In the Mix

Dispatch from Milan

Design Miami

Our editors share their favorite highlights from Milan Design Week

Milan Design Week is always a visually fabulous fête. And this year was all the sweeter for having followed the forced year off. Inspiration, innovation, and the joy of reunion were all around.  Scroll on for some of our editors’ favorite moments on the ground.


Unnatural Practice by Marcin Rusak

Unnatural Practice by Marcin Rusak, curated by Federica Sala, on view at Milan Design Week 2021. Photo © DSL Studio

Polish-born designer Marcin Rusak makes his Milan debut with Unnatural Practice, an exhibition curated by Federica Sala that features a range of recent, archival, and “in-progress” pieces. Known for crafting poetic materials and objects from organic elements such as flowers, leaves, and plants, Rusak’s research driven practice reconstructs and transforms these materials into unexpected, collectable objects and furniture that demand a closer look.

Whether he’s preserving leaves in metallic or resin cocoons (Protoplasting Nature) or creating a perishable carpet from discarded flowers, mushrooms, and other organic materials (Nature of Things), Rusak’s innovative approach offers truly unexpected reflections on both the natural world around us and the passage of time. Each of the exhibition’s different spaces are scented with a specially commissioned aroma to enhance the experience—composed in collaboration with French perfume designer Barnabé Fillion.


Looks Like Magic! by Jorge Penadés

Looks Like Magic! by Jorge Penadés, curated by Maria Cristina Didero and presented by 5Vie. Photos © Amir Farzad

For his latest Milan offering, Spanish designer Jorge Penadés has created a working laboratory for on-site material experimentation. In a series of live performances throughout the week,  Penadés and his team transform textile waste collected from industrial laundries into a clay-like material that is then worked by hand like dough to form one-of-a-kind objects—ranging from small accessories to furniture—all on site.

Describing the inspiration behind the project, Penadés says, “It’s like creating an updated version of traditional materials, but from resources that are already available, instead of extracting them from nature.” The results offer an exciting window into the world of possibilities for the future of craft. Looks Like Magic! is curated by Maria Cristina Didero and produced by 5 Vie.


Missed Your Call by Design Academy Eindhoven

Works from the graduation show Missed Your Call, including Imaginary Flower Therapy (right) and Beachcombers (left). Photos © DSL Studio

Set in a former bakery factory built in 1898, Design Academy Eindhoven presents a selection of works by over 50 young talents who graduated from the renowned school’s Bachelor’s program during the pandemic. An inspiring mix of materials and messages, the works were conceived and produced during this strange, extraordinary moment in time.

The installation, curated by ​​Martina Muzi, offers a diversity of perspectives and concepts—such as Imaginary Flower Therapy by Angéline Behr, which considers the therapeutic qualities of flowers for our emotional well being; and Gundega Strauberga’s “Beachcombers,” which transforms washed-up waste material from industrial fishing gear to propose a new handicraft.


Nilufar Gallery & Depot

JUNGLE, a solo exhibition by Khaled El Mays, set within a site specific installation by Federica Perazzoli. Photos © Mattia Iotti | Some Vibrant Things by Audrey Large. Photo © PimTop | SUN-RA, the final collection by celebrated artist-designer Nanda Vigo for JCP Universe. Photo © Mattia Iotti

As always, legendary gallerist Nina Yashar offers up a multi-course design feast for this year’s Salone. At Nilufar Gallery on Via della Spiga, Yashar presents Ornate, a solo show celebrating 10 years of collaboration with British designer Bethan Laura Wood. But that’s not all, also at the gallery is  Some Vibrant Things, a presentation of 3D printed sculpture-objects by Audrey Large curated by Studio Vedét; Analogia Project’s new marble light and furniture collection Arcoiris (Spanish for “rainbow”); and new works by Filippo Carandini.

Over at Nilufar Depot, meanwhile, highlights include Jungle, a solo exhibition by Khaled El Mays featuring a site specific intervention by Federica Perazzoli; Matacubi, a contemporary art exhibition by Pietro Consagra; Odyssey, Andrés Reisinger’s first solo show in Italy; as well as pieces by legends such as Lina Bo Bardi and Nanda Vigo.

And last but not least, over at Alcova, Brassless—a presentation originally presented at Nilufar Depot in 2020 and curated by Studio Vedèt—is an exhibition of works by the likes of Objects of Common Interest, Simone Ballen, Carlo Lorenzetti, and more.