The annual pilgrimage the international design community makes for Milan’s Salone del Mobile and Design Week is unlike any other. More than 370,000 visitors pour into the city each April for the Fiera alone, not to mention the increasingly important satellite events that populate the city for a week.
Each year the event seems to be even bigger and more spread-out than the last, forcing
journalists and editors like myself to literally run between events, appointments and interviews. Spending time in the back of taxis or squeezed into the metro, though, can mean missing out on one of the simple pleasures of Milan — la passeggiata. The relatively small and intimate city is truly best experienced on foot, and especially so during the pleasant spring weather we were blessed with this year.
Among the designers we interviewed, Shanghai-based Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu of neri&hu were a standout. The duo launched an impressive array of new products at this year’s event following a number of collaborations with furniture, lighting and bathware companies. Plus, in their joint role as creative directors for Stellar Works they oversaw the design of their entire exhibition space, all the while working on numerous architecture and interior design projects internationally, not to mention raising a young family. During our discussion, Lyndon Neri spoke of those he considers to be the trailblazers — a few Japanese architects and product designers who forced a change in the Western world’s assumptions about ‘Asian design’ — and the responsibility that now rests on their shoulders to continue in their path. The duo, along with Stellar Works — a design-led furniture company that proudly produces in Shanghai — are also working to change what the world associates with ‘Made in China’. Trailblazers indeed.
Our coverage of Salone del Mobile and Milan’s Design Week, including neri&hu, will be spread between our website and a new section we’re introducing to the magazine, entitled Fiera, where we’ll showcase our edit of the world’s best design fairs. We hope you’ll enjoy!
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