Milan Furniture Fair 2016

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I'm writing this post with weary limbs and blistered toes after a manic weekend in Milan! It was my first time in Milan and my first experience of the Salone del Mobile and what an experience it was.  Due to real life work commitments I could only go for the weekend so jetted in on Friday night, ran around the city trying to see as much as possible and left on Sunday afternoon.  My first piece of advice to anyone thinking of visiting in the future - go for a week! The actual furniture fair is situated  in the north east of Milan, easily reached on the metro, and it is vast!  There are about 20 exhibition halls each showcasing hundreds of companies covering all aspects of design - bathrooms, kitchens, classic and contemporary furniture and there is also the Satellite Salone showcasing student work too.

To be completely honest I found it really difficult to know where to go and what to do first! Shunning the €20 exhibitors catalogue and map I favoured the winging it method which I probably wouldn't recommend!  I think there is room for improvement to design a more user friendly navigation system/signposting/interactive map as I knew some of the designers I definitely wanted to see but never managed to find them!

Instead I tried to use logic and started at the higher numbered halls working my way back to 1 and the metro station.  Some I completely skipped and some I got lost in and spent far more time in than I wanted to.  In actual fact,  after walking around for the first hour or so everything kind of blurred into the same thing!  Although this sounds like a negative it actually highlighted designers/products/styles that were different and caught my eye introducing me to brands I wasn't aware of before like Baxter for example-more about them later!

The true highlight of the Milan Design Week, however, is the Fuorisalone which basically means events held outside of the actual exhibition hall of which there were hundreds if not thousands!  The whole of Milan becomes part of Design Week and hosts design exhibitions and installations in shops, restaurants, palaces, cloisters - you name it!  And, for me, it was these events that were by far the most interesting/inspiring/beautiful/creative.  I intend to highlight my faves in the blog so that I can share the million photos I took over the weekend!

Enough can't be said about Milan itself and is worth a visit whether it's design week or not.  The food, culture and architecture only enhanced my relatively short stay in this beautiful city.  From turning a corner and coming face to face with the enormity of the Duormo lit up at night, to my 'on the go' pizza slice with real bufala mozzarella or peeking through railings to secret gardens. Milan exceeded my expectations. It wasn't the ugly, industrial landscape I had been led to believe it was, instead, it is a vibrant cool and very creative city steeped in centuries of fascinating history and it's wonderfully Italian.  It's got me hooked and I'll be back there next year-if not before!