Thursday, April 18

Milan Design Week 2019 [Fuorisalone Diary Day 4]

A slow-ish start as our Airbnb bathroom was busy (see note at the end of tomorrows post!), but we started the day eventually with the lovely Design Anthology magazine for coffee amongst an exhibition by Kiki van Eijk and Joost van Bleiswijk, followed by a quick brunch, then headed to the Fornasetti shop, because you absolutely must do that when in Milan!

Detail of a piece from Kiki van Eijk's 'Freeform' project. This picture sums up what I love about Fuorisalone - the beautiful old buildings contrasted against the modern installations
There were several new products to see, including stunning rugs. There are so many things to fall in love with in the shop, but it was the snake rug that really stole my heart this time. And everything else below!






Across  the road we joined the queue in the rain for the Louis Vuitton 'Objets Nomades' exhibition which was in the same incredible venue that Gubi showed in last year. There were some fabulous pieces (of course), by various designers including North London based design duo Raw Edges. The people watching was particularly great - with the über wealthy getting guided tours of the show.



'Bulbo' Chair by the Campana Brothers for Louis Vuitton

Dolls by Raw Edges for Louis Vuitton

On to the Gucci pop-up 'apartment' store, which really was mind-blowingly gorgeous, dressed head to toe in their prints and products over two floors. When the Gucci home collection first launched, I tried not to like it, but I have to admit I do (though in smaller doses!), even if I can't have it. But I could take hundreds of pretty pictures of it, so that's exactly what I did...





Sticking with the huge fashion houses interiors, it was onto Versace. I was prepared to quite dislike this one, but I couldn't! It was like a neon mirage (the space pictured was designed by Sasha Bikoff) that I couldn't help but be into, as you'd know if you saw my camera roll! Miami meets Barbie on acid springs to mind, and the print on the bed linen is the same print that was on J-Lo's iconic green Grammy's dress but with re-worked colours. This is a look you'd have to wholeheartedly embrace and I love it, even if I wouldn't have it in my own home.




After a quick refresh back at our base, we headed out to the Red Valentino store which ticked all the instagram interior boxes having been designed by India Mahdavi. Pink, gold and white marble floors, and more pink gold and white on the walls. What's not to like?


With a few hours before our last party of the week, we took ourselves off for diner at Papermoon Giordano - starting with a Spagliato, followed by burata, langoustine pasta and a modern take on tarte tatin. Oh My God - SO good!


Now at this point I would have been happy to go home, but in for a penny, in for a pound and all that, so we headed off to the other side of town to the Toiletpaper 'Confusion' party. Well there was lots of confusion as we couldn't find it at first, and then the completely uncommunicative security had apparently decided it was at capacity and no one else was getting in - no matter how special they thought they were. As it was still raining, we decided to call it a night rather than persue a nightcap (thankfully!), and we headed back home in an overpriced Uber.

Trend Alerts:

Anthuriums / Neon Sunset / Boucle / Pinks & Nudes / Dusty Blues / Brass / Indoor Trees /  Mixed Marbles / Pattern on Pattern


Tips & Tricks:


Avoid Ubers as they're super expensive in Milan!
Visit the Fornasetti flagship store for a visual feast.
Papermoon Gioirdano is beautiful and delicious and not obscenely expensive for a treat.


Steps: 19,089 (Average)


Come back tomorrow for my Day Five Diary and trend roundup!

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Wednesday, April 17

Milan Design Week 2019 [Fuorisalone Diary Day 3]

Unsurprisingly after a 3am bed time, day three got off to a rather slow start. But a good one!

Breakfast was actually lunch back at The Manzoni, with a lovely group of people and delicious food.

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 3 - Fuorisalone

A less intensive afternoon than the day before consisted of wandering around the Brera design district and coming across great things like the L'Objet pop-up checking out their collaboration with The Haas Brothers which is inspired by the landscape of Joshua Tree. I'm not normally a fan of cutesy things, but sometimes cute gets just the right balance of cool too, and this collection does exactly that, consisting of monsters that are soup bowls, and coaster holders, an smoke bellowing incense burner, salt & pepper shakers and coffee pots. The Mojave Palm candle was absolutely to die for and anyone that knows me knows that I'm VERY fussy when it comes to scented candles. I want one. And yes, they are also VERY expensive.

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 3 - Fuorisalone

We also stopped by the crocheted Missoni installation 'Home Sweet Home' and I can't say it was a favourite - I feel we've seen crocheted or knitted everything a billion times now and it just left me cold. Just me? Too harsh?

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 3 - Fuorisalone

The on to Diorama, a collaborative space showcasing pieces from Mingardo and Studioart among others. Now this, I fell for big time - the leather tiles and colour palette in this room set are just divine!

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 3 - Fuorisalone

Next up was a bit of a queue for Dimore Studio's 'Visioni' - one of my favourite exhibitions of the entire week. Dimore have reproduced seven pieces by the late influential Milanese artist and designer Gabriela Crespi which were originally designed in the seventies. The collection includes the Fungo lamp and wall sconce and several coffee tables using materials such as brass, bronze, lacquer and plexiglass. Set against a backdrop of fuchsia carpet, burgundy/brick red walls with reflective brass panels and sand, it was a surreal visual feast and I never wanted to leave. They even got the soundtrack spot on (anyone know what it was?). And in fact, can I go back and stay? Please?

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 3 - Fuorisalone

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 3 - Fuorisalone

Also on display were some of Crespi's original pieces from her archive including bamboo chairs, and an original Fungo lamp, and two stunning room sets which were perfect examples of maximalism done right - in a cohesive and considered way.

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 3 - Fuorisalone

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 3 - Fuorisalone

Across the courtyard from Dimore was the Salvatori installation and I'll let the pictures do (most of) the talking. Let's just say, this was best described as stone and bathroom heaven. Just look at the textured stone cladding and tiles!

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 3 - Fuorisalone

An extended pit-stop at 10 Corso Como in the covered courtyard for a bit people watching a couple of (amazing!) Watermelon and Raspberry Spritzes followed, and obviously a mooch around the store. Luckily I was only doing hand-luggage and literally couldn't squeeze another thing in, or my wallet would have been well and truly empty.

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 3 - Fuorisalone

Battery and power adaptor woes meant no more photos for the rest of the day, but needless to say, we had lots of fun at the Cos and Humanscale parties that evening!

Trend Alerts:


Textured & Leather Wall Tiles / Incense / Muted Pinks & Nudes / Brushed Brass Statement Lighting / Rattan / Marble & Granite / Burgundy & Brick Red / Fuchsia / Carpet / 70's Style


Steps: 16,150 (Hmmm, poor effort)

All images copyright Bianca Hall except where noted. Please be a good human and make sure you credit and link / tag me if you use them.

Come back tomorrow for my Day Four Diary instalment, and approximately five billion photos!

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Tuesday, April 16

Milan Design Week 2019 [Fuorisalone Diary Day 2]

Day two of Fuorisalone started off at Tom Dixon's new permanent restaurant space The Manzoni, for the press launch and to hear the man himself talk about the why and what. Tired of pouring time, creativity and resources into temporary exhibition spaces he decided to open a restaurant that doubles as a cafe, shop, showroom and trade office - multi-tasking at its best. I must say, the space way exceeded my expectations, but when he claimed that the toilets were the 'best in Milan', I thought, 'well I'll be the judge of that', because that's SUCH a big call, but I had to agree! So. Damn. Good. So obviously I then took at least 200 photos, because, Instagram.

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 2 - Fuorisalone

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 2 - Fuorisalone

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 2 - Fuorisalone

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 2 - Fuorisalone

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 2 - Fuorisalone

After Tom Dixon we walked to the Moooi installation which showcased among many other things some amazing textured wall-coverings. How 'bout that bird lamp? LOVE!

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 2 - Fuorisalone

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 2 - Fuorisalone

The Nalesso Craftroom was right up my alley, with sumptuous upholstery in dusty blue velvets, quilted three dimensional wall-coverings and terracottas, with tan and beige leathers, and plenty of round mirrors.

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 2 - Fuorisalone

On to Besana Carpets 'Planetario' by Cristina Celestino which was absolutely stunning. An entire apartment clad in carpet - both patterned and colour blocked with lighting by Esperia. This installation definitely had the wow factor and is what I love most about Milan Design Week - walking into a space you know nothing about and being completely blown away. The palette was stunning and basically covered all the colours we'll be seeing so much more of in 2020 and beyond. And I'm not mad.

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 2 - Fuorisalone
Image: Lisa Dawson

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 2 - Fuorisalone

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 2 - Fuorisalone

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 2 - Fuorisalone

A lunch and spritz pit-stop was required at Pacifico - a Peruvian restaurant we'd spied the day before and was a brilliant find for a reasonably priced and delicious lunch (think poke bowls and cerviche through to a modern take on a Caesar Salad) in gorgeously Instagrammable decor. We were joined by the Milan Design Week regular, and my partner in walking, design and spritzing crime for the rest of the week, Emma Jane-Palin.

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 2 - Fuorisalone

After lunch it was on to the Cos installation which this year was in collaboration with architect Arthur Mamou-Mani. Called Conifera, it was made from 700 'bio-bricks', digitally printed using a mixture of wood and bio-plastic. I can confirm it was beautiful and breathtaking in person. And attracted over 8000 visitors per day! So just a few then...

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 2 - Fuorisalone

The saying no rest for the wicked couldn't be more true when in Milan for design week, as once the sun sets, it's time for the evening parties! It's actually best to keep going, if you sit down for too long you might not get back up.

First up, fizz and canapés at Nude Glass to celebrate their partnership with Iris Apfel. I do love a bit of glassware and amber (and pink!) is at the top of my list. The fluted curved vase from the Mist collection by Tamer Nakisci is part of the Apfel collection (below, middle), and of course a browse around the shop was in order and I fell quite hard for these letter glasses, and the coloured pots with brass lids were stunning.

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 2 - Fuorisalone

On to the Tala party for a Caipirinha whilst looking at their latest offerings - I adore that circle of light!

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 2 - Fuorisalone

Hem happened to be in the same courtyard so it would have been rude not to check that out too. Both were beautiful as you can see.

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 2 - Fuorisalone

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 2 - Fuorisalone

Another 20 minute power-walk to dinner with Habitare to hear all about thier Helsinki Design Fair, at Papermoon, where a Campari Spritz is recommended over an Aperol Spritz. Who am I to argue?

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 2 - Fuorisalone

And finally after dinner we went to the legendary and too cool for Instagram Bar Basso to experience what can only be described as mayhem. Huge crowds of people inside and out and to get a drink you must first queue to order and pay and the cashier, then you need to queue at the bar with your receipt to get your drink. There is much polite (and actually some not so polite) pushing in the sardine style space. Great people watching and EJP also introduced me to the Spagliato (meaning 'messed up' or 'mistaken'). Legend has it it was created at Bar Basso when a beautiful woman distracted the bar tender while he was making a Negroni and he added sparkling wine instead of gin. Believe me, they're good! I can't say that I'll be rushing back to Bar Basso, but I do get it. I think my days of wanting to be at the coolest bar in town are over - especially when the whole of Milan is there too.

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week 2019 Diary Day 2 - Fuorisalone

Trend Alerts:


Dusty Muted Blues & Mint / Velvet / Round mirrors / Terracotta & Tan / Burgundy / Textured & 3D Wall  Coverings / Marble & Granite / Patterned & Colour Blocked Carpet / Ridged Fluted Walls / Blush Pinks & Nudes / Coloured Glass / Brushed & Polished Brass / Curtains / Venetian Plaster / Concrete Wall Finishes / Curved Furniture


Tips & Tricks:


Always take your phone with you to the loo! Not only might it be highly instagrammable, but you'll be able to call for help if you get stuck in a cubicle. Ahem, not mentioning any names The Manzoni.

Papermoon is a Milan institution - proper old school food and service - absolutely divine! And there's the fine dining Papermoon Giordano just around the corner for a more intimate meal.

Pacifico was doing a lunch special which was a mini salad and main for €15 euros.

Bar Basso is the place to be, but go at night during Milan Design Week only if you're not adverse to very close personal contact with strangers and large crowds. And be prepared to queue twice - once at the cashier to pay and again at the bar.

Oh, pack some plasters!

Steps: 26,307 (that's better!)


All images copyright Bianca Hall except where noted. Please be a good human and make sure you credit and link / tag me if you use them.

Come back tomorrow for my Day Three Diary instalment!





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Monday, April 15

Milan Design Week 2019 [Fuorisalone Diary Day 1]

When I went to Milan to attend Salone Del Mobile with C.P Hart Bathrooms last year,  I was blown away by the sheer scale and size of it. And then I started exploring Fuorisalone - the events that take place around Milan on the same week as Salone Del Mobile, and OH MY GOD... I was utterly inspired and vowed to go back the following year.

The official event count this year was 1351 across eight design districts and I imagine there are many more unofficial ones too. It's overwhelmingly huge, and spread over the city in several different areas, so it's advisable to have a plan if you have specific things you want to see. Equally if you're not into planning, just hit a different design district or two each day and wander and you'll stumble upon things, also see if anything that grabs your attention on instagram and add it to your list!

Most of it is entirely walkable (if you're a keen walker!) or easily doable on the metro.

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week Diary Day 1 - Fuorisalone
The eight design districts - map courtesy of Fuorisalone


I think there are a couple of myths surrounding MDW and I thought it might be helpful to wade in on that.

Myth One: It's elitist.

No it's not. Although there are many press only and invitation only events and parties, almost all exhibitions are open to the public for most of the week after the initial press only previews, and are free to get into. You don't have to be in the industry and you don't have to have any credentials - you can just be an interested anyone. It's not scary - promise! The exception to that was the Versace installation (perhaps unsurprisingly!) which we had to blag our way into. They're big on business cards generally, which seems ridiculous as you and I know they literally mean nothing, but would actually be really helpful. Note to self to make sure I have some made before next year because they would have come in handy. And yes, it will probably take me all year to get around to it.

Myth Two: It's obscenely expensive.

It doesn't have to be. Of course if you choose to stay at a beautiful hotel it will be, and the tales are true about huge price hikes for accommodation during design week, but honestly, you don't need the glamorous hotel if like me you're just going to sleep there each night for a few hours before getting up and pounding the pavements again. Do some research and book your hotel early or get a group together and book an Airbnb well in advance.

I think those are the two main myths. It's not expensive to eat and drink there either - depending on where you go of course, and it can absolutely be done on a tight budget. Flights are also pretty cheap if you're happy to fly with not-so-easyJet.

So don't let the myths get in the way of going and soaking up all that incredible inspiration next year! Because if you're a design lover, you too will return with a head full of inspiration, a camera / phone bursting with beautiful images, probably a blister or three on your weary feet, achy legs and possibly in need of an alcohol detox. Or is that just me?

Right, let's get down to the details. I thought that rather than writing a trend report, that I'd break it down into a daily diary of what I did, what I loved, tips and hacks, and of course lots of trend alerts too. There will be an instalment every day this week - one for every day I was there.

DAY ONE:


I was invited to go to Milan a day earlier than I'd originally planned with the Ikea press team to attend the launch of their SYMFONISK collaboration with Sonos, rather handily alongside my friend Lisa Dawson, so I gate-crashed her hotel at Gatwick the night before to save myself from having to get up horrifically early for our 9am flight to Malpensa.

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week Diary 2019 - Day 1 - Fuorisalone

Despite best laid plans, delays meant we ended up dropping our bags at the hotel and heading straight to the event location in the Tortona area and it didn't disappoint! Following really interesting talks about sound and light by leading sound consultant Martin Hallberg, Chronobiologist Anna Wirz-Justice, Bjorn Block (Business and Development Leader, Ikea Home Smart, Ikea) Tad Toulis (Vice President of Design, Sonos) the new designs were officially launched.

There had already been press images circulating of the book-shelf speaker, but it was the first time the table lamp with speaker was allowed to be shown publicly. Rumour has it that these two products that so cleverly integrate sound into home furnishings, will not be the last from this partnership. It's such an exciting collaboration - the book-shelf speakers which will retail for £99 when they hit the stores in August will work brilliantly in so many rooms including (I think!) kids rooms. The table lamp speakers would be amazing bedside lamps for grown-ups (or very lucky kids), and will retail for £179.

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week Diary 2019 - Day 1 - Fuorisalone

After the Ikea launch excitement it was time for a stroll around Tortona to look at some other installations. First stop was ex.t to drool over some beautiful matt black and brass bathroom taps, and matt ceramics in soft fleshy nudes and whites.

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week Diary 2019 - Day 1 - Fuorisalone

Wandering is often the best way of seeing some fab but unplanned spots and we stumbled upon an area of exhibits which included this lovely space showcasing the new Rafael outdoor furniture collection for Ethimo designed by Paola Navone, a gorgeous plant and flower shop, and as you can always expect in Milan, some stunning lighting.

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week Diary 2019 - Day 1 - Fuorisalone


French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week Diary 2019 - Day 1 - Fuorisalone

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week Diary 2019 - Day 1 - Fuorisalone
Mario Tsai 'Mazha' Light

The Mario Tsai installation was brilliant with huge pieces including the 'Mazha' light, and right next door The Mumoon installation featured lighting by various designers including the Cosmonaut lamps by Dos Signorotto Design (LOVE!), and the Hold modular lighting system, also by Mario Tsai.

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week Diary 2019 - Day 1 - Fuorisalone
Mario Tsai 'Hold' Modular Lighting, Mario Tsai 'Mazha' Light, Dos Signorotto 'Cosmonaut' Lamps

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week Diary 2019 - Day 1 - Fuorisalone

British Sculptor Alex Chinneck's unzipped building facade was an incredible sight when walking into the Opificio 31 exhibition area.

Then it was well and truly time for a spritz and food at Osteria Del Binari - beautiful traditional interiors and food to match. I *may* have had to be rolled home after eating more than my fair share of antipasti, Milanese Risotto and Osso Bucco.

French For Pineapple Blog - Milan Design Week Diary 2019 - Day 1 - Fuorisalone

Trend Alerts:

Marble / Neutrals & Fleshy Pinks / Statement Lighting / Monochrome / Black Taps / Brass

Top Tips:

You can fly into Malpensa or Linate. Linate is closer to the city centre. Since this is my diary rather than a complete Milan travel guide I'm focussing on my experience, so this information is based on flying into Malpensa which is what I've done both years.

Airport Transfers: You can get a coach or train into central Milan. The coach is around €14 for a return ticket and takes less than an hour and they run pretty regularly. The express train is €20 return and takes 52 minutes. Both will take you to Milano Centrale which is then either a walk or metro ride to pretty much all destinations. Taxis are much more pricey - currently a fixed price of €95.

Left Luggage: If you think you'll need to use the left luggage on your last day (believe me, you do NOT want to be carting your bags around all day and in and out of exhibitions) don't use the one at the station that has crazy queues, but you can pre-book this one which is a few minutes walk away to avoid the massive queues at the station itself and to avoid missing out. It's currently €2.49 for an hour and €10.49 for four. Make sure you use an email address you can access as I didn't get a text message as promised and you need the code to open your locker again. It's all automated and un-manned (though there is an emergency button to communicate with them). The lockers are quite big - a small one fits 2 cabin sized suit cases and a large one will fit four.

Metro: The metro is easy to use, efficient and cheap! It's €4.50 for 24 hours or €8.50 for a three day ticket. You can use that ticket everywhere on the Metro, but if you're going out to Rho Fiera (the location of Salone Del Mobile) you will need to purchase a separate ticket.

Steps: 12,539

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post - I was under no obligation to write about for Ikea x Sonos, though I was hosted by them during my first day and a half.

All images are copyright Bianca Hall except where noted. Please be a good human and make sure you credit and link / tag me if you use them.

Come back tomorrow for my Day Two diary instalment!



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