and is highly exclusive. It produces massive amounts of traffic and the exhibit concentrates on brilliant designers and their products.
The products and services that are exhibited are directly related to the industry (manufactures, trade magazines and publications, professional organizations, et cetera). The exhibit area is divided into three different product styles: design, modern, and classic, all of which present items that introduce new trends in furniture and interior design.
The events of Fuorisalone represent “the promotion of design as event, performance, and as installation of the urban texture.” The temporary events and exhibitions taking place during Design Week are located in official spaces inside the city and are accessible to all. During this time the urban design of the city changes around the world of creativity. From redesigned outdoor spaces to thematic exhibitions, Milan presents a diverse set of attractions.
If you’re young and adventurous you’ll want to explore the wonders of the city within Fuorisalone. The events spread through the city like an octopus with tentacles, generating points of interest all around Milan. It has main design hubs where you can find famous designers, but it also has spontaneous exhibitions that showcase newer young designers. It is an exhibition that enhances city design and dynamics, and promotes Milan to perform at it’s highest level of creative quality.
The entire week has strong effects on the city’s social and economic aspects as well - and young architects and designers want to get a piece of both. Salone del Mobile is a powerful tool within a concentrated, industry-oriented setting, whereas Fuorisalone is a more youthful-feeling event that features a spontaneous set of creative ideas that help enhance the wonders of the city.
The first represents an isolated focal point on the commercial side of design, while the other is more oriented to the people, culture, and urban design of the city.
From a planning perspective, which one - Salone del Mobile or Fuorisalone - is better for the city? If you attended Milan’s 2014 Design Week, which was your favorite?
Credits: Images by Alexandra Serbana and Dan Andresan. Data linked to sources.