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Last week, more than 800 000 people travelled to Milan for a day or two, the rebellious city of Northern Italy. The prices of hotels basically tripled, the underground system underwent extreme stress tests and the pedestrian bridge connecting Porto Genova square with via Tortona street became the busiest in the world without a doubt. And the reason for all of this was surprisingly neither football (calcio), nor fashion (moda), and not even the famous Italian cuisine (cucina italiana).
The reason was the Salone del Mobile – the largest furniture trade fair in the world. Moreover, it celebrated 50 years of its existence this year. Next to the gigantic futuristic exhibition place on the outskirts of the city, en route between the centre and Malpensa Airport, several areas and zones bloomed for one week, which became the celebration of human creativity (today, Zona Tortona is just one of many).Hundreds of shops, galleries, studios, museums on the maps of numerous special guides. It is an incredible phenomenon – regardless of the sinusoid of economic growth or political practices and non-political whims of dott. Berslusconi. It is as if the design show was hosting Milan and not vice-versa.
Salone del Mobile 2011 — Foscarini from konsepti on Vimeo.
There, where abandoned factories and warehouses once stood a few years ago with the first creations of poor designers, now stand the head offices of fashion super brands and design hotels of world acclaim. However, around the corner you will run into the enchanting forgotten courtyard of a former silk factory, which Rossana Orlandi transformed into a fairy tale world of wonders. Artistic designers simply take over public space. Nothing is sacred or foreign to them. They transform the city in front of our eyes. It is merry here and there is very little sleep to be had. Cocktails day after day. Commerce merges with non-profitability, charity environmentally friendliness, a Germen businessman pushes through a queue next to a Milanese student or a Japanese artistic director. Armani is underground or next to a street label. A blend of languages, incredible fashion designs and combinations, however, which are only naturally ruled by the colour black.
And even the weather was great this year, and that’s an important factor – in Milan you often encounter spring for the first time and rain just doesn’t do well for endless moving about from event to event. You may perhaps dislike this Estrada, but something is urging you to return – to be a part of the Babylon. The world most probably won’t become a better place because of it, nothing fundamental is resolved here, but for a few days or hours you succumb to the illusion of this attractive world of new shapes, space and colours. It will fill you with ideas and determination, or with unforgettable experiences at the least. And that is not all that little.