TORTONA DESIGN WEEK 2017: Design to connect

Milan is a city of ever-growing international allure, projecting itself towards the future, a city where fashion, design and culture prove themselves as symbols of excellency and are the driving forces for new opportunities, capable of attracting young people and creating room for innovation and entrepreneurship. This exciting urban context, as depicted by the research society GtK, is the designated hotbed for 2017’s Design Week. The evolution of today’s Milan also reflects the liveliness and energy of the area of Tortona, which in time has proven able to transform the innovative intuition of the Fuorisalone into a proper district, active all-year-long: a real benchmark for creative industries, and not only.

As Milan is connected, now more than ever, with the national and international context in many respects – especially when it comes to design –  similarly Tortona is constantly connected to the city. Originally a working-class neighborhood, home for production factories, this area is now a true hub for innovation and cultural production, a bridge between ideas, projects and people.

Following the success of the 2016 edition, with 150.000 visitors, more than 200 events featuring 20 different countries, the Tortona Design Week has once more affirmed its role as one of the crucial attractions in town during the design week, a classic destination for the many enthusiasts of the Fuorisalone (according to GfK, Tortona is amongst the most attractive areas for more than 76% of Design Week guests).

The 2017 edition (MILAN, APRIL 4-9) showcases many new features and key-figures: designers, projects and firms from all over the world – China, Brasil, Germany, Japan, France, Latvia, Mexico, Holland, Poland, Singapore, Turkek, Uk and USA – aiming to investigate and illustrate the new paradigms of contemporary design, which is more and more interconnected, flexible, challenged by ever-changing needs and demands. From nomadic design to color, from manufacturing 4.0 to social design, up to new trends in furnishing and interior design: the Tortona Design Week will offer a wide perspective onto future design and on the most current and interesting topics developed by firms and designers.

This edition confirms BASE Milano, opened precisely one year ago, as the Design Center and cornerstone of the area. During the Fuorisalone of 2017, the premises of the ex Ansaldo industrial complex will host exhibitions, designers, enterprises, university colleges and several projects on the theme of nomadic design. The exhibition Design Nomade (the first exhibition project to be based on an international call by BASE Milano, under the supervision of Stefano Mirti) features several different examples built around the idea of deft design, conceived for the new needs of contemporary lifestyle: from Itaca, the portable house by Elena Bompani, to WaterBed, the water-floating house by Daniel Durin, to the experimentations of HOMI Smart.

The show is broadened by an installation designed by Rome-based collective Orizzontale. BASE Milano will also host the event “Manifattura 4.0. The challenge for the future of the Italian companies”, organized by CNA (Confederazione Nazionale dell’Artigianato e della Piccola e Media Impresa), presenting two special projects: “Green Smart Living” and “rOBOTRIP | open tools for art and design”, created by WeMake and Caracol Design Studio, the installation designed by Raumlabor and Moleskine, which will unveil the creative process behind the Classic Backpack during the Tortona Design Week. Always addressing the theme of nomadic design and part of the exhibition at BASE Milano, Quiubox by Tomaso Boano and Jonas Prismontas features two “traveling” structures that will serve as InfoPoints in the area, but will also and more importantly function as incubators of knowledge and know-how. Quibox represents a contact point between the Afro-Colombian community and the making process, a temporary factory for creativity and social action.

This year, Hotel Magna Pars Suites Milano and Magna Pars Event Space will host, among others, the emblematic works of CERAMICA GATTI 1928 (the historic Atelier of the traditional majolica of Faenza), including AIDIALETTICA by Maestro Luigi Ontani, representing CERAMICA GATTI 1928’s strong connection with art and with the most famous artists, from Futurism to current times. Eclectic designer Karim Rashid will liven up the vibe with magazine F‘s exclusive party, held for the first time at Tortona Design Week, celebrating its first five years.

Milan Space Makers’ event schedule is a true “map” of contents, featuring projects that somehow embody today’s changes: collective projects, partnerships between companies and designers from different countries, and events that rely on new ways of consumption, like web sources for example. Outstanding projects include MINI LIVING – “Breathe”, an installation showing how architecture can offer creative solutions for a more conscious and eco-friendly lifestyle; “CORIAN® CABANA CLUB“, a project by Corian® Design Surface and Cabana Magazine, a multicultural, emotional journey into maximalism; and “Ròng” Contemporary Design Exhibition, a very refined Chinese group show investigating the use of traditional materials like paper, silk, bamboo, clay and copper. Stellar Works, the first global design brand that was born in Asia, will present the installation House Within a House, where the new furnishing collections signed by the brand’s creative directors Neri&Hu, together with Space Copenhagen, Yabu Pushelberg and Crème, will be presented. Vestre, historic Norwegian company, will propose an interesting exhibition dedicated to urban design, offering an innovative urban design vision of an ecological and creative resurgence of contemporary cities. Do not miss the collaboration between Citroën and Gufram, that creates an irreverent encounter from which a C4 Cactus show car is born, which is a synthesis of innovation in the use of advanced materials and of an ironic, outside-the-box design.

For this edition, the SUPERDESIGN SHOW by Superstudio has chosen the theme of color with “TIME to COLOR”, featuring magnificent installations that enhance the product: Tokujin Yoshioka for LG, artist and designer whose works are included in prestigious collections like the MoMA’s and Centre Pompidou’s; the amazing glass works by Japanese company AGC Asahi Glass in collaboration with Jin Kuramoto and award-winning London studio Raw-EdgesCarpet Sign project, carpets made-in Holland and designed by Karim Rashid; a stand with the best of up-and-coming Polish design, curated by Dorota Koziara; highly praised French artist and photographer Charles Pétillon for Sunbrella; a project by PepsiCo with Mathieu LehanneurLuca NichettoFabio Novembre, chef Davide OldaniStudio JobPatricia Urquiola and many others. The exhibition “Discovering: People & Stories” focuses on international research all over the world, showcasing new design creatives with the artistic participation of Alessandro Guerriero; Selected Objects, a group show featuring small and medium-sized enterprises; and, last but not least, Materials Village, curated by Material ConneXion, offers the best in material innovation, with a large installation by Studio Patricia Urquiola for 3M.

Tortona Locations enriches its premises with international projects and collaborations, including one with the German Design Council, which will present prototypes of the works by the winners of “ein&zwanzig” (an international contest aiming to promote new generations of designers), and one with P!NTO SEATING DESIGN, a Japanese brand that will be opening its first temporary shop at Tortona Design Week. Moreover, guests will have the chance to discover the new collection by ARREDI Siamoscarti, an all-female carpentry workshop, and also to play table-tennis at the INFINITY table by San-Ei Corp, which was chosen for the latest Olympic Games. IQOS Pathfinder Project, a global cultural platform endorsing the most original creative talents, will present an installation by Davide Quayola called Jardins d’Été: a series of digital videos inspired by French impressionism and the last works of Claude Monet. At Tortona Design Week the Swedish brand Casa Stokke® will not only present its latest collection, but will also offer a multifunctional and family-friendly space intended to let guests experience the Fuorisalone at its finest. This is more than just an exhibit – it is a real service offered to the whole Tortona district.

Domus will place its temporary headquarters in the very heart of the Tortona district: it will set up an exhibition in the new Spazio Copernico Tortona 33 focusing on the city of Milan. “Milano Next” is conceived as a conceptual extension of the special guide “Domus Urban Stories Milan”, which the magazine has created gathering fifteen extraordinary accounts, including Studio Mumbai, Jasper Morrison and Maurizio Cattelan, thus tracing fifteen original itineraries inside the city.

In the exceptional spaces of the Fondazione Gianfranco Ferrè, Guri I Zi – a social enterprise working for the empowerment of Albanian women (thanks to the support of Istituto Ganassini) and also a brand producing hand-made home textiles – will present its collaboration with designer Marta Sansoni, who has created and designed a series of footstools for Guri I Zi named FLOATING ON. Via Savona will host MOOOI again this year.

More from Teodora Zapartan
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