Milan Design Week 2022 & The Focus on Sustainability

July 29, 2022

Eliza Borbély



Milan Design Week is among the most prominent design events worldwide, characterised by a series of shows and events held around design districts across the city and the main furniture fair at the Salone del Mobile. While the event was cancelled in 2020 and was run partially online in 2021 because of the pandemic, this year marks the 60th anniversary and the big return of the fair in the streets of Milan.

The event took place from the 6th to the 12th of June and saw more than 2,000 exhibitors and designers showcase their works across various locations. More than a quarter of these are under 35. 

Additionally to the Salone and the Fuorisalone, which indicates all the events taking place outside the main fair, this year also saw the return of the SaloneSatellite event after three years of absence. For this occasion, an international jury came together to select young designers, who got the chance to showcase their works on the theme of “Designing for our Future Selves” right by the entrance of the Salone. This is a clear effort to emphasise the event’s purpose to explore the impact of today’s designs on future generations.

In fact, this year’s edition made its mission to put a particular focus on the interplay between design and sustainability. It is the wish of the organisers to bring the enjoyment of in person events, while also putting the spotlight on the different ways the furnishing system can adapt to transition to being more sustainable and environmentally aware.

For these reasons, the organisers chose to set the example and make communal spaces out of reused or repurposed, low-impact, FSC or PEFC-certified materials. President Maria Porro commented there is a need for a more ethical approach to design, and urged the industry to adapt sustainable solutions as fast as possible.

But it is not only the innovative use of materials that made this year’s event special. Milan Design Week was also remarkable when it came to communication: immersive installations and secret public places were placed to increase people’s consciousness with a perfect blend of enjoyment and propagation. 

Some examples of memorable sustainability focused exhibitions include:


Interni x Carlo Ratti Associati x Italo Rota

Feeling the Energy is an interactive exhibit that enables viewers to learn about many types of sustainable energy production, including sound, light, and evaporative cooling. Interni, Carlo Ratti Associati, and Italo Rota partnered to ideate the concept, which uses 500 metres of hygienic copper to border the garden’s pre-existing paths, letting people engage with and learn about renewable energy sources.


Mario Cucinella

The installation consisted of a 1,400-square-metre expanse that reflected on the circular economy. The structure, which was envisioned as a “puzzle of forms and functions,” was built of materials sourced from sustainable supply channels or recycled from waste. Single constituent pieces will be used on other projects, including public spaces, after the event.


The Swedish company expands its involvement at Fuorisalone with a jam-packed calendar of events and presentations centred on the future direction of retail and design, examining the different ways people’s relationships with their houses have developed and demonstrating how living in a more conscious way can improve our quality of life. IKEA showcased their Ögonblick installation, which is also a part of the Helsingborg Expo.

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