I have often travelled to Milan but I’ve never really gotten to know the city intimately. Instead, I’ve always chosen the opposite exit on arrival, headed north, bounding towards Como — the lake and textile heartland. Coming out of the pandemic, my first visit to design week was last year and, for the first time, I fell in love with Milan.
The city provides the perfect frame for curated contamination of creative experiences. Milan comes alive, an expression of design, where ideas come together and put on a show. This year, as both spectator and participator, the excitement of the spectacle awaits.
Great design deserves a stage fitting of the performer. Operating within a city that has written and continues to re-write our interactions with design, Milan Design Week sets a scene like no other. More and more it is the surprise of simplicity that delights the most. Design communication continues to be rewarded when it breaks its own rules or takes a risk when it takes the customer into the materiality of its message.
Shifting the context, the perspective allows for an element of escapism, an important element of good design — I want my eyes to feel refreshed from the experience of design. Discovery can lead the consumer through an emotional response stimulating a reaction. Does it connect me to the past? Is it sincere and welcoming? Or dynamic, energetic and stimulating? It is the challenge of design today to disrupt and create this emotional response in the human experience.
As we respond to the reality that many of us don’t inhabit anymore, design must have a reason to be, a purpose and a sense of responsibility. As every category experiences more fluid boundaries, this encourages design to have the grace to exist. Design must balance the cost of its creation with the ambition of making life a better place to live in. The hospitality of our environment needs to be rewarded by design that is joyful and meaningful.
As a designer I feel enormous importance that anything I create should be something that will last, it will be kept, treasured, and used for many generations. It needs to work hard for its place in today’s world.