Walking through the Montenapoleone District always reminds me why I love Milan so much. As a long-time expat, I have taken so many things for granted over the years, but international events, like Fashion Week or Milan Design Week in particular, take me by surprise every time they happen. Milan Design Week is full on, and Via Montenapoleone is entirely transformed. While it might be half the length of Bond Street, it is twice the fun. This week, all the shops have something special happening, either in their neoclassical-style courtyards or in the boutiques themselves. Both locals and visitors alike will delight in the unexpected finds.
Van Cleef & Arpels'
Young French artist Arthur Hoffner reinterpreted one of Van Cleef & Arpels’ most iconic collections, the Perlée, and quite literally, freed the little gold beads all over the boutique. From the window displays to sculptural installations, small and large gold spheres seem to roll and slide, coming in and out of pastel-coloured tubes and cubes. Hoffner puts a fresh twist on everyday objects, from funnels in an Yves Klein-blue, marble mortars, as well as yellow and orange sponges, setting them up like a little stage to showcase the gold beads.
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Marni, always in search of inspirations from faraway lands, looks to the moon during this year’s Milan Design Week. In the boutique’s lovely courtyard off Via Montenapoleone, two Lego men explore a sand dune after disembarking from their colourful spaceship, proudly sending a large balloon that says “Marni Moon Walk” into the atmosphere…
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Just opposite the street, Loewe spotlights its heritage by covering the entire archway to its boutique with baskets - a whimsical and warm welcome into its exhibition aptly called “LOEWE Baskets”. Eleven renowned artists from around the world weave their version of an iconic basket blending natural materials such as rattan, straw, bamboo and cane with leather. I love the dainty little vase holder by Shizu Designs. A tiny bamboo vase sits inside a loosely weaved leather nest knotted on a hook. A celebration of natural materials, fun colours and everyday functionality.
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