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Below, you will find the traditional photo report on Milan Design Week, created by the UFO.ADV team for their clients and friends. The Salone and Fuori Salone were walked through, discovered, observed, narrated, and photographed “on the fly” with you in mind. It’s worth reiterating (though we will anyway) that these are our personal and informal impressions and reflections; we do not claim to hold truth, accuracy, or completeness in our pockets. If anyone is displeased with something, we apologize in advance. The story and images are a polycentric cocktail: the UFO.ADV scouting team included seasoned stylists and 3D artists, true connoisseurs of the Salone, but also more generalist visitors, connoisseurs of ossobuco and Milanese cutlet.

Bugatti home


Leading Fuorisalone

The Fuorisalone is unstoppable. While Brera overflows with people and installations, the colonization of other areas that are either growing or regaining appeal (Centrale, Porta Venezia, 5 Vie, Tortona) is strengthening. Noteworthy is the Rho fair, which, for the first time, has significantly reduced its pavilions. It’s easy to see a shift of focus towards the “outside,” which is transitioning from being led to being the leader, with a substantial bonus for hoteliers, restaurateurs, and space renters (as long as it’s in Brera). For ceramic-addicted enthusiasts, this is a point to reflect on the role of the traditional fair compared to more dynamic and engaging settings. The feeling is that experience triumphs over mere commercial product exhibition, especially in the high-end market, where intangible values prevail over intrinsic value.

Elle Decor Material home

Sold out

Installations and events abound in overwhelming numbers. counted 1,125 events: calculating 20 per day, it would take 56 days to visit them all. It’s a joke, but two to three days (including lines) are the minimum requirement. As a result, everything is sold out at quadrupled prices: hotels, apartments, rooms, and even dives. In the outdoor seating areas of Brera, lunch ends when dinner begins. Foreigners drink fluorescent spritzes from dawn to late at night, assertively establishing an unstoppable trend: spritz is the new cappuccino.

Code and qr-code

Password: QR-CODE. Contacts are the new gold mine. Fake business cards no longer suffice; you must authenticate yourself to enter. Long lines for the QR code ritual: scan, fill out the form, enter your ID and blood type, submit, wait for the confirmation email, show the screen, enter. Naturally, after the Salone, your email inbox becomes Grand Central Station—that’s the price to pay, but it’s acceptable. These cumbersome procedures suggest it’s time to establish a unified pass with an individual QR code (kind of like at Cersaie 😊 this time we outdo ourselves).

Bottega Veneta

Milan is number one

The city teems with endless gardens, palaces, small venues, and hidden corners to discover, transforming the visit into a fantastic experience—a delightful treasure hunt for both foreigners and locals. In this endless wandering and rediscovering, even the smaller players get their chance. In short, “Milan, l’è on gran Milan” and the many alternative design weeks blossoming on every continent will never match the Milanese charm.

Ralph Lauren – The Bar

First Course: Materials, Shapes, and Colors

Materials and Finishes

If design does not offer particular innovations, confirming the usual lines, evolution focuses on materials and finishes, seeking natural and precious materials, with great work on tactile quality and high-level craftsmanship. Celebrating the centrality of materials is the Fuorisalone’s centerpiece, the Elle Decor exhibition at Palazzo Bovara, titled “Material Home” this year. The pulsating heart is a long table—a materials library that hosts samples of stones, wood veneers, metals, glass, and terrazzo elements selected from the Material Bank archive. Attention to detail and craftsmanship is a constant theme, exemplified by La Cividina’s “Handmade“: an installation in a beautiful palace where all products and creations are made by human hands, not by machines or nature.

Elle Decor Material home
Elle Decor Material home
Elle Decor Material home
Elle Decor Material home


This year, there’s a lot of metal, almost always burnished, dark, and textured. From master kitchen makers Boffi and Bulthaup, to Salvatori, who, together with Urquiola, presents a more “accessible” line that combines marble with metal for sink and bathtub interiors as well as walls.

Marble and Stone

Whether light or dark, with proposals for less commonly used variants and colors, marble reigns supreme in imposing and sculpted kitchens, as well as in small and large tables with soft, rounded shapes. Surfaces are always matte and silky, never shiny. Alongside marble and stone, there are various terrazzo pieces (with large or small fragments), a material that seems to have been rediscovered by design.


Wood is the quintessential “furniture material,” making it a key player in solid, shaped, and turned forms for chairs, armchairs, and tables. The color is almost always medium, resembling walnut, with rare honey or dark variations. Many grooved surfaces are used for kitchens and furniture (carved from solid wood for prestigious brands, pressed laminate for commercial kitchens), as well as other treatments, including patchwork inlays.


The bouclé trend continues, even gaining momentum by becoming even curlier and thicker, often paired with more minimal weaves. Natural, high-quality, and textured fabrics, each with its own story to tell. Mats, tatami, and natural fiber weaves for floors and walls.


Luxury and high-end design always include leather—colored, embossed, and woven, yet always soft and matte. It covers upholstered pieces and extends to wrap around the legs of tables and the frames of chairs.

Terracotta and Glazed Ceramic

For vases and objects of all shapes and sizes, terracotta and glazed ceramic are ubiquitous. They are also used for coverings with highly textured, three-dimensional geometries, featuring almost seventies-like patterns but with dusty and tactile surfaces. The appeal of earthy surfaces and colors is also confirmed by the Hermès installation.

And the tile-slabs?

The large family of “flagship stores” from companies in the district grows with ABK, spreading their investment over 12 months, allowing them to “be there” at Milan Design Week as well. The format of these spaces is quite standard: a geometric presentation of slabs on the showcase floor and the inevitable materials library with a work area in the basement or mezzanine. For Fuorisalone, sobriety prevails, with the event aspect being secondary. There are no shows, but contacts and relationships are cultivated, preferably facilitated by some talks and/or aperitifs with DJ sets (Florim). There are few installations, with the highly Instagrammed creation “Poesis Materiae” by Zaha Hadid Architects for Iris Ceramica Group being a notable exception.

Outside of the flagship stores, in installations around the city the presence of stoneware is minimal. The classic “interpretations” of marble, stone, cement, and wood fail to captivate interior designers, who prefer genuine materials. Ceramic-ceramics, which have their own color, texture, and structure, are favored (not necessarily artisanal-vintage, as seen in the red walls of Diesel Living). This is exemplified by the aforementioned Material Home by Elle Decor. Mutina plays a unique game, doubling its spaces by taking over the garden + underground area previously occupied by last year’s best-in-show, Solid Nature. Here, Mutina presents a novel three-dimensional woven covering that decorates rather than merely covering surfaces.


As a general trend, light, neutral, and warm tones prevail, especially for fabrics and curtains, which in the settings combine various shades in cadence. Chromatic accents—particularly for textiles—favor yellow: pale and desaturated or sometimes more vibrant but natural (mango and turmeric) or leaning towards ochre.

Shape and design

Soft and rounded lines are confirmed, especially for seating and upholstered furniture. Even tables avoid rigid and square shapes, favoring slightly softened silhouettes with worked and rounded edges.

The most vibrant area remains lighting, where the general rigor gives way to creativity, with shapes and materials of all kinds (Flos, Loewe Lamps) becoming true scenographic elements.

At the Salone, it’s an even year, which means EuroCucina is featured, sharing the pavilions with the collateral event FTK (Technology for the Kitchen, 50 exhibitors). The design of the kitchens is linear and minimal, with hidden handles, low kickboards, or doors that reach the floor or extend upwards to cover the countertop. Doors are grooved or fluted. Technology is omnipresent but has become almost expected, so there’s no need to overly highlight the various smart home gadgets or invisible cooking zones. For modern open-plan homes, there are many multifunctional solutions, with large retractable doors that hide kitchen sections and sliding surfaces that cover the preparation area, harmonizing functionality and design.


Bathroom furnishings are innovative for both fixtures and furniture, often featuring bright colors and seventies-inspired shapes (Flaminia) or stands with numerous Instagrammable corners (Cielo) that attract the interest of visitors always on the lookout for the perfect shot.

Main Course: Trio of In-Depth Analyses

Dream Apartments

Alongside the usual street-level installations, where crowds mingle and queue, the concept of the “dream apartment” is gaining traction with both permanent and temporary setups. This is a more selective context that guarantees a more immersive, detailed, and enveloping viewing experience. These are places you don’t stumble upon by chance.


Among the permanent and “active” apartments open all year round, we highlight Bocci and Meridiani, where we loved everything: the atmosphere, the products, and the hospitality. A delightful, bright, and welcoming bon ton experience.

We also visited the Bentley Home penthouse on Corso Venezia, offering automotive-style luxury for sheikhs (by Luxury Living Group, which also includes Versace Home, Dolce&Gabbana Casa, Bentley Home, Bugatti Home, and Trussardi Casa). In the garden, the Bugatti Home greenhouse apartment, featuring mirrors and the inevitable supercar, draws many clicks.

Numerous (and significant) are the temporary installation apartments. The Spanish apartment (by Elle Decor), a 100% made-in-Spain enclave in a charming location with a large bay window accessible from Palazzo Bovara, was very popular and well-appreciated. In the same circuit, not far away, is La casa dell’Architetto by Marie Claire Maison, a deluxe location in an 18th-century palace with a park (Museo Arte Moderna).

Super-cool and highly Instagrammed, Casa Ornella is a permanent location with a temporary porno-chic setup that overflows with maximalism and irony, attracting many visitors to the Navigli area.

Aimed at the very high-end market, the Artemest apartment showcases the excellence of Italian craftsmanship and design, with six rooms designed by equally prestigious studios, all set in a princely 20th-century palace. Special mention also goes to the D Apartment by Desalto.

Garden uber alles

The offering of furniture for gardens and terraces is substantial and obviously very catchy, presented by specialized brands or alongside interior ranges. These are “technical” products that command higher prices and margins, increasing their appeal for manufacturers. Compared to indoor design, outdoor design is more dynamic and showcases greater creative freedom in terms of shapes, colors, solutions, and materials. The appeal is certainly enhanced by the locations, with beautiful terraces and secret gardens to discover at the end of a palace’s hallway, satisfying the desire for spring. The feeling is that the market is thriving, aided by the post-COVID love for terraces and the plethora of summer outdoor areas and aperitif lounges competing for space in streets and squares, each vying to have the chicest mise-en-place.

Elle Decor Palazzo Bovara

Design and fashion

The dialogue between these complementary worlds is always open: at the Salone, the courtship becomes tangible and often transcends the concrete presence of furniture in the maison’s portfolio. The installations serve to reaffirm the brand and its lifestyle proposition. Interesting collaborations between fashion houses and design brands include Bottega Veneta with Cassina, as well as Gucci with Acerbis, cc-tapis, FontanaArte, Tacchini, and Venini. At the Gucci flagship store on Via Montenapoleone, five design icons are reimagined in the iconic red color chosen by the new creative direction.

Bottega Veneta Cassina


(A historical must-see on the Brera tour) this year surpasses itself with a highly evocative setup dedicated to earth, terracotta, stone, and materials (a somewhat tenuous connection to the concept, as the floor plan forms an X reminiscent of a jockey’s shirt). Following this is a corridor of furniture and objects, alongside the historical pieces that inspired them. The maison’s furniture pieces are few but iconic and unmistakably Hermès.


An extremely crowded mega-installation featuring chandeliers (last year it was chairs and seating) showcases 24 creations by as many designers specifically for the Salone. The chandeliers feature organic shapes, straw, and woven leather (a nod to leather goods). The enormous underground location is evocative and scenographic, attracting a frenzy of Instagrammers.


Bottega Veneta

A perfect 10 for marketing goes to the green shoulder tubes with complimentary posters, a true cult object of the Fuorisalone. There was a long line at the “on the rocks” installation (a collaboration with Cassina, dedicated to Le Corbusier) featuring a double stack of wooden crates, replicas of the “LC14 Tabouret Cabanon.” This stool-table was created by Le Corbusier after seeing a whiskey crate washed ashore. Some of these were made with multicolored woven leather, available in a numbered series for 18,000 euros.

Diesel Living

(Brera-Foro Bonaparte area) continues its collaborations with licensees for various sectors (upholstery, lighting, objects) and reaffirms its disruptive mood. The spaces are lined with ceramics (Iris) featuring a fiery red vinyl effect (Cappotto-di-Annalisa) and silver Domopak alcoves (Delonghi oven). Inside, there are lamps, upholstered furniture, and even a full-metal-jacket kitchen reflecting in the ceiling.




The city, and particularly Brera, is vibrant year-round and attracts investments: some flagship stores are reaching superstore dimensions. From the street-level showcase, one can access vast, labyrinthine spaces, revealing truly impressive structures and square footage. Frau boasts splendid frescoed rooms and a courtyard with a selfie-attracting supercar. Gessi features a triple-height jungle hall, an in-out super lounge with a mega-bar, vertical forests, a VJ-DJ console, a light show, and a dance floor, as well as office spaces. Among the pioneers of big spaces is the well-known Boffi labyrinth, and right next door, Salvatori is also beginning to have more rooms than the Palace of Caserta.

Gessi showroom

Mirrors and mirrors

Many installations utilize mirrored surfaces with trompe l’oeil effects and perspective multiplication. Flos perhaps achieves the most successful and dramatic setup. Diesel features a full-wall mirror, tilted to provide a bird’s-eye view of the entire upper part of the kitchen.

Sustainable, but Not Strongly Supported

Surprisingly, the theme of sustainability, which is a priority in architecture, seems somewhat sidelined. Perhaps there is a lack of truly decisive arguments, or maybe it is simply taken for granted. An exception is ENI (!), which, in the cool space of the botanical garden, features an installation focused on recycling and rice husks as a building material, creating an almost initiatory path of redemption from hydrocarbons. Unipol (at the namesake building in the Isola district) presented “The Breath of Air”: 40,000 square meters of façade resembling a blue sky, with 14 giant luminous clouds inspired by Magritte (concept by Studio Azzurro).

Unipol – Studio Azzurro – Isola District

Icons, Masters, Heritage

The reference to the golden age of the noble fathers of design is a constant (and prevails over the future), as is the presence of many historical pieces that enhance the installations, signaling an increased affinity in the evolution of taste with the timeless style of these elements from the 60s and 70s. Brands strongly evoke their own history, with references and reworkings of iconic pieces (Flos, Alessi, Frau). There are also concepts with declared tributes to great masters, always sure to make an impact (Bottega Veneta’s tribute to Le Corbusier, Loro Piana to Cini Boeri, Saint Laurent to Gio Ponti).

Cini Boeri

Wallpaper frozen

There is a cooling of enthusiasm for wall coverings, perhaps due to a natural decline after previous binges (after the peak, comes the trough) or the difficulty of moving beyond the jungles of ferns and monsteras. London Art dedicated its legendary multi-story tower to the theme of “One Thousand and One Nights,” but it didn’t make us dream.

London Art

Moving Design

Drawn by the crowds of Milan Design Week, even though it has little to do with furniture, the automotive industry is a constant presence with significant budgets, perhaps alternating years. In 2024, we have Porsche (a great success), Audi, BMW, Toyota, Ducati, and Cupra putting on shows with installations in attractive locations. Innovation and sustainability are the themes, but also design, with the less bulky electric engine providing more “leeway.” Bridging the gap, the new Lancia Y features interiors dressed by Cassina.

Some of the “cult” protagonists of the last decade (Dimore, Studio Pepe) seemed a bit below their usual standards, perhaps taking a breather to surprise us at the next Salone.

Dimore centrale

Thank you so much for making it this far! We renew our invitation to contact us if you would like to comment with us, try to predict the future, or simply have a chat over a coffee.

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