It's really the high point of Milan's social year. Even more so than fashion, which for years has been deliberately exclusive, and only now is beginning to open up to the public at large. The Salone del Mobile – Milan Furniture Show – running from 9 to 14 April this year, is an event based at Rho FieraMilano, the showground in the northern outskirts, but it is accompanied by a packed calendar of so-called FuoriSalone events all over the city. So many people come to the show that hotels are fully booked months in advance, not just in Milan but even in places further away such as Como. (In the photo below, Ekos by Gherardini Home).
As usual, the Salone also includes Euroluce for lighting, and SaloneUfficio for office furnishings. SaloneSatellite is a section at the Rho Fiera showground (halls 22-24) dedicated to the youngest and most promising designers of the future, and this hall often has some of the most surprising designs. It is the only part of the show that you can see if you are not a trade professional or a journalist. (In the photo below, Ghisò for Aston Martin, from a previous show).
But Fuorisalone is of course open to all! There are some areas that, during the period of the show, are buzzing, particularly in the evening, such as Via Durini, close to the city centre and home to names such as Cassina and B&B, and Via Tortona, a fast-developing design and fashion area. Superstudio on Via Tortona 27 and Via Forcella is the venue for some innovative design companies. On the other side of the city, Via Ventura is another nouveau-chic district with a lot of design events. (In the photo below, Spazio Krizia on Via Manin).
How do you handle all this? If you are new to the event, just head to Via Durini or Via Matteotti, look out for the red banners that mark a Fuorisalone event, take a look inside the showroom and pick up one of the catalogues that have all the details. For each evening, there are listings for venues running cocktail parties, openings and presentations. Just head for the nearest one, and you will soon find yourself part of the colourful crowd of design fanatics that form migratory gaggles moving from one part of the city to another, fuelled by generous libations of prosecco. (Below, a Tod's event, part of the FuoriSalone last year).
You can find details on the official Rho Fiera Milano event at cosmit.it. For Fuorisalone events, just search for Fuorisalone Milano 2013 and you'll find all the information you need online. Institutional exhibitions include the Triennale Design Museum; there will be some interesting home design material in the top fashion district around Via Montenapoleone. In short, the whole city marches in time with lifestyle and furniture for a week.