Lubricated by industrial quantities of prosecco and canapés, Milan is usually an enjoyable five-finger exercise for architects with designs on furniture. Doing a chair or a bowl is a lot less hassle than a real building, and the giddy whirl of launches, parties and pressing the flesh simply adds to the festive atmosphere.
British design talent is well represented in the main fairground and, more especially, in the boutique showrooms scattered around town. Zaha Hadid leads the charge, with new pieces for Swarowski, Vitra and Sawaya & Moroni. Hot on her heels is Nigel Coates, whose offerings will include furniture for Vascherin. A sumptuous black cane sofa riffs on traditional Last Days of the Raj veranda chairs; perfect for that post prandial G & T.
The elfin Thomas Heatherwick is making his much anticipated Milan debut with a series of Piggyback tables for Magis, while Tom Dixon launches new lighting and furniture for Established & Sons tantalisingly entitled A Bit of Rough. Glitter balls are involved, apparently.
Watch out for Design+, curated by Modus, featuring an eclectic mix of classic and new British design brands, inlcuding Anglepoise and Timorous Beasties.
If all this English eccentricity gets too much, there’s always the pine-scented haven of sensible Scandinavia - last year Artek hired Shigeru Ban to design a pavilion cum showroom; this year they are setting up the Milkbar with Finnish fabric designer Marimekko. Expect cows.
And far from the madding cows (and furniture), film director Peter Greenaway re-interprets Leornado da Vinci’s fabled Last Supper as a multimedia event, with art, cinema, poetry and music. Don’t miss.