Looking back at Milan Design Week by Kiki & Joost

Kiki & Joost

Event | Exhibition | Product | Craft | International | Material

A personal article by Kiki van Eijk

DAY 1 – 17th april ’23
15:30 arrival in sunny Milan. Sharing a taxi to the centre with design colleagues like Piet hein Eek, rENS etc. is already a lot of fun! Making jokes, chatting and catching up before we all go to our own venues is showing the close design community we have in Eindhoven.

The first venue I see is Masterly, this is were Joost and I have our main exhibition together with Spazio Nobile Gallery. Masterly’s 7th edition takes place this year in the beautiful Palazzo dei Giureconsulti. Joost has set up our exhibition together with Lise and Eugénie from the gallery, who curated our show “A Forest of Collision and Raku”. They did a fantastic job. It looks fresh, colorful and hopeful. It celebrates the handmade and the beauty found in the process of making and in the imperfections. But it also reflects a current mood of chaos and uncertainty that feels prevalent around the world these days; war, bank failures, political animosity, climate disasters are only a few of the realities that are a part of the everyday. We find hope and inspiration through the process of making, of trial and error and experimentation. We want to show how to deal with today’s chaos and transform that into something positive. The press preview is in full swing. It’s incredible to see how much press of good quality is already present. To name just a few: Dezeen, Ideat, Dutch design digger etc. (pictures by P.Sorgetti)

Joost and I head on to Fendi Casa, as Joost had been invited to design their 8 windows. He chose the Arch as inspiration, an homage to FENDI, but also to ancient Roman architecture, an important part of Italy’s cultural heritage. It looks powerful, architectural and very well made. Joost and his team have been making every single arch in our own atelier in Eindhoven in the last 6 weeks: a hell of a job, but perfectly executed. As he was asked quite last minute, there were no external production companies who could help out, so every single piece was bended and welded manually. It proofs that human craft can be as good or even better than a machine sometimes !

We continue our route to the famous T-Party, organized by the NYT at the historical Villa Necchi Campiglio. I hadn’t been to the Milan Design Week for 3 years, so how wonderful it was to reunite with so many friends and colleagues from the design field: it felt like a warm bath.

T-Party, organized by the NYT at the historical Villa Necchi Campigli

We end the day at a lovely evening together with Carole Baijings at Petite Friture. A french design brand who had taken over a bar/restaurant during MDW: a charming and refreshing concept in big contrast with a very traditional presentation of Herman Miller in the same street.

DAY 2 – 18th april ’23
11:00 arrival at Masterly: there is a 10 minute long waiting row of visitors to enter the building. Each venue seems to have waiting rows this year, I don’t remember it from before…

Our exhibition is already full with visitors and we meet some very interesting people. It’s so different to meet these people in real again then to have online meetings! It’s important to be able to “feel” people and to really connect. This is something I have really missed during the pandemic. A 5 minutes meet-up in real does so much more than a 1 hour long online meeting. It really proofs to me that as human beings we do need to have live encounters (apart from some online meetings). At the same time I’m thinking of the city being packed with so many people (the taxi driver said 40% more than before covid) and all the people that have been taking flights for this event. Not very sustainable… But live meetings are key, so how could we think about the future of these kind of fairs then? I can imagine it would be good to reduce it to only 3 days, instead of 7. It would definitely reduce the amount of visitors (quantity over quality?), it would reduce over consumption and maybe a fair amount of visitors could you use some days of their agenda to take trains instead of flights? I feel we have to rethink the duration of the design week in Eindhoven too. If organizations can consider making these decisions not aways based on money (tourism etc) then we might be able to make a serious change and have chance to still be able to live on this planet in the future… I can’t help always thinking of these issues too, even in the euphoria of the moment.

Visiting the exhibition of Hermès during lunch time is a blast: hardly anyone is there, as everyone is having lunch, so we can closely look at everything in calmth. The presentation is modest, yet very strong and architectural, designed by Charlotte Macaux Perelman.

I visit MOOOI and bump into Ivy Ross, design director of Google. She tells me she has just published a book about the importance of design within a future perspective. And that starts already with educating kids at school how to tinker and think different.

We have to be back at Masterly at 16:00 again as our Dutch Queen in visiting! Since we are a bit in a hurry we take an electrical bike on the street and even have time to get a delicious Italian ice cream! We have the privilege to speak with Queen Máxima in our exhibition and the discussion is lively! She truly understands the value of local production and acknowledges the importance of design with a bright eye and future perspective. (pictures by studio.about.today)

We conclude the day at VERY SIMPLE KITCHEN, a young Italian brand from Bologna who just opened their first Milano showroom. The vibe is young and vibrant!

Very Simple Kitchen

DAY 3 – 19th april ’23
11:00 arrival at Masterly: again full of people already in the morning. In the afternoon we give an artist talk and reconnect with some very respected design collectors.

We move on to a talk at BYBorre in the historical Castello. The panel moderated by Jeroen Junte speaks about the future of textiles and producing and living in a more conscious and respectful way.

Then we head on to the exhibition Lumières of Saint-Louis crystal. A magic and immersive installation in a dreamlike environment in the Cloister of Santa Maria del Carmine in Milan’s Brera district, it combines crystal with sound and lighting!

We close the evening in a garden with a private dinner organized by our gallery and J.Cricket meeting old and new friends: a beautiful diversity of people enjoying a home cooked Korean meal.

Private dinner organized by our gallery and J.Cricket

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