6 DOs & DON’Ts to Survive Milan Design Week
Claudia, SAI Milan
March 31, 2017

DO create a plan of attack
Salone del Mobile and Fuorisalone are beasts of a market and design fair variety – monsters that take over the entire city. Rho Fiera (Salone del Mobile) itself is an overwhelming giant consisting of design displays from some of the top furniture design firms in the world. And Fuorisalone itself has over 1300 events! Needless to say, it’s a good idea to have a plan of attack. The Fuorisalone website is a great way to know what events are happening in what districts of the city. If there are certain designers or fashion events you want to see you can find out where they are located and when their showrooms are open. The best plan of attack is one done by district and by day. Example: Tuesday: Tortona Design District | Wednesday: Brera Design | Thursday: Lambrate Ventura | Friday: Rho Fiera | Saturday: Layout in Parco Sempione

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Urban temporary parks and piazzas

DON’T be rigid
Go with the flow, there will be showrooms that keep you hooked and there will be others that don’t spark your interest. That’s okay. Don’t rush through things, your plan for the week doesn’t need to be a whirlwind of walking and walking. The great thing about Design Week in Milan is that it takes over the entire city – explore how the city changes and have fun. Be flexible.

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Lambrate-Ventura Design District

DO try to see as much as you possibly can
Get excited, try and see as much as you can. This doesn’t mean you need to push yourself like a marathon runner, but if you see something that looks interesting but you’re not sure – check it out. It doesn’t hurt. Design Week is the week to try things and explore.

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Triennale Garden Area

DON’T expect to see everything
It’s impossible to see everything, there are too many events both in Salone, Fuorisalone and Milano Moda Design; 6 days just isn’t enough time to see everything – unless you’re Superman and move at lightning speed. Just remember it’s okay if you don’t see everything, so don’t be disappointed if you missed something one day. If you hear about something on Tuesday, be flexible and change up your schedule and check it out on Wednesday.

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Rho Fiera: Salone del Mobile

DO have a hearty breakfast
Design Week, like any fair or biennale, is exhausting. There will be thousands upon thousands of people roaming the streets. There is nothing worse than hitting that wall of fatigue and being stuck in a crowd with your stomach growling for nourishment. Don’t be that person. Save some euros, eat a hearty breakfast and pack some snacks.

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Samsung Light & Sound Design, SuperStudio, Tortona

DON’T forget to hydrate
Hydrate! Hydrate! The weather is supposed to be in the 70s so expect some sunshine. But also with the crowds it’s always important make sure you’re well hydrated. Don’t be the person who gets woozy on the footbridges of the Navigli or the courtyards of Brera

DO try to make a stop at Rho Fiera
As a young designer it’s important to see what’s happening at the official fair in Rho Fiera: Salone del Mobile. Over 1500 companies display their latest designs. Keep in mind that the fair can be overwhelming, so it’s okay if after a few hours you’re ready to call it a day. But it’s definitely something to experience, especially if you plan on working in the design world. It’s one of the largest design fairs in the world, take advantage.

* Students are entitled to visit the Salone both on trade and public days and as a student you can also access the Satellite portion of the fair, where various Design Universities around the world are exhibiting projects.

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Fabbrica del Vapore

DON’T get discouraged if you feel overwhelmed
It will happen. And when it does, the best course of action is to find a nice place to sit down and people watch. Find a nice patch of grass at a park or take a spot in the sun at Le Colonne. Or perhaps one of the showrooms has a nice outdoor seating area where you can enjoy some food and drink (Triennale’s garden area is a great option!). Just remember if you’re overwhelmed, take a break – relax. Go home and have a nap. Even the top designers do it during the week.

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Vespa Display & Temporary Showroom, Triennale

DO stop and enjoy the city
The city changes with Design Week. The first change is the influx of people. Over 400,000 attendees (designers, general public, and press) will take over the city. People watching is half the fun. But also take advantage of enjoying spots of the city you’ve yet to discover – or perhaps spots that have changed. The Navigli, Tortona, and Brera will be a good example of this.

DON’T feel guilty if laying out in Parco Sempione takes up half a day
It’s one of the great stops after a visit to Triennale or the Brera Design District – just taking in the sunshine. Not a bad idea to pack a light blanket to lay out for those spontaneous lounge park moments.

DO have fun! DON’T miss it

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Claudia is the SAI Milan Program Coordinator 

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SAI Programs is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.