By Cecilia Chard
The Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano, also known as Milan Design Week or Milan Furniture Fair, is an annual event held in Milan which showcases top design studios and artists around the world. New furniture, lighting, and exhibitions draw approximately 270,000 attendees to the 230,000 square meters of fair space in the city. Though architects, designers, and tourists flock to the Lombardy region of Italy to see these incredible interiors, many overlook the fantastic Milanese design studios whose doors are open all year round.
Founded in 2003 by Britt Moran and Emiliano Salci, DIMORESTUDIO “interprets memories and creates dreams. DIMORESTUDIO crosses the boundaries between art and design, fashion and architecture.” Their work began with private residences, slowly growing to recognizable commercial projects and creating a name synonymous with evocative, colorful, lush spaces rooted in Italian tradition, while ensuring atmospheric and unique results. Forbes Magazine called DIMORESTUDIOS the “Prada of the design world.”
As the studio has grown, they have developed their own line of furniture and opened a gallery space in Milan. French hotelier, Thierry Costes says, “It’s not just decoration – they’re creating a story.” The duo has instilled their nostalgic style in many coveted spaces such as Grand Hotel et de Milan, Hotel Saint Marc Paris, Pump Room Chicago, and Ceresio7 Milan. Their line of original pieces includes tables, lighting, shelving, and more that combine geometric lines with deep colors, often made of unexpected materials.
Fanny Bauer Grung and David Lopez Quincoces, the duo behind Quincoces-Dragò, have opened a new gallery in Milan called Six Gallery. Having established their architecture firm Quincoces-Dragò in 2009, this husband and wife team have long been a part of the design scene of Milan. By turning an abandoned Milanese monastery into a design space, Six Gallery has become a wonderful hub of furniture design, featuring both contemporary and vintage furnishings. Opening officially in September, the space will have pieces ranging in price so all visitors can feel welcome. The architecture of the space itself has been left raw with updated modern accents such as a steel framed door and a bright skylight.
Quincoces-Dragò, as a design studio, has a reputation for perfect minimalism. Architectural Digest listed the studio in the top 100 best interior designers worldwide, and said they “have a knack for selecting just the right pieces – and no more, adorning the space with a strict minimum of means.” Though their gallery space is a new addition to the Milan design scene, their stunning work can be seen all over Milan, as well as in other influential spaces in Madrid, Amsterdam, Miami, Rome, and beyond.
Renowned Milanese designers from the 1950’s to the 1980’s, the studios of these three furniture magnates have continued to welcome visitors who wish to experience the roots of Italian design. Contemporary designers continue to visit these spaces as inspiration and a link to the history of the art. All three designers were among a small group of young Milanese architects who helped rebuild Italy after the second world war. They were hard workers, but they were also cultural revolutionaries.
The Achille Castiglioni studio, run by his children, asks visitors to touch everything and interact with a part of their father’s legacy. Achille Castiglioni won the Compasso d’Oro, Italy’s highest industrial design award, nine times. His studio continues to show the overflowing bookcases and incredible light installations that were present while he worked until his death in 2002.
Within walking distance, the Franco Albini studio continues to operate as a working architectural studio by his family. The foundation offers workshops for young designers, and lectures by his granddaughter. His original sketches, chairs, and bookcases show visitors his life through his works.
The Vico Magistretti studio offers visitors the experience of sitting at his desk in the small space and viewing the rotating exhibitions of his extensive archive of sketches and drawings. His voice describing his work is played in the room.
Known for its beauty and cultural influence, Milan stands as a city of design. These studio spaces and galleries provide the building blocks of this reputation, creating areas of influence that can be felt by designers around the world. Though there are many other studios in Milan, these are just a few important galleries to visit when taking in this stunning city!