Urban Design inside the city during Milano Design Week
Text by: Charlotte Garlaschelli

Design and nature have always been inseparable partners. Especially when you apply human knowledge and technology to the creation of innovative sustainable materials.
Milano Design Week will illuminate the city like every year, transforming our daily routine into an unusual landscape with the traits of an enchanted forest or a marvellous garden.For example, as a part of the events Interni House in Motion, the Brera Botanical Garden will offer a new landscape surrounded by nature: a city of 700 mini houses made of light will recreate the ecstasy of the beauty of energy. The smarTown installation was curated by Italian architect and designer Mario Cucinelli, who in 2009 won the MIPIM award for the green building category with the Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies. The project was developed with the contribution of the young architects from the School of Sustainability. The participation and inspiration of Eni Luce e Gas, one of the most important Italian energy companies, is also undoubtedly relevant.

A new Hidden Garden has popped up in the modern Gae Aulenti district. It is a fenced area that allows you to take a look inside the locus amoenus. Once there, you will find a play of mirrors and panels, made from the innovative material Krion. Basically, it is a park of plants and flowers, where you can finally feel good and relax during the busiest week of the year. The installation was made with the participation of Flos, Vitra and Gruppo Giardini, and realised by Pierattelli Architettura. Piazza Gae Aulenti – MM 2-5 Porta Garibaldi.

Piuarch offers a multilevel installation entitled AgriAir, which can be visited in front of Torre del Filarete. The first level is a garden of aromatic herbs at the height of the ground, with a clay basement and walkable paths amid tiny plants and flowers. At a higher level, arranged at different heights, there are floating transparent prism-shaped inflatables. They are made of a thin recyclable film and held together by invisible nylon wires. These inflatables move following the air currents and change their colours according to the brightness of the sunlight during the day or the artificial light at night. Finally, a third level is composed of networks of climbing plants growing towards the prisms. This wood-themed metaphor perfectly expresses the spirit of a city like Milan, which is always striving towards the trends of sustainable design and offers new configurations of urban living, searching for a balance between nature and technology
Nature manifests itself not only through installations in the city and street furniture, but also through product design. For example, there are two collections produced by Osanna di Visconti di Modrone for the Nilufar Depot Gallery located on Viale Lancetti. Forest Library and Naturalismi can be visited in the OMV showroom on via Santa Marta 13 in the 5VIE district: they produce bronze and handcrafted sophisticated furnishing accessories with a naturalistic motif.

The Dreaming Oasis is an Eden garden designed to become a shelter from the rush of design races. It was installed in one of the city’s most beautiful buildings, in the noble courtyard of Palazzo Cusani. Developed by Lorena Tassetto’s Outdoor Solution Lab for Talenti, it is a urban oasis of plants and chairs, which managed to create a perfect union between eighteenth-century building architecture, nature and contemporary design.

Something else to visit while you’re in the 5VIE area: at Palazzo Francesco Turati on via Meravigli 7, you can meet Masterly – The Dutch in Milano, the event dedicated to Dutch design and craftsmanship, a mix of tradition and nature, developed with the participation of rising designers.
Effusivity Pool by Philippe Rahm architects offers experiments with wellness. Here the concept of space shifts towards a physical concept of sustainability, as a form of Beauty that includes “the concept of thermal and climatic values, such as those of reflectance, emissivity, effusivity and conductivity”as explained by the Milan Swiss Institute, which hosts the project.

You can visit the installation My interpretation of Floral Design in the Ventura area, at FutureDome on via Paisiello 6. The project was created by floral designer Gabriela Grandi and recounts the evolution of floral presence through a perception of time, space and point of view. It is an emotional journey that goes beyond the traditional idea of flowers as objects: here the flower is transformed into the lights, shades and contrasts of natural existence.