To simplify the issue somewhat, it can be said that at the end of the Design Week, participants go back home with one of two possible states of mind: either with fresh eyes filled with wonder or, to quote Munari, with the feeling that there are “more seats than bums”.
The nearly one thousand events in the space of a week, the hundreds of locations and the assorted objects of all types that are displayed on the most unlikely stalls, might make you lean towards the latter, but wandering around the various active exhibition districts in Milan, we stumbled across installations, spaces and objects that could really leave a mark.
A great contributor to Fuorisalone 2017 was Ikea, with its 3,500 square metres of a former workshop in Lambrate packed with content. Content that was conveyed with an endless series of events, installations, activities and conferences. A true festival that communicated to everyone what makes the soul of the Swedish brand: the desire to offer everyone a world of possibilities.
The great success is in having given everyone an opportunity to experience something beautiful and memorable: from the children playing in the central space of the Playhouse, to those who set about customising wooden and fabric frames; those who were fascinated by the huge 3D printer designed by the ECAL school of design; to those who participated in art sessions run by illustrator Kevin Lyons; to those who had the chance to get a sneak peek at the products produced in collaboration with Tom Dixon and HAY Design.
All these moments created a narrative capable of simply and effectively communicating Ikea’s identity. As pointed out by Fulvio Irace on the pages of Robinson, this is a “method successfully used in advertising but in this case open and not one-way, because its effectiveness is measured by the ability to measure emotions and evoke experiences according to a programme that each of us feels that we are in some way a part of”.
Amongst the most successful installations and consequently omnipresent on the many social media profiles of Fuorisalone visitors, those commissioned by Marni, COS and Jil Sander are top of the list: what unites them is the poetic dimension with which they aimed to communicate a message.
Although Marni did it in a lighter, more playful way, linked to temporary initiatives (a fundraiser in support of Colombian women), the other two brands endorsed the cooperation with artists' and designers’ studios to convey their brand values.
Jil Sander’s space, signed by Japanese studio Nendo, presented a series of installations that played at redefining the outlines of objects, to show them in an unusual and surprising light. Magic and wonder are hidden around the corner, but once discovered they can be worn thanks to the German designer’s dresses.
The beautiful fountain designed for COS suggested different themes: eternal values that go beyond mere trends, functionality that can go hand-in-hand with beauty, and the surprise that comes from exploring new materials. All concepts that are critical to the success of the clothing brand belonging to the H&M group.