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Shaped by Water exhibition by Google

Twelve must-see exhibitions and installations at Milan design week

This month will see Milan design week return with full force. Here, we've gathered 12 unmissable exhibitions taking place during the week, including installations by Paola Navone, Shigeru Ban and OMA.

While last year saw the world's largest and most important furniture fair Salone del Mobile fully return for the first time since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, this year will have an even higher number of brands and events.

Also on show this year will be biannual lighting exhibition Euroluce, which returns with a new exhibition layout and the theme The City of Lights.

Milan design week, which takes place on 17-23 April, will feature multiple events in the centre and outskirts of the city. Installations and exhibitions from brands including Google and Hermès will be spread out across Milan's design districts, which include Brera and Isola.

See Dezeen Events Guide's guide to Milan design week 2023 for details of many of the hundreds of events taking place across the city.

Walk the Talk by Italo Rota and Carlo Ratti

Walk the Talk - Moving Energy by Carlo Ratti and Italo Rota

Italian studio Carlo Ratti Associati and architect Italo Rota will be creating a path through the Brera Botanical Garden in central Milan made from tiles that create sound and light.

The Walk the Talk installation will be created with game designers Blob Factory Gaming Studio for power company Eni and aims to turn the park into a "living game".

It will be designed as part of the Design Week's Interni Re-evolution.

Beyond the Surface exhibition

Beyond the Surface by Ellen Van Loon and Giulio Margheri 

Architects Ellen Van Loon and Giulio Margheri of Dutch studio OMA will create Beyond the Surface, an underground installation for material brand SolidNature that was designed as an "immersive dreamscape".

"This year's exhibition is about nature's power; it gives an impression of the processes of compression and solidification that led to the formation of natural stone as we know it today," Van Loon said.

The exhibition will be located inside the neo-Romanesque Casa Maveri palazzo and feature a multi-coloured onyx staircase. In the garden, Van Loon and Margheri have curated an exhibition of works by designers including Sabine Marcelis and artist Bita Fayyazi.

Shaped by Water by Google

Shaped by Water by Lachlan Turczan and Google

Technology company Google has teamed up with water, light and sound artist Lachlan Turczan to create Shaped by Water, an exhibition that aims to "offer an immersive, sensorial experience exploring our connection to water as humans and as a source of inspiration for design".

Google's vice president of hardware design, Ivy Ross, created the exhibition – which also shows how water informed the design of Google's hardware portfolio – together with Turczan.

Norwegian Presence exhibition in Milan
Photo by Magnus Nordstrand

Norwegian Presence

The Norwegian Presence exhibition, which aims to showcase the best of Norwegian design, has been held annually during Milan Design Week since 2015. This year, the exhibition will feature work by designers including Tobias Berg and Ann Kristin Einarsen.

The pieces will be on show at a new venue in Brera within an exhibition design by Oslo studio Kråkvik & D'Orazio.

Energy and aluminum company Hydro is the principal partner for the showcase, and designer Lars Beller Fjetland worked with the brand to create an extruded aluminium bench informed by the shapes of pasta

Salone Satellite visitors in Milan
Photo by Ludovica Mangini

Salone Satellite

Salone Satellite, the Salone del Mobile design event for designers under 35, will feature projects by design schools and universities on the theme Design: Dove Vai? (Design: Where are you going?)

Students and emerging designers will showcase work that aims to look at what innovation means in the future.

The event will also host talks and discussions, as well as the "Sate...Light. 1998-2022 Salone Satellite Young Designers" exhibition of lamps by designers who have taken part in previous years.

Vieni a Vedere by Gaetano Pesce for Bottega Veneta

Vieni a Vedere by Gaetano Pesce

Italian designer Pesce will work with fashion brand Bottega Veneta to create an immersive installation for the brand's Milan store.

Made from resin and fabric, it will be designed by Pesce to resemble a narrow grotto and will frame a collection of handbags created by Pesce. The designer's first-ever bag designs will feature mountains with sunrise or sunsets behind.

Pesce has previously created resin chairs for Bottega Veneta's Spring Summer 2023 show.

The Sea Deck by Michele de Lucchi

The Sea Deck by Michele de Lucchi and AMDL Circle

A floating promenade on Milan's Darsena waterway will welcome visitors during Milan Design Week.

Designed by architect Michele de Lucchi and his AMDL Circle studio for Azimut Yachts, The Sea Deck wwillm aim to "bring the experience of the ancient navigable waterways back to the city of Milan".

Visitors will be able to walk barefoot on the deck, which is made from recycled and ground bottle corks and was created to celebrate Azimut Yachts' Seadeck series of hybrid motor yachts.

Rethinking the Elements of Architecture in Milan

Rethinking the Elements of Architecture

Students from the University of Applied Arts Vienna's Industrial Design department will exhibit 20 projects that focus on how architecture can help fight climate change.

Among the projects, which were led by German designer and professor of the Industrial Design department Stefan Diez, are organic solar cells that can be used to create energy and designs that create greening for existing buildings.

The projects will be shown as part of Salone Satellite.

Take It or Leave it by Paola Navone
Photo by Antonio Campanella

Take It Or Leave It by Paola Navone and The Slowdown

Italian architect and designer Navone is collaborating with New York media company The Slowdown to create Take It Or Leave It, an exhibition of hundreds of objects collected by Navone.

The title alludes to the fact that visitors will be able to take an item from the collection home with them via a free, by-reservation lottery.

Navone said she wanted to do the exhibition "to be able to continue this crazy activity of acquiring things".

Thinking Design, Making Design by A-POC Issey Miyake

Thinking Design, Making Design by A-POC Able Issey Miyake and Nature Architects

Fashion brand Issey Miyake's A-POC, an integrated design and manufacturing system, will be teaming up with design company Nature Architects to showcase the Thinking Design, Making Design: Type-V Nature Architects project.

Together they will combine designs by Nature Architects with the A-POC Steam Stretch system to create product prototypes made from just one piece of fabric, including lighting as well as a jacket that turns from flat to three-dimensional when it is steamed.

Alcova venue in Milan


Design platform Alcova returns at a new venue, the Ex Macello di Porta Vittoria – a former slaughterhouse and poultry and rabbit market.

Here, more than 70 projects by established and emerging designers will be on display, including a large-scale installation by Finnish platform Habitarematerials and multiple projects that focus on sustainable materials as well as contemporary craft.

The space will also house a food court and two bars designed by Italian studio Space Caviar.

The Harmony of Form and Function by Shigeru Ban

The Harmony of Form and Function by Shigeru Ban

Japanese lighting manufacturer Yamagiwa returns to Milan for the first time in 12 years with an exhibition of iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin light fixtures series, which were first designed in 1933.

The lighting will be displayed in an installation called The Harmony of Form and Function set in an interior specially designed for the event by Japanese architect Ban to represent the "finest examples of Japanese craftsmanship".

Milan design week 2023

Milan design week 2023 takes place from 17 to 23 April 2023. See our Milan design week 2023 guide on Dezeen Events Guide for information about the many other exhibitions, installations and talks taking place throughout the week.