Marking the middle of Milan design week, a second round of visitors replace the first wave. Avoiding the heady crowds, these enthusiasts are more interested in capturing new content or ‘the new old,’ as Dutch critic Max Bruinsma recently described. During some of the last cocktail receptions, people share their highlights but also try to pin-point the latest or revived trends – some say a realistic zero waste movement is on the rise while others talk about the return of limited edition design, six years after the financial crisis hit. 

Back in the centre, Made in Ratio holds a breakfast talk – exploring the role of new technology in design’s renewed craft culture. Further down Corso Garibaldi, Swedish Design Goes Milan puts the country’s creative scene on the international map. Much like Stockholm’s very own event back in February, an eclectic mix of household products maintain a modest Scandinavian aesthetic while still accounting for nuanced leaps in material innovation.  

Independent practitioners balanced out brand showcases. Ceramists Agnes Fries displayed Buoy – a series of relational vases representing her collaboration with craftsmen in Jingdezhen, the so-called world capital of porcelain. Nearby, Fiber & Friends’ Far Out Lace project brings age-old textile techniques into contemporary light – semi-transparent sheets featuring complex geometric patterns. Following in a similar shaped-driven motif, Oscar Lind Modin’s Solstice is a versatile lamp encapsulated in a sun-inspired conical shell.  

Easily one of Fuorisalone’s hidden gems this year is ECAL’s Delirious Home exhibition – a  series of user-centered objects that wittily question domesticity and our increased addiction to virtual platforms. Combining both contexts, student’s from the Lausanne-based school’s Bachelor in Industrial, Media & Interaction design programmes explored themes as wide ranging as time, conversation and reflection. Among sensor-based curtains, clocks – that responds to human movement – and mirrors – that only reveal a clear image when you get close – Iris Andreadlis, Nicolas Nahornyj and Jérôme Rütsche’s Ostinati gravity-defying vessels make a strong impression.  

Rossana Orlandi’s Museum Bagatti Valsecchi exhibition vies to be the best scenography during Milan design week. With a rich collection of work by James Plumb, Jacopo Foggini, Nacho Carbonell, Marcel Wanders and Nika Zupanc, Wonmin Park’s latest Haze series (featured on Frameweb last November) are displayed in the most dramatic of the armor-clad halls. In an equally ornate courtyard Os&Oos’ Keystone (also featured on Frameweb in January) is on view. The Eindhoven-based duo are also debuting their Mono Light series – flexible light tubes made out of coated-foam – at Dutch Invertuals' exhibition. 

Back in Ventura Lambrate, Geneva University of Art and Design presents Conversation Pieces, yet another Swiss school exploring the home through conceptual analysis. A multi-layered apartment scheme breaks down into a series of maze-like nooks and covers a wide range of design applications – furniture, embroidery, video games, interactive wallpaper but also organized dinners and debates. The convivial living-space unifies its diversity with a wooden-structure scenography.  

Photos by Adrian Madlener