Whitehot Magazine

Milan Design Week 2024 and a Fantastic Little Room

The entrance to the fair in the morning of Day two


By WILLIAM STUART May 10, 2024

For those of you who have not been to Milan during design week, it is hard to convey the sheer scale of it.  The fairground itself, il Salone, is comprised of 22 pavilions, each of which is bigger than two American football fields.   

These once empty halls become host to elaborate temporary buildings complete with walls, doors, plumbing, and even their own restaurants.  The transformation extends to the city itself of course with the fuorisalone.  Some Milan-based brands will have it easy, refreshing their home (and home goods) on and around via Solferino in the trendy neighborhood of Brera into something new for the week.  But let’s be honest, Milan is not a giant city, and those companies that do not call it home have to get creative, taking over palazzos, repurposed warehouses, and even churches.  

The Sacred:  Mobilier National takes over the San Bernardino Alle Monache church


The Profane: Dolce & Gabbana homewares.  The salesperson told me when I inquired about the glass objects, “you know, for de books”.  

The result can inspire awe and fomo for even those who are there.  After all, every day and night features dozens of concurrent aperitivos, dinners, parties and previews for press, VIP’s or otherwise.  Afterwards, the design cognoscenti converge on Bar Basso, home of the Negroni Sbagliato, so even though you will never be able to see everything the week has to offer, if you were to end every night there, you would most likely see everyone.  

Bar Basso 




You’re going to need to stay well fed.  


It says a lot that the Italians have VIP bathrooms for those who build the exhibits.  


Alcova’s 7th edition at Villa Bagatti Valsecchi at an uncharacteristically quiet preview day.  


Sekyung Lee at the Korean Craft Exhibit at Rossana Orlandi 


Maximilian Marchesani at Nilufar Depot 


A detail of a chair at Dimore Studio on Solferino.  


A not so subtle soap sponsorship at their Sammartini location.  


Across the street, Future Frames by Studio Streev at Drop City 


Studio Mirei


Adeline Halot at Baranzate Ateliers 


Faye Toogood speaks with Hanna Nova Beatrice at Capsule Plaza 


Pizza Bufalina at Maruzella 


Vincenzo de Cotiis 


Jay Sae Jung Oh at the 5Vie installation in the Palazzo Litta  

Milan design week is considered a more inclusive event than its fashion or art world cousins.  The design installations can last a week or more (Vincenzo de Cotiis is open until October 27, by appointment) and this lends itself to being more accessible.  But don’t be mistaken, the velvet rope is very much in effect at the openings, and I did happen to see a very well known interiors stylist turned away at the door of the Hermès party.  

The fair invited filmmaker David Lynch to design an installation for the fairgrounds.  He used the platform to raise awareness for the work he does with his foundation to treat stress and promote the practice of Transcendental Meditation.  His description of it could very well be my pitch for why any design lover should visit Milan next April.  

"Human beings are supposed to be happy. We’re supposed to be getting along with one another. We’re supposed to be treating each other as we would like to be treated.  We’re supposed to be friendly.  We’re supposed to be helping each other.  And this can happen with more and more of this consciousness coming up. […]   Antonio, the visitors will be much improved. They’ll be lining up outside the rooms. They won’t know what they’re gonna see and they’ll go through a little corridor and they’ll enter into the thinking room. And their eyes will be open and wide and they’ll say oh my goodness what a fantastic little room.  And they’ll go around and they’ll go around and they’ll feel and they’ll think and they won’t realize it at first, but they’ll be getting happier and happier, and they’ll be getting filled with a kind of energy and when they leave this space, the ideas will be flowing. The energy will be flowing, and the happiness will be flowing and when they go out, they’ll be, you know, energized to find things to make their life better and better and better.”  

See you there next year. WM

The author in David Lynch’s A Thinking Room. 



William Stuart

William Stuart is a designer, artist and founder of Costantini, whose works have been featured in Architectural Digest, Wall Street Journal, Interior Design, Galerie, Luxe, and more.  His fine art practice spans sculpture, video, painting, and writing, among others. www.wstuart.com

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