THOUGHTS AFTER MY FIRST EXPERIENCE OF MILAN DESIGN WEEK + BEST BITS

Recently I headed to my first Milan design week. To be honest, I should have done the good blogger thing and had this review post written up as soon as I got back but you know, life. I'm actually really pleased I left it for a week because I feel like in order to really understand the magnitude of it you have to let it marinate a little. So that's what I've done, and here's what I learnt. 

I went out to MDW with Jordan and Russell from 2LG, who have been many years beforehand.

Our cool Airbnb apartment that the three of us stayed in whilst in Milan. 

Our cool Airbnb apartment that the three of us stayed in whilst in Milan. 

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Even with their prior recommendations of 'wear very comfortable shoes' and 'get prepared to walk, a LOT', I still had no idea was I was in for. I packed my Nike Lunarepic low2 and placed all of my faith in them (because they are literally the most comfortable kicks known to man and if anything was gonna get me through it would be them) and a pack of compeed blister patches, just incase. 

Milan design week is insane. It's literally design overload. There is one main fair (Salone del Mobile) and a shit ton of independent shows from designers and artists in various districts around the city. 

There are apparently 20,000 shows during the week, so there's not a chance in hell that you're going to see everything, but we tried! I was also doing an instagram takeover for the lovely Amara, so I wanted to make sure I showcased as much cool stuff as possible for their audience.

We went for a week, and even in that time we missed a lot of fabulous stuff, but we also stumbled across amazing things that we hadn't scheduled in, because that's just how it is there. 

So what did we see? Honestly, a hell of a lot, so to give you everything in this post would probably be too much, but I'll share my highlights... 

 

Jaime Hayon for Caesarstone - a kaleidoscopic fantasy land!

See more pics from Jaime Hayon in this blog post.

Local Design - a brilliant curation of Australia's design talent in a gorgeous location

Read all about my first experience of Milan design week

GOD by Atelier Biagetti - exploring society's obsession with money in a tongue in cheek way

Read all about my first experience of Milan design week

Le Refuge by Marc Ange - Palm springs in Milan that became THE most instagrammed thing of the entire week

Read all about my first experience of Milan design week - Marc Ange, invisible collection, le refuge

Toiletpaper magazine x Seletti bar - mad shit that you'll either love or hate (guess which?!)

Read all about my first experience of Milan design week

Eley Kishimoto for Kirkby - 70s deco glam and it was all so flippin fabulous!

Read all about my first experience of Milan design week - eley kishimoto for kirkby
Read all about my first experience of Milan design week - eley kishimoto for kirkby

Sé Collections - More 70s layered vibes

Read all about my first experience of Milan design week
Read all about my first experience of Milan design week

The courtyard at Hotel Senato - a moment of serious calm amongst the chaos (and some seriously cool interiors) 

Read all about my first experience of Milan design week
SARAH akwisombe at the Senato Hotel milan

Pink joggers from Topshop, kicks from Nike, Black bomber is Nike from about ten years ago

The fair itself also turned up some new talents...

L - Student work from Tsinghau university, M - Unknown (I did photograph the name by my phone didn't sabe it, grrr!) R - Chris Basias

You can watch the first part of our vlog to see what we got up to below...

I really wasn't prepared for how busy and frantic it would be - not at the shows (weirdly a lot of them were quite calm and serene once inside) but just the rushing around trying to get to every press preview and presentation, which are spread all over the city by the way - we definitely added to Uber's profit margin as every car was on 2.4 surge... OUCH!

Running between each show was physically draining, but as soon as I got inside and saw the incredible work that was being presented it all melted away and I got reinvigorated over and over again every time.

My favourite presentations were those that combined product and interior design with a larger experience. They became really immersive moments, with aural soundscapes and music selection that really added to the atmosphere. Coming from a musical background, I loved when they did this well. Dimore studio and Lee Broom stand out in this instance, with sounds from Laurie Anderson and Max Richter. 

Dimore Studio - 70s Layering and minimalism all in one space

Read all about my first experience of Milan design week - Dimore studio

Lee Broom, Time Machine - a haunting, slowly rotating carousel of iconic pieces

The funny thing about Milan is that you're so inundated with it all while you're there that it's hard to process it. You know you've seen some truly great stuff but you don't really have time to decompress and distill the visual stimulation as you're busy getting to the next show. It's only once you get home and let it seep in that you truly realise how much of a difference it has made. It's like something has happened, but I can't quite put my finger on what. 

I definitely needed the experience. It came at the perfect time. I've been really consumed on the business side of my career that I hadn't been spending the time topping up my creative juices. I don't think I realised how much I had been missing it until I was there and hanging out with likeminded creatives again, silently thinking 'shit, this where I feel at home'. 

Sarah Akwisombe Kite glasses

'Jean' sunnies from Kite, lightening bolt dress from Cheap Monday

My eye has 100% gotten better. and again, I couldn't tell you how or why, I just know it has. Career wise, I've been questioning everything since I got back. I feel like I know what I'm about now, and I feel like I know even more so what I'm NOT about.

Milan design week is something that in my eyes, if you're serious about interiors and design you HAVE to experience. I've only ever had the same feeling when I came back from a festival at 19 and remember thinking 'no-one here gets what just happened'. 

sarah akwisombe blogger milan

MDW is, as 2LG so eloquently put it, a pilgrimage of design. It hurts, it's tiring as hell, and there were definitely moments I wanted to give up... but I didn't.

I got so much amazing inspiration and motivation from the trip and I loved doing the takeover for Amara because it was fun to showcase a different audience what I was getting up to!

I'm already looking forward to doing it all again next year.

S x