You don’t go to Milan during Design Week to relax. And given the stratospheric hotel prices and Airbnb surge during those seven days, you are not alone. Design is now a cultural activity, one that has economic impact (measured in countless Aperol spritzes) with very stylish outcomes. The furniture and accessories trade is actually a very big business, and if Salone del Mobile (April 17 to 22) or any of the satellite shows energizing the city didn’t command such attention, we would all be sitting on carbon copies of the same chair. Thankfully, there are too many talented people to let that happen.
This edition of the show answered a few lingering—if not terribly overplayed—questions, namely, “Where is design headed?” The answer: anywhere it wants. While there were re-editions and riffs on a few classics, the prevailing feeling was that the creative class is finally calling the shots. Whether colorful and loopy, heavy on sustainability, or light on embellishment, design wasn’t going to let anyone tell it where to go (or give it a curfew). A roundup of the best from this aesthetic bonanza is a nearly impossible task. So here are a few highlights, courtesy of no downtime and the risk of dehydration—but with a gorgeous Italian city as the backdrop, there are no complaints here.