Salone del Mobile returns between 5-10 September 2021. The Milan furniture fair is back after an 18 month hiatus with a special edition curated by Milanese architect Stefano Boeri.

Here, we guide you through all there is to know about Salone del Mobile and Fuorisalone. 

Salone del Mobile 2021: Supersalone curated by Stefano Boeri

A render showing Supersalone, the Salone del Mobile 2021 concept led by Stefano Boeri
An example of the modular and flexible exhibition design led by Andrea Caputo

Salone del Mobile 2021 is dubbed ‘Supersalone’: an event ‘led by innovation and uniqueness’, curated by Boeri in collaboration with a team of internationally-acclaimed architects and design professionals. Boeri worked closely with designers Andrea Caputo, Lukas Wegwerth and Giorgio Donà, curators Maria Cistina Didero and Anniina Koivu and graphic designer duo Marco Ferrari and Elisa Pasqual of Studio Folder.

‘A visit to the annual Salone is an exhilarating dose of energy and new ideas: we are all longing to accelerate, produce, review, enjoy’ – Anniina Koivu 

Supersalone will be presented as a thematical and scenographic display where companies will be able to present their best work from the past 18 months: a unique and special moment to discover today’s design panorama. Designed by Caputo and engineered by Wegwert with a special attention to sustainability and recycling of the structure, the exhibition will be staged as a ‘library of design’ featuring a specially-designed flexible and modular wall system to offer different display opportunities to brands. 

A render showing Supersalone, the Salone del Mobile 2021 concept led by Stefano Boeri
The common areas of Supersalone, designer by Giorgio Donà

A lounge area, designed by Donà, will allow visitors to interact with design icons past and present, and access a series of food offerings specially curated for the fair. Within the fair, curator and Wallpaper* Milan Editor Maria Cristina Didero will organize a series of live events including talks, conversations and lectures led by design’s great masters, architects, entrepreneurs and creatives.

‘The visit to the annual Salone is an exhilarating dose of energy and new ideas,’ says Koivu. ‘Now, after the interruption of the last 18 months, we are all longing to accelerate, produce, review, enjoy. The Supersalone will pull us out of the stand-by mode in which we have all been languishing.’

An important new development for the fair is the newly-introduced possibility for the public to purchase some of the brands’ creations. ‘High quality design products will be displayed and available at one-off prices, responding to the desire currently being expressed by thousands of families and companies to rethink our domestic and work spaces,’ said Boeri. 

The Lost Graduation Show: a new opportunity for emerging designers

An important new initiative for Supersalone is the ‘Lost Graduation Show‘: led by Koivu, it will offer students from design schools worldwide an opportunity to show their graduation projects to the public. 

An open call was sent out to over 300 design schools across all continents, and the resulting display, Koivu says, ‘will provide a unique occasion to [...] reassess just what the most pressing design topics are, and rethink where design should be heading. What better way to start than by listening to the questions being asked by the new generation of designers, as well as the answers they are proposing?’

Navigating Salone del Mobile: practical info

Since 2005, Salone del Mobile takes place in the Fuksas-designed Rho fairground, about 15 kilometers from Milan. Its 753.000 square meters make it the largest fairground n Europe, and its design is defined by the airy structure connecting the pavilions. 

How to get to Salone del Mobile

We recommend reaching Salone del Mobile by public transport to avoid the traffic on arrival and departure. M1 (the red metro line) connects the Rho-Fieramilano station with several locations across the city (including Porta Venezia and Duomo). The journey takes about 25 minutes and you’re bound to meet other design enthusiasts on board for dynamic conversation. 

Salone del Mobile 2021 tickets and access

The fair is open to architects, press design buyers and other professionals. Visitors can register in advance through the Salone del Mobile for an e-ticket. On Friday 10 September, the fair will also be accessible by the general public, with tickets on sale through the Salone del Mobile website.  

Fuorisalone 2021 news: key locations to know for Milan Design Week

Aerial view of Milan
Photography: Claudio Sabatino

Once you’ve had your full immersion into the furniture world of the fairgrounds, you’ll want to take a stroll through the city. Like in previous editions, Fuorisalone 2021 will showcase the latest contemporary design throughout the city’s central neighbourhoods. This is the most exciting time to be in Milan: historical palazzos open their eclectic interiors to the work of emerging design talent, showrooms showcase the latest launches and everywhere you turn, there is a promise of discovery (and exciting encounters).

Stay tuned for more details on Fuorisalone 2021 events.

Brera

cobbled street of Brera, Milan
Photography: Enrico Bruscia

Possibly the most picturesque neighbourhood of Milan, its cobbled streets include small galleries and some of the best showrooms in the city. Start on Via Solferino for furniture showrooms by the likes of Boffi and Salvatori, and the design gallery of Dimorestudio. Popular venues in the area include La Pelota on Via Palermo (formerly the backdrop to immersive displays by Vitra, Hermès and Hay) and Mediateca Santa Teresa on Moscova (which was the home of Wallpaper* Handmade between 2017-18). 

Interiors showroom hopping: Via Durini, Corso Monforte and Corso Venezia

The interiors of Cassina’s Milan showroom with furniture by Tobia Scarpa
Cassina showroom in Milan, featuring Soriana by Afra & Tobia Scarpa. Photography: Valentina Sommariva

Fuorisalone is a great opportunity for a full immersion into the best Italian furniture showrooms (many of which are practically located in a small area within the city centre). Head to via Durini to discover Cassina, B&B Italia, Porro, Technogym, Giorgetti, Gallotti & Radice and Natuzzi, then hop onto nearby Corso Monforte to discover Flos, Artemide, Danese, Nemo, De Padova and Living Divani.

Don’t miss Visionnaire (Piazza Cavour, 3), and Baxter (Largo Augusto, 1), the latter presenting its refined collections through the immersive ‘Baxter Cinema’.

Once you’ve had your fix of Italian furniture, head to nearby Villa Necchi for a taste of old Milan, or venture into Triangolo della Moda (the city’s fashion district), where you’ll also find Molteni & C (Corso Europa) as well as Poltrona Frau’s showroom in a frescoed building (Via Manzoni). Don’t miss design destination Nilufar, Nina Yashar’s gallery presenting the most exciting names in collectible design (from the classics, like Gio Ponti and BBPR to Martino Gamper and India Mahdavi). 

Zona Tortona

Once the epicentre of Fuorisalone, Zona Tortona fell out of favour for a while, only to be resurrected in recent years by a few exciting exhibitions by the likes of Nendo, Sony and Moooi. The main avenues here are the intersecting Via Tortona and Via Stendhal, whose large, warehouse-like spaces are particularly suited for the large-scale installations typical of Fuorisalone. Key locations in the area include Superstudio Più, the original Tortona venue regularly hosting an array of multidisciplinary displays (most recently transformed by Giulio Cappellini through immersive site-specific installations during Fuorisalone), and design studios including Stefano Giovannoni, who often lends his space to design exhibitions.

5 Vie

A square with a contemporary white building next to a medieval tower in Milan
Photography: Filippo Romano

One of the most recent additions to the Fuorisalone design map, 5Vie is a historical district west of Duomo. While spaces to discover in the area include BDDW (Via Santa Marta 19/A), Palazzo Gorani (Via Gorani 4, pictured above) and Apparatus (Via Santa Marta 14), the charming nature of the district can be explored through temporary events and installations held within small apartments and behind imposing gates. Grab a guide, or let your intuition lead you. 

Milan Design Galleries to know

Nilufar Depot, a Milan design gallery hosting exhibitions curated by Nina Yashar
Nilufar Depot. Photography: Amendolagine Barracchia

Milanese design galleries have helped establish the city’s design and cultural panorama, with a successful mix of old and new designs often placed in conversation within their spaces. The design galleries in Milan come alive during Fuorisalone with specially-commissioned projects, objects and installations not to be missed. 

Start with design destination Nilufar (Via della Spiga, 32), Nina Yashar’s gallery presenting the most exciting names in collectible design (from the classics, like Gio Ponti and BBPR to Martino Gamper and India Mahdavi). The gallery’s second outpost, Nilufar Depot, opened in 2015 in an industrial space just outside of the city’s centre (Via Lancetti 34) that used to hold Yashar’s archives and has now been transformed into an exciting exhibition space. 

Rossana Orlandi’s gallery (Via Matteo Bandello, 14) is a life-sized cabinet of curiosities that will offer a sense of discovery to any design journey, with a mix of emerging talent and independent brands showcased across its spaces. Galleria Luisa Delle Piane (Via Giuseppe Giusti, 24) presents imaginative furniture and objects by the likes of Andrea Branzi, Maddalena Casadei and Franco Albini e Franca Helg. 

Other spaces to look out for include the official outpost of Memphis Milano, Post Design Gallery (Largo Treves, 5) offers historical designs as well as future explorations, and Brera gallery Dilmos, whose space is located inside a Vico Magistretti-designed building (Via San Marco, 1).

Alcova

Curators Joseph Grima and Valentina Ciuffi launched group show Alcova in 2019. Every year, since the project has taken over a dilapidated building somewhere in Milan, and with very little intervention the pair staged an exhibition that takes people out of their comfort zone and into unexpected (Milanese) territories. The 2021 edition of Alcova is going to take place just west of Milan’s centre (via Simone Saint Bon), in a cluster of buildings immersed into an urban park including a nunnery (pictured above) and an industrial laundry. The raw spaces serving as backdrop to the exhibitions allow visitors to discover design with a novel approach, and the exhibitions feature an array of independent talent, not to be missed. Confirmed 2021 exhibitors of Alcova include India Mahdavi with HEAD Genève, Lindsey Adelman, Objects of Common Interest as well as Laila Gohar.

Art, architecture and design sightseeing during Milan Design Week 2021

The Triennale in Milan

The beauty of design in Milan is that it’s often combined with art, architecture and Milanese cultural institutions. Some of the most important cultural locations in the city are, more often than not, part of Fuorisalone’s programming, including the Triennale (Viale Emilio Alemagna, 6) with its recently inaugurated design museum, the newly-opened ADI Design Museum (Piazza Compasso d’Oro, 1, a new location celebrating the history of the Compasso D’Oro design prize), Bagni Misteriosi (Via Carlo Botta, 18, a rationalist swimming pool with an exhibition space and theatre nearby) and Porta Nuova (an example of urban transformation that combines contemporary architecture and green spaces).

Among the art venues (whose exhibition programme usually ties in with the design crowd descending to Milan) are Pirelli Hangar Bicocca (Via Chiese, 2), whose exhibition on Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan is scheduled to open on 15 July 2021 and Fondazione Prada (Largo Isacco 2), with its ever-growing OMA-designed complex. Assab One, an exhibition space led by Elena Quarestani (Via Privata Assab), is a former industrial space just north of Milan’s Stazione Centrale, whose exhibitions include art, design and architecture in conversation. §