From Palazzos to Pop-Ups, Top Picks from Milan’s 53rd Salone del Mobile

Tiffany Lambert
Apr 15, 2014 2:49PM

The yearly Salone Internazionale del Mobile is de rigueur for anyone with an insatiable appetite for design. For its 53rd run from April 8th-13th, the massive trade show of more than 2,350 exhibitors, presented some stunning new products at the sprawling fairgrounds. But what takes place inside the fair is surely energized by the profusion of offsite happenings scattered throughout Milan’s palazzos, gardens, showrooms, galleries, pop-ups, and alternative spaces, orchestrating the entire city into a design sanctuary. Simply put, it’s more than you can see. From terrazzo to textiles, mainstays to fresh approaches, here’s a glimpse at ten noteworthy events that went down.

Hay and Wrong For Hay

Danish brand Hay and their offshoot Wrong For Hay (launched at last year’s London Design Festival) opened a temporary mini-market in the heart of Milan’s Brera design district. The nearly 10,000-square-foot installation, accented with bold graphics by artist and original Memphis member Nathalie du Pasquier, presented an eclectic range of affordable everyday objects.

Martino Gamper’s repair and restoration project at la Rinascente

Eight storefront windows at the department store la Rinascente marked the spot for a spontaneous live intervention dreamed up by Italian designer Martino Gamper. “In a State of Repair” invited the public to bring their broken chairs, bikes, shoes, books, toys, electronics, and accessories to be fixed and displayed on shelves in the shop’s windows. The exhibit coincided with “design is a state of mind,” now on view at London’s Serpentine Gallery.


PIN–UP, the magazine “for architectural entertainment,” celebrated its latest Spring/Summer issue with the opening of SEMINATO, an exhibition at POMO Galerie. Milanese terrazzo floors photographed by Delfino Sisto Legnani were printed on curtains hung in the gallery and found throughout the pages of PIN–UP’s Milano Speciale. Another PIN–UP installation, DESIGN DIVAS, placed portraits of seven respected Milanese gallerists in a nearby restaurant’s window vitrine.

Source Material

The objects that inspire creative minds became the focus of “Source Material,” an exhibition and publication by Jasper Morrison, Jonathan Olivares, and Marco Velardi at Kaleidoscope Project Space. The trio invited 54 architects, artists, chefs, designers, filmmakers, and musicians to share an artifact that spoke to their working process.

Triennale exhibition

An exhibition (open through February 22, 2015) at Milan’s design museum explores the ingenuity encouraged in times of crisis. This seventh edition includes an astonishing 600 works from the likes of Enzo Mari, Gaetano Pesce, Formafantasma, Gio Ponti, Bruno Munari, and Ettore Sottsass during three main time periods: the 1930s, 1970s, and 2000s.

Max Lamb/Faye Toogood

British designers Max Lamb and Faye Toogood showed off their new wares at ProjectB gallery, courtesy of Gallery Libby Sellers. Lamb used four marbles to create an entire terrazzo-tiled room and furniture called “Marmoreal” for the company Dzek, while Toogood displayed a voluminous felt clothing line, ceramics for 1882 Ltd., and a curvaceous set of fiberglass furniture.


Students at ECAL University of Art and Design in Lausanne playfully reinterpreted objects for the home. One standout project featured a family of gyroscopic vessels by Iris Andreadis, Nicolas Nahornyj, and Jérôme Rütsche, which uses centrifugal force to create a mesmerizing free-floating effect.


A new collaborative brand, TOG, launched with 21 customizable pieces of furniture from designers like Sam Hecht and Kim Colin of Industrial Facility, and multiple works by Philippe Starck, including a children’s rocking chair that doubles as a storage container.

Paul Smith + Maharam

To honor the mid-century icon Hans J. Wegner’s 100th anniversary, Carl Hansen & Son and the textile company Maharam collaborated with fashion mind Paul Smith. Introduced at his boutique in Milan, Smith colorfully reinterpreted the upholstery of such classics as the Shell Chair.           

Dimore Gallery

This year Dimore Studio showed elegant sofas, chairs, and lights from designers Emiliano Salci and Britt Moran in their beautiful gallery, Dimore Studio, located on the second floor in a gorgeous 18th-century Milanese apartment. The intimate setting complemented the designers’ material palette of rich fabrics and brass.

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Tiffany Lambert
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019