My Salone del Mobile, by Guest Blogger Sherri Donghia

By natalie


When faced with the challenge of finding the right person to cover this year’s Salone del Mobile, we immediately turned to our friend Sherri Donghia. The award-winning designer served as Executive VP of Design & Marketing at Donghia Furniture and Textiles for over 20 years and currently heads a consulting firm, SD International, specializing in textile and product design. Innately interested in what is new in the design world, Donghia attends the Milan-based design exhibition every year, taking numerous photos of the places, spaces, and things that move her the most. In this post, she muses on her relationship with the event, and how children and design kept popping up this year. Stay tuned to Design-Calendar for more of Sherri’s favorites from Milan…

Sherri Donghia

My love affair with the Salone del Mobile and Milan, its host city, extends well over a decade. As a designer, I find the annual experience inspiring and energizing for my creative process – moreover, it confirms ideas and trends for new products, colors, and textures, in multiple categories pertaining to lifestyle in a broader consciousness. For example, my first exposure to the Slow Food movement was six years ago during the fair. Milan, known as one of the major fashion capitals of the world, has embraced global art and design in every category – the city itself turns into a circus in the best sense of the word, where one will see design displays everywhere – in the hidden courtyards, in the shop windows, and even in the restaurants and cafes. Every year, the “city of fog” becomes an elaborate stage for cross-generational, multicultural celebration attracting academics, retailers, curators, designers, architects, journalists, and design groupies alike. And of course, me.

This year, the city decorated one of its chicest streets, via montenapoleone, with a luminous array of 200 individually designed lanterns. When I saw the lamps for the first time, I knew I had arrived…The project, titled Luce dal Lino 2010, was part of the 2010 Fuorisalone.

When I am away from the US, I notice how differently other cultures react to, and live with, design. Europeans, who have a strong understanding of their countries’ cultural patrimonies from an early age, interact like second nature with design pieces at museums, retail stores, and even children’s shops. This year, I was so intrigued to see families with children of all ages being entertained by these visual and tactile environments. These photos are really a testament to the fact that the governments of the important design cities in Europe are supporting and nurturing their design output.

designer lampshades were hung throughout Milan's via montenapoleone

A red lampshade at the intersection of Via Montenapoleone and Via Manzoni

Milan, illuminated.

Old & New Design clash at the Duomo

happy children at the Triennale

Playing at the Ceramic Tiles of Italy Playground, at the Triennale

a design encounter on Via Montenapoleone

The MAC cosmetics counter at Rinascente, a popular department store

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