Milan’s 5VIE network highlights deep human connection

This year, 5VIE introduces the theme “Unlimited Design Orchestra,” in a bid to foster a design landscape that celebrates the integration of different perspectives.

This year, under the theme of Unlimited Design Orchestra, the 5VIE district pulses with a renewed focus on sustainability, well-being, and community, whilst embracing the harmonious melodies of musical elements. The 11th edition of the 5VIE design district aims to explore the deeply human dimension of design with a nod to the historic centre of Milan, expanding its venues to include the prestigious Palazzo Litta in Corso Magenta, a revered 18th-century landmark within the city. 

Collaborating with the Ministry of Culture, the festival creates a series of immersive spaces that unfold among the bustling streets of Magenta, Sant’Ambrogio, and the Columns of San Lorenzo. These iconic elements come alive as visitors are treated to a showcase of avant-garde designs, designers, and curators that come together to showcase their latest developments.

Navigating the countless events, showcases and exhibits that form 5VIE can be a delightful challenge, but fear not—here, is a savvy roadmap to the must-see highlights within the eclectic design district.

Duetti by Daily tous les jours @ via Cesare Correnti 14

Could interactive urban furniture be the antidote to our modern anxieties? That’s the question animating Daily tous les jours at Milan Design Week. The Montreal-based art and design studio unveils two spontaneous installations on the bustling streets of Milan, each showcasing a unique interactive urban experience: a mesmerizing rocking bench serenading passersby with choral harmonies, and a whimsical bollard transforming pedestrian movement into a joyful dance.

Duetti by Daily tous les jours @ via Cesare Correnti 14
Duetti by Daily tous les jours @ via Cesare Correnti 14 – © Vladimir Antaki

In the first act of Duetti, a sculptural rocking bench invites individuals to embark on a musical journey. With every gentle push, the bench responds with enchanting melodies and vibrant light displays, courtesy of motion sensors. The auditory tapestry, woven from recordings of human voices, creates an immersive experience of ebbing tension and euphoric release. Meanwhile, the second installment of Duetti features an interactive bollard surrounded by luminous pathways, inviting pedestrians to interact, either with a foot or a wheel, prompting a symphony of harmonious voices intertwining with the urban soundscape.

Archaeology of Tiles by India Mahdavi Editions x Alternative Artefacts Danto @ via Cesare Correnti 14

New Japanese brand Alternative Artefacts Danto taps architect India Mahdavid as its first collaborator, coming together to redefine interior paradigms through an innovative exploration of tiles. A.a. Danto has unveiled its inaugural collections, Tiles and Editions, which subvert traditional tile applications, and instead combine handcrafted aesthetics with industrial-scale production. 

After a deep dive into Danto’s history and production methods, Mahdavi conceived a series of tiles capturing the organic allure of the natural world, infusing textural surfaces into her designs, which Mahdavi describes as ‘wabi sabi on an industrial scale.’ Names like Cracked, Freckles, and Crisscross embody this aesthetic, whilst Mycelium stands out with its crystal-like surface, achieved through Danto’s unique layering technique and meticulous clay or glaze application. In an 8th-century former residence in 5VIE, Alternative Artefacts Danto’s exhibit features eight ladders, each wrapped in one of Mahdavi’s distinct tile designs. 

Archaeology of Tiles by India Mahdavi Editions x Alternative Artefacts Danto
Archaeology of Tiles by India Mahdavi Editions x Alternative Artefacts Danto – © Mitsugu Uehara

Cosimo by Sean Dix x Luce di Carrara @ Spazio Lineapelle

Stoneware brand Luce di Carrara unveils its latest indoor and outdoor marble furniture collection, presenting a line of pieces that push the boundaries of marble furniture, making stone both lightweight, practical, and playful. Among the highlights are the sleek Cosimo dining chair and armchair, crafted by designer Sean Dix. These pieces boast sinuous forms, meticulously sculpted from blocks of exquisite Italian marble using a blend of cutting-edge robotic technology and traditional craftsmanship. Inspired by the simplicity of minimalist shapes and Tuscany’s marble crafting legacy, Cosimo’s understated geometry embodies sculptural elegance whilst a swivel mechanism gives it a contemporary twist.

Cosimo by Sean Dix x Luce di Carrara
Cosimo by Sean Dix x Luce di Carrara – © Sean Dix

Experiential Matter by UNobject @ Palazzo Litta

Taiwan-based studio UNobject makes its Milan Design Week debut with an elemental approach, showcasing “Experiential Matter” which highlights the intrinsic bond between humans and materials whilst reflecting the spirit of rebellion and innovation that characterises the brand. 

Founded in 2023, their installation is completely in sync with their new entry into the scene, featuring two interconnected spaces: an outer perimeter and a raised Zen garden at the hall’s center, creating a striking contrast. A live performer enhances the emotional connection, while pieces like Forest, CNC-milled tables; Topo, 3D-printed chairs; and Mozhu, vessels from recycled glass, invite visitors to engage with the collection, highlighting UNobject’s unique display approach.

Experiential Matter by UNobject – © Marco Damascelli

The Empyrean by KAIA x GSL @ Galleria Rubin

British and German lighting company KAIA Interprets lighting’s evocative and spiritual essence with a new installation and collection designed in collaboration with British designer John Whelan, founder and creative director of The Guild of Saint Luke (GSL Works). Empyrean, a limited edition chandelier of which only 30 will ever be made, houses Kaia’s iconic LED tubes within a semicircle of mirrored facets reminiscent of the iconic interiors by 20th-century designer René Prou, the chandelier orchestrates a striking interplay of light and shadow. 

Drawing inspiration from the art deco movement, Empyrean’s angular polished steel framework pays homage to the pioneering designs of German luminary Fritz August Brehaus de Groot. The chandelier is being exhibited as part of an installation spread across two rooms. The first features new products like the KAIA wall lamp alongside existing collections whilst the second room highlights GSL Works and KAIA’s collaboration, including the striking Empyrean Chandelier, from which another unique design has been born—Trap, a perforated, polished stainless steel sconce.

The Empyrean by KAIA x GSL @ Galleria Rubin
The Empyrean by KAIA x GSL – © Oskar Proctor

Ensemble by Pietrachiara @ Palazzo Litta

Arranged to resemble a pipe organ, Pietrachiara has introduced a harmonious arrangement of folding screens in Milan’s baroque Palazzo Litta. The installation features the Italian design studio’s new Fluxus folding screen in varying lengths and heights, inspired by the idea of a choir and its various elements coming together to create harmony. Featuring a lightweight bamboo structure, each screen has been hand painted to evoke the palazzo’s palette of rich, warm hues, ranging from earthy terracottas with hints of purple, complemented by accents of deep greens. The installation is being exhibited alongside Pietrachiara’s already existing collections, including the Anne column, which the studio unveiled last year. 

5VIE Highlights _ Ensemble by Pietrachiara @ Palazzo Litta
Ensemble by Pietrachiara – ©5VIE

Light Lighting by Materiazione @ Palazzo Litta

In one of Palazzo Litta’s other rooms is a slightly more unassuming but no less impressive piece being exhibited within its historical interiors. Light Lighting by Milan-based studio Materiazione reduces its elements to the bare minimum: “I imagined an empathetic, soft lamp, to simply illuminate the space without invading it,” says founder Massimo Rigaglia. “I subtracted everything that seemed superfluous to try to capture the essence of light.”

The floorstanding light comprises a cylinder made of brushed brass encased in a cotton lampshade with raw unfinished edges. Local paper mill Crisa was engaged by Materiazione to handcraft over 350 of these cotton sheets, which have been meticulously sewn together to create 15 lampshades of varying heights. Inside the lamp, there are two elements connected by the power cable. Each element features magnets at the ends, enabling you to freely position the lamp inside the lampshade and secure it once rolled up to the desired diameter.

Light Lighting by Materiazione

Salvage by Jay Sae Jung Oh @ Palazzo Litta

This other worldly throne is created from discarded household objects arranged like a pizzle and encased in ribbons of leather. Seattle-based designer Jay Sae Jung Oh is the creative mind behind the Salvage series, which repurposes plastic, leather, and plywood to create royal thrones. For this particular chair, Oh combines various objects including a drum, drumsticks, a French horn and an electric guitar, all of which are identifiable on closer inspection. 

The chair’s front legs are mainly made from two drums and a handbag, while other items like a small toy horse and additional instruments wrap around and support the back of the seat. Rescued from skips, these objects are placed carefully into an armchair-like arrangement before being covered with ripples of thin brown leather cords. Produced by 5VIE on occasion of Milan Design Week, the Salvage chair is a comment on waste culture, presented as part of a large collection including a bench, chairs, lamp, planter, and shelf.

Salvage by Jay Sae Jung Oh

Under the Willow Tree by Sara Ricciardi @ Palazzo Litta

A willow tree offers a corner of peace in the chaos of Milan Design Week, as Sara Ricciardi introduces her work “Under the Willow Tree”. This sound and immersive installation embodies the theme proposed by the district this year, “Unlimited Design Orchestra,” engaging viewers to interact with the soft branches either through touch or by simply passing through them.

Ricciardi delicately reimagines the weeping willow, tapping into its symbolic resonance with ancestral spheres and feminine power, its branches transformed into harmonic musical instruments and hydrophones emitting sound vibrations through small metal bells. 

5VIE Highlights _ Under the Willow Tree by Sara Ricciardi @ Palazzo Litta
Under the Willow Tree by Sara Ricciardi

The installation has been realised through collaborative efforts with the Turin-based textile experts, Antica Fabbrica Passamanerie Massia Vittorio 1843 and Paolo Borghi, a music therapist and musician who tuned the harmonic balance of the metal chimes. This calming installation draws inspiration from Sara Ricciardi’s childhood memories of hiding in the branches of a weeping willow tree. Beyond personal nostalgia, the willow’s symbolic connection to the lunar and feminine cycles enrich the installation’s narrative, adding layers of meaning to the serene landscape it evokes.


Open full width

Send this to a friend