In 2022, we celebrated Salone Del Mobile as it marked its 60th birthday and celebrated the inaugural appointment of Ms Maria Porro, as the first ever female president. I had the honour of interviewing this unassuming but dynamic lady and loved hearing her say “…I’m just a ‘nani sulle spalle dei giganti’, a little girl on the shoulders of giants,” she said. “That’s how I feel. “It’s a moment of transition for sure…” Porro added. “A moment where we have a lot of question marks on our road, but I feel the passion and the strength of Salone del Mobile.”

The passion was definitely felt, as Milano opened its doors once again to Milano Design Week, themed this year as ‘Between Space and Time’. What defines this spectacular week, is that Salone Del Mobile in conjunction with Fuorisalone which is a melting pot of a number of installations held mainly in Brera district. This industrial fringe hosts big and small furniture brands and their profile is boosted, as their presence extends beyond the main exhibition space.

Milan Design Week guide over an Aperol. Photo: Anna Giannis

As I moved around the city, it was very apparent that you could not escape the deep and important connection this city forges between lifestyle and design. Unequivocally there were exciting installations inside historic buildings often closed to the public, with villas, palazzos, old theatres, former military bases and a railway workers club, revealing the city’s design, architecture and social history via quintessentially Milanese moments.

The established global brands like Hermès, Prada, Dior, Roberto Cavalli and Aston Martin were all involved with activations either at the Fiera and or at Fuorisalone. I candidly spoke with Roberto Cavalli Creative Director Mr Livio Ballabio as well as Mr Gianni Overi CEO FormiItalia, who license the Aston Martin Home collection. In similar sentiments both expressed of the challenges the last two years raised as well as their pursuit of excellence and their exciting plans for the future. Watch this space for their new collections!

Daniel Arsham’s Divided Layers at the Palazzo del Senato. Photo: @KOHLER/Instagram

The artisan purveyors of rugs at Tapis Rouge, definitely caught my attention as I stopped and chatted with Ms Maria Klimova, the Managing Director of Tapis Rouge. “This is our first time exhibiting at Salone Del Mobile and the response so far has been very pleasing.” Their scientific creations and the unique technology of production allows these futuristic designs to be sustainable. These rugs are actually transformed into an art object as they are certainly very unique.

Back at the hotel there was an Australian contingency who have been attending the exhibition for more twenty years now. I spoke at length with Jeanne and Paul Thomson from Voyager Interiors in Richmond Victoria and with Ross Merlino based in Perth Western Australia who all expressed similar sentiments…” that it was good to be back after a hiatus and Milan is definitely open for business”. They had a very successful trip sourcing and buying furniture and accessories for their retail stores.

Anna Giannus with Maria Porro, President of Salone del Mobile 2022. Photo: Supplied

Preparing to leave the bright lights of Milano and reflecting on the trip, I realised how much everyone missed the infectious vibe, the excitement of collaborations and the need for the design world to have a universal collective hub in Milano.

Personally, this trip was also memorable as it marked my first experience as a member of the international press covering a major world event. A big thank you also to Melinda Sullivan from Melbourne My Style for bestowing me this privilege.

Next year, Milano Design Week is back to its traditional time slot in April 17-23, so we don’t have that long to wait… Til we meet again.

Grazie e Arriverderci Milano!

LEXUS at the Milan Design Week 2022 with Sparks of Tomorrow. Photo: Lexus/Supplied