top of page

Thoughts on Alcova Milan design week 2024

How do we want to live in 10 years?

FqEvhRwy7j4XeNwmfV3PNK-1920-80 1 (1).png

As designers, our essence lies in creation. We’ve mastered the art of adapting to the latest trends, technologies, and AI advancements to continually innovate. However, while we rush towards the future armed with cutting-edge technology, it’s crucial to pause and explore new paradigms that shape our shared future.

Can we achieve more by creating less?

With this question in mind, I flew to Milan to gain more perspective during the Fuorisalone. There, I encountered Alcova, a platform that brings together independent brands, galleries, and emerging designers during the Milanese Fuorisalone.

Two of the most beautiful historic villas in the Milan metropolitan area have been chosen by Alcova as venues for its seventh edition. Over the years, Alcova has been a powerful catalyst for rediscovering some of the city's abandoned and almost unknown places. This year, we will immerse ourselves in two prestigious historical contexts in the municipality of Varedo, in Brianza. Alcova's curated selection will feature experimental designers, institutions, and companies exploring the future of living and creating. Additionally, there will be an ambitious program of conferences and performances.

Villa Borsani

Frame 2913274 (2) (1).png

In both form and feeling, Villa Borsani is a successful exercise of singular anomalous synergies: decidedly more domestic in character than the other new location of Alcova 2024, where the atmospheres are sumptuous and regal, the rationalist mansion that was built by Osvaldo Borsani during World War II and completed in 1945 accommodates the ideas of an entire generation of designers with the grace of the Masters. It does so in the name of a coexistence between past and present: left with its original furnishings and works by greats of the 20th century, including Lucio Fontana, Agenore Fabbri, Gio Ponti and Fausto Melotti, the villa lends its rooms to a series of installations that oscillate between art and industry. While Natalia Criado displays her exquisite tableware in the kitchen, Supaform is entrusted with the studio, Kiki Goti takes to the upstairs foyer with lunar wonder, and Sema Topalogu Studio grows a plant bouquet from a cold baignoire.

'What is new this year is a dialogue with the domestic space.' says Ciuffi of the fact both of these villas were once family homes. 

Rectangle 11.png

Walking downstairs in Villa Borsani, visitors could uncover a maze-like installation by Objects of Common Interest for Dooor, which manipulates the cellar of the home through colour and abstract passages.

Rectangle 12.png
Rectangle 13.png

Villa Bagatti Valsecchi

With a vanishing point that stretches the gaze toward Milan, the perspective of the 18th-century mansion located at Via Vittorio Emanuele II 48 seems — and perhaps is — gigantic. Wandering around with a map in hand, beginning from the park, we first encounter the Italian-style garden in the back and, immediately after, the English-style gardens to the side, where a portion of the walls from Milan’s lazaretto were saved during its demolition at the end of the 19th century and, for the occasion, reinterpreted by Durat. Here, arriving in the background is a group of designers ready to play a game of mini-golf on an installation of Memphian memory. There are three of them: Diego + Pierre + Hugo. Peering further into the horizon, two women climb, pose and sit on a metal pyramid with Renaissance nostalgia to recount Another Fountain. They’re known as Swedish Girls and, as you might've guessed, they come from Stockholm. Even further to the right, with your back to the front of the building where two giant red balloons appear to burst, the signage invites you to make your way downstairs. But down where exactly? Having descended some thirty steps and basking in the cool temperature below, we now looks upward to the other side: having reached the old icehouse, one of the best preserved in the area, Junya Ishigami's work for Maniera 32 reverses our point of view. Welcome to the upside-down of Varedo.

'The relationship with the park and greenery is astonishing,' Ciuffi says of the vast green space surrounding Villa Bagatti Valsecchi, where playful sculptures by Studio Pepe and a golf course are found. For now, being a hotbed for research and a platform for designers is the main goal, but 'Alcova will keep travelling.'

Rectangle 11 (1) (1).png

How will we live in 10 years? How can we design a better future? I don't have a single answer to these questions. Instead, I broaden my perspective to create a different understanding of the future. I am not primarily interested in discovering the most likely future; rather, I aim to develop stories and scenes for a desirable one.

With the unprecedented rate of change in so many areas of our lives, I ask: what is a world worth building?

The End


bottom of page