Theo Jansen: Strandbeest Animaris Siamesis. Photo by Media Force

Going Dutch during the Milan Design Week

16 april 2019
The 58th edition of Milan Design Week lasts from the 9th of April until Sunday the 14th. We offer you a concise summary of Dutch art activities this week.

The Milan Design Week or Salone Internazionale del Mobile is the largest annual interior design fair in the world counting 400.000 visitors. Several Dutch designers use the Salone and its joined events as an opportunity to present themselves. If you are interested in Dutch design and art, find out which exhibitions you should attend. 

The Dutch in Milano: Masterly
Organised in the fascinating Palazzo Francesco Turati, this pavilion showcases a collection of the latest design and craftwork from the Netherlands. The 350th anniversary of the death of Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn has served as an inspiration for several collections for Masterly. For example, Melissa Peen x Prades, a collaboration between (you guessed it) Melissa Peen and Prades, unveil their latest line of wallpaper inspired by the Dutch Golden Age and Rembrandt van Rijn. 

If you are into young talent than check the work of Joana Schneider who appropriates textile techniques deeply rooted in fishermen’s and net makers’ work. If you are interested in big names, don’t miss the presentations of JAPTH and Ikonic Toys where among others you will find works by Richard Hutten. At the last one you can learn magic: how can toddlers’ toys improve the looks of your interior rather than ruin it. See the Masterly website for a complete list of participants.  

Veterans, newcomers, experimenters
Besides being present at Masterly, Hutten brought together Dutch creatives to create Freedom, a mind-blowing collection that pushes the boundaries of rug production. One of the fastest rising young Dutch designers, Sabine Marcelis created the geometric Donuts for the collection. You will find her other work, The Green Life at Piazza Duomo: the impressive arch of olive trees is difficult to overlook even in the midst of hundreds of visitors and tourists. Another quality of her work, the poetical way of manipulating light, brought Marcelis the Design Prize and made her the most interesting Newcomer of the Design Week. Designers are awarded in many categories, the Amsterdam based Studio Formafantasma won in Experimentation category for their inventive material investigations.

Panorama I See That I See What You Don’t See, Rudy Guedj, 2019. Photo by Daria Scagliola.

Triënnale de Milano: Broken Nature
Simultaneously you can visit the Triënnale de Milano at the Palazzo d’ Arte, a three yearly international thematic exhibition on design, architecture, art and theatre. This year’s theme Broken Nature calls for us to collectively apply our resources in order to repair the damaged ecosystems that we inhabit and shape.

Does the potential correlation between solar activity (such as sunspots) and major historical events on earth (such as wars, epidemics or natural disasters) catch your attention? Do you desire to escape from the invisible electromagnetic cloud and the constant information flow that we live in? Than check I See That I See What You Don't See, the Dutch contribution to the Triënnale. The works of Melvin Moti and Bregtje van der Haak are just two from the several inspiring projects brought together by the curatorial team: Angela Rui, design curator and researcher; Marina Otero Verzier, director of Research at The New Institute Rotterdam and Francien van Westrenen, head of Agency at The New Institute Rotterdam. If you don’t have time to see it in Milan, make sure to visit The New Institute in October when the exhibition travels to the Netherlands. 

Theo Jansen: Dream Beasts
Defined by international critics as ’a modern Leonardo da Vinci’, Theo Jansen loves to combine scientific knowledge with humanistic suggestions, ranging from experiments on kinetics and mechanics to the exaltation of nature and beauty. Dream Beasts (or Strandbeesten in Dutch) are gigantic animated sculptures resembling skeletons of prehistoric animals or huge insects that move using the thrust of the wind. Hosted by the National Science and Technology Museum you can visit the exhibition until the 19th of May. This is the first time Jansen’s work is on display in Italy. 

Do you want to keep up with Dutch events in Italy? Follow the Dutch Embassy on Facebook: Olandiamo Ambasciata e Consolato Generale dei Paesi Bassi in Italia