This year, Ventura Centrale returns to invigorate the underground-vaults-slash-industrial-warehouses beneath Milan Central Station with nine spectacular design experiences including giants made of furniture, an incongruously American diner and a high-tech glass auditory installation. The organizer behind the exhibition, Ventura Projects, is also behind Ventura Lambrate, now closed and replaced by Ventura Future.

Following eight years of Ventura Lambrate celebrating the most exciting designs by undiscovered, underrated studios from around the world, Ventura Projects has relocated and rebranded the exhibition. Housed in the museum FuturDome, Ventura Future maintains the format and vision of Ventura Lambrate within the new location.

One of the designs on display at Ventura Lambrate last year, Tijn Van Orsouw’s Light Composer is a unique adjustable window shade. Photo Lonneke van der Palen

Light Composer rethinks bland, one-dimensional window shades with its interesting concertina folds, which create a new play of light in interiors. Photo Lonneke van der Palen

Ventura Centrale, on the other hand, presents work by internationally renowned brands and studios that make it an obligatory destination in any Salone del Mobile itinerary. Upon entering the vaults, visitors will be greeted by seven three-metre-tall creatures by Stephan Hürlemann, made using 100-year-old chair and table parts from the archive of manufacturer Horgenglarus.

Stephan Hürlemann’s Giants with Dwarf are assembled, Frankenstein-like, from Horgenglarus table and chair parts. Photo by Roth & Schmid

Baars & Bloemhoff is also back for Transitions III: Experimental Inventiveness, a collaboration between six Dutch design studios Bart Joachim van Uden, Christian Heikoop, Floris Wubben, Job van der Berg, Mae Engelgeer and Studio Truly Truly. The exhibition, previously shown at Dutch Design Week last year, is curated by Harm Rensink – recognized for his broad expertise in spatial design, most notably for weird and wonderful exhibitions that make an emotional impact. Architect Motosuke Mandai also partners with leading Japanese glass, chemical and high-tech material manufacturer AGC Asahi Glass to create an installation for visitors to experience the song of glass. In Soundscape, sound-generating glass immerses visitors in a new auditory experience that represents a musical blend of design, technology and aesthetics.

Refreshments will also be available in a classic American diner, designed by David Rockwell (of the Frame Award-winning Rockwell Group). The rather incongruent retro Americana atmosphere is a nod to the 25th anniversary of the NYC-based Surface Magazine.

The Ventura Centrale exhibitions are open to the public from 17 to 21 April at 10:00 - 20:00 and on 22 April at 10:00 - 18:00.

Location Ventura Centrale, Via Ferrante Aporti 13, 20125 Milan