RIT Industrial design chair Josh Owen, graduate student Guillermo Fok, and Undergraduate student Veronica Lin take part in Milano Design Week.
During this event, they will share their observations and experiences with RIT’s Industrial design blog.
Day 1
After visiting one of Milan’s most historical landmarks, Castello Sforzesco, we were received by Achille Castiglione’s daughter for an inspiring private tour through the Castiglione studio. A place with lots of history, original sketches, technical drawings an endless prototypes that we got to play with and hear insightful stories about. Giovanna Castiglione gracefully walked us through the professional and private life of one of the most iconic industrial designers in the world, using original artifacts from the foundation’s collection.
The triennale design museum was a great follow up with a big portion of its space dedicated to the history of food and design. Products and graphics were displayed in original ways, ranging from early 20th century artifacts to interesting futuristic installations. In one of the exhibits, there was a feature on stacking goods where we saw some of Massimo Vignelli’s Heller projects on display.
The streets of Milan were full of design, with exhibitions scattered throughout the city. United Nude offered an original take on 3D printed shoes, with some of the most renowned designers making one of a kind examples. in the midst of our visit, Ross Lovegrove walked in to see his work displayed, and candidly spoke with Josh Owen about the future of design and education.
Designer Marcel Wander’s brand, Mooi had a unique space, blending great carpets, furniture and lighting with provocative photography.
As we write this post, we are having aperitivo and later we plan to go to Josh’s preview for his summer workshop in France with Corning GlassLab at Boisbuchet.
Day 2
Our day began with a crowded metro ride to Rho Fiera, where the Salone del Mobile is being held. We started the tour with a visit to Salone Satellite, where up and coming designers and educational institutions from around the world get to showcase their new designs. Boisbuchet booth was dedicated to promote their summer workshops, including one to be led by Josh Owen in collaboration with Corning Museum of Glass next September.
This year the European lighting fair Euroluce was also being held at the fairgrounds, so we got a chance to see work from iconic companies and designers including Ingo Maurer, Artemide, Foscarini and Vibia. One of Josh Owen’s former interns, now a designer at Swarovski, shared her experience and work for the famous brand including one of a kind lighting installations. Our next stop was the furniture fair, were we visited companies like Knoll, Vitra, Arper, Zanotta, Normann Copenhagen, Magis, Mattiazzi, Emeco and Casamania, where a new wood version of Josh Owen’s XX coatrack was being showcased.
We then met one of Michele De Lucchi’s model makers for a rare private tour through his studio in the center of Milan, where we got to see his personal office, the shop, the architect team and many of the process models for the four commissioned architectural projects that will be part of the upcoming Expo in Milan.
To conclude our day, we visited Knoll’s showroom for a special exhibition celebrating Harry Bertoia’s side chair, which is being manufactured by the brand in a polyurethane finish as a special edition.
Day 3
Our first stop was Ventura Lambrate, Milan’s go to area for young and emerging designers. The area was full of interesting exhibits, where we got a chance to see experimental work from designers coming from Thailand, China, Poland and the Netherlands, to name a few. We got a feel for some new and interesting trends in furniture, lighting and houseware products.
We then moved to the much anticipated Nendo exhibit, where a big section was focused on displaying their unique and minimal work in collaboration with Glas Italia. Shelving systems, tables and chairs were some of the products being displayed and showcasing Glas Italia’s cutting edge technology to achieve precise cuts and glass finishes. A second level was dedicated to their work between 2014 and 2015, an interesting combination of experimental projects and products for companies like Chocolatexture, Tod’s and Haagen Dazs. Nendo’s minimal and strategically curated exhibit made it one of the highlights of our visit.
Kartell’s showroom was an homage to the Memphis movement, with unique patterns being used to showcase their iconic products. A short walk took us to one of the preview sites for Expo 2015, where unique interactive installations and a scaled model of Michele De Lucchi’s Padiglione Zero served as a preview for the upcoming international event.
We concluded our visit with a walk through Milan’s famous shopping district, where high end brands teamed up with designers like Nendo, Droog and Casamania to promote products and create very unique window displays.


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