Milan Design Week 2015: Ventura Lambrate guide

The ultra cool Ventura Lambrate district will be exhibiting works by prominent and emerging designers as part of Milan Design Week from 14 to 19 April.

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09 April 2015

Lambrate is an industrial area fast being redeveloped into a chic residential and business location. It has a friendly local-district atmosphere with lots of small shops and venues, and during the Salone del Mobile (14-19 April 2015), Ventura Lambrate will be featuring prominent and independent designers in locations that appropriately include huge industrial buildings once used by companies such as Lambretta.

See also: Read our newer article on Ventura Lambrate from Milan Design Week 2016

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Last year, there were 170 exhibitions presenting 700 designers, who attracted over 80,000 visitors. A host of original, refreshing, sometimes crazy ideas that may possibly become icons some time in the future.

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This year will be even better, with a special focus on daring, provocative design labels, and some new locations that include one of Milan’s rare ‘secret gardens’ hidden in the middle of the Lambrate district. The design projects will focus on the crossover between design and fashion, and other hybrid areas. Here are just some highlights on what you can expect:

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KADK - The Royal Danish Academy School of Design, Architecture and Conservation will be showcasing works by 36 design graduates, amongst other student projects from the Institute of Architecture and Design. Via dei Canzi 14.

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Design Academy Eindhoven from The Netherlands will be presenting the first exhibition of Food Non Food. All 18 students and their teachers will come to the show and dig deep into the politics of how, where and why we eat. Take part in their exhibition-laboratory on Via Crespi / Via dei Canzi.

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Mosa, Dutch tile manufacturer with over 130 years of experience, was an official partner of Ventura Lambrate 2014 and is coming back for another exciting edition. With a new flagship showroom that just opened in London two years ago, Mosa will without doubt amaze again with innovative ceramic and porcelain surface design.

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Read more: What's on in Milan this month

We spoke with Ventura Lambrate Founder and Art Director Margriet Vollenberg for insights into the exciting event.

How is the Milan project different from Kortrijk, Berlin and London?

Ventura Lambrate is by far the biggest event we organize. It feels like home base because I’ve worked in Milan for 14 years now and I know the Salone very well. All the different design events have their own feel and atmosphere, but the Milan Design Week is still the most important one for a lot of designers and companies.

At Ventura Lambrate, what are the top three trends to look out for?

With the fashion world's "implosion", a term coined by trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort, comes an increased mingling between the fashion and design industries. As familiar industrial conditions disappear, what remains is designers striving to bring the world the best crafts and most exceptional techniques. You can see the phenomenon of merging between fashion and design; research and craftsmanship; and technique and reverie at our Via Cletto Arrighi location.

Technology is another trend. An example is the self assembling furniture pieces of Wood-Skin and MIT Self Assembly Lab, where the creators demonstrate testings and results of cutting-edge technology promising an innovative future.

Designers are looking for crossovers to broaden their perspective. In this edition, we have multi-national collectives, like Norwegian Presence and the Mexican Pavilion, and also returning collectives like Form&Seek and COTTO Another Perspective 3.

For first-time visitors, what would you like them to experience?

I would like them to learn the story behind the designs. I think what distinguishes Ventura Lambrate from other events is its ability to show research-based projects, conceptual designs and the final product. By diving into the complexity of things and by hearing the stories, I hope first-time visitors will become curious with new ideas. I also hope they will like the festival atmosphere, with creative restaurants and bars, all kinds of performances and a special Ventura Lambrate shop hosted by Crowdyhouse.com

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And for design enthusiasts, what are the top five highlights they must not miss?

Personally, I’m really excited about the work of the academies, of which we have 24 this year. Design Academy Eindhoven is bringing an extensive research on the human consumption of food. Their location will turn into a food laboratory. 

Then, there is HEAD – Geneve, who is giving us insights into our relationship with animals. KADK will present their best graduates from both the design and architecture departments. A new label called BREED will launch its first products, created in collaboration with top designers and innovative manufacturers. You can see works by Chris Kabel and Christien Meindertsma, among others, and the production processes. 

And I’m really excited to see the outcome of ‘A Belgian Village by DIFT’. Thirty Belgian designers and labels will create an authentic Belgian village in a secret garden, showcasing not only the best of Belgian contemporary design, but also some tasty bites. Not to be missed are Moleskin's sketches, which are always interesting.

What are your favorite places to go for dinner and drinks in Milan after a long day?

Trattoria Cappelletta is our home base during Ventura Lambrate. Nothing pretentious, just a very pleasant spot, with lovely staff that still speaks the Lambrate dialect and makes you feel right at home. Make sure to order the 'gnocco fritto'.

Via Carlo Bertolazzi 26, 20134 Milan, Tel. +39 02 2151 456, www.trattorialacappelletta.it

Mercato del Pesce is one of Milan's oldest seafood markets. It's located in an industrial area, right near the railroad. Inside, you will find the restaurant in a blue glass cube like an aquarium. I can honestly say it offers one of the best seafoods I have ever had―super fresh and very well-prepared. Oysters, fish tartars, calamari, 'fritto misto'―could you think of a better place to have your aperitivo?

Via Cesare Lombroso 54, 20137 Milano, Tel. +39 02 5519 5540, www.mercatodelpescemilano.it

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General opening hours: Tuesday April 14th – Saturday April 18th:10:00 – 20:00, Sunday April 19th: 10:00 – 18:00. Open evening: Wednesday April 15th: 20:00 – 22.00

Via Ventura 5, Ventura Lambrate, 20134 Milan, Italy, www.venturaprojects.com

Read more: What's on in Milan this month