a person looking at a purple lamp

16 of the Best Young Designers from Milan 2023

A vast array of youthful design talent was on display during Milan Design Week and Salone del Mobile—these are some of our favorites.

One of the most exhilarating features of Milan Design Week is the opportunity to explore the next generation of international design talent. The greatest concentration could be found at the Salone Del Mobile’s SaloneSatellite program, an outlet for designers under 35 taking place inside the Euroluce exhibition at the Fiera di Milano, and Alcova, a unique gathering of more than 100 (albeit slightly more seasoned) independent names, this year occupying the beautifully dilapidated Porta Vittoria slaughterhouses on the eastern edge of the city. Metropolis editor at large Sam Lubell spent time at both and collected some of his favorite finds, from surprisingly flexible furniture to completely unexpected inspirations.

Salone Satellite Gathers the Next Generation of Global Design Talents

a person sitting on a chair in front of a bookcase

Il Pontaio by Sabi Space LTD

A unique furniture combo consisting of a multi-layered birch bookshelf and chair, engineered with catenary arches and suspension cables inspired—memorably—by tied arched bridges.

a collection of furniture objects inspired by mandala patterns

SIM by Gus Yap

Inspired by Sanskrit mandala patterns and living cells, this geometric wall décor or room divider consists of rings composed of pairs of 7-inch rattan dowels, connected by shoe aglets. A spotlight can help it cast mesmerizing shadows onto walls.

a collection of furniture made from pulp molds

Palm Pulp Mold Furniture by AIOI

Yugo Fukasawa designs shelves, benches, and wall decor formed by stacking or deconstructing pulp mold packing materials. “This is furniture that makes the most of the advantages of a material that can be mass-produced on a low budget,” says Fukasawa.

a person carrying a plywood bench

Wave Bench by Studio Ryte

Studio Ryte took home 2nd prize in SaloneSatellite’s awards program for its Triplex chair, but our favorite product from this Hong Kong-based firm is the Wave Bench, comprised of three sheets of wavy plywood supported by legs made of two half-sheets. The piece’s geometry serves both as structural support and kinetic form.

a bent wood chair with metal legs

Siipi Chair by Dain Kang

Inspired by the breathtaking malleability of the human body—particularly the muscles and tendons of knees and elbows—the Siipi Chair, which can be purchased individually or linked for group use, consists of a sharply bent laminated wood chassis elegantly fused to a tubular steel base.

a wooden pedestal made of interlocking wooden parts

Piedestal Collection by Studio Tim Somers

Ghent-based Somers’ pedestal, formed by a collection of elegant, inter-connected wood spheres, cones, and platforms, can be customized by unscrewing the pedestals and stacking them back in a different way, making it an ever-changing composition.

an orange lamp

Dawn to Dusk by Claire Chérigié

Helping one softly detach from the precision we’re bombarded with, Dawn to Dusk’s shifting spectrum of light colors, from red to violet, matching the changing colors of the sky. It’s the way we told time before clocks. Very refreshing.

Independent Designers Display Their Work at Alcova

lamps connected by strings under tension

Tension Pieces by Umut Yamac

British architect Umut Yamac explores natural processes and the middle ground between architecture and light. His Tension Pieces, employing copper and mercerized cotton, exploit the potential of cord to create dynamic volumes—appearing to move and shift—through tension and moire interference patterns.

a blob-formed ceramic object

Natura Oscura by Forma Rosa Studio

Brooklyn-based Forma Rosa fuses high-tech fabrication methods with hand crafting to create bulbous, alien-like forms that seem to be still spawning. Their Natura Oscura (Dark Nature) collection is a collection of sculptural formations—lamps, seating, mirrors, and more—inspired by freaky natural phenomena, such as odd greenery and fractal growth.

a room with rugs on the walls and floors

The Art of Formation by Art + Loom and Bea Pernia

Founded by Miami designer Samantha Gallacher, Art + Loom’s abstract, shard-filled rugs take inspiration from cubism, graffiti, camouflage, and more. The Art of Formation, a collaboration with Miami interior designer Bea Pernia, takes that aesthetic even further, as if the rugs were sliding tectonic formations. “The goal was to pay homage to the planet at its most primordial and when we saw Alcova’s ‘distressed’ location it fit with our aesthetic,” says Gallacher.

a room with three yellow lamps

Ricino by Estudio Rain

Brazilian designers Estudio Rain has created Rícino, a series of elegant and mysterious lamps made of plant-based castor oil resin. When illuminated, the grainy, gradient resin, with its warm, ethereal, yellow-orange glow, seems to come strangely to life.  

detail of a ceramic formed lamp with one made of wicker behind it

Lamps by Elisa Auberti

Longtime fashion designer Elisa Auberti, from Roubaix, France, decided to merge her edgy design skills with those of timeless stoneware and handicraft. The result: sculptural designs with curved, oddly comforting organic shapes that the designer fittingly describes as “emotional.”

a blue swirling object on the tile wall of a room

Swirls and Compositions by Marijke De Cock

Antwerp-based De Cock merges fashion, jewelry, and tapestry with amorphous, handmade sculptures made of colorful hand embroidered glass beads on linen and plywood.

a purple and blue wallpaper pattern and a mirror

Portaluppi Pattern Project by Pictalab Milano

Specializing in extraordinarily jubilant, detailed, hand-painted wallpaper, Pictalab Milano has created a collection inspired by the vibrant abstract patterns of legendary Milan architect and designer Piero Portaluppi. (Portaluppi’s own Villa Necchi Campiglio isn’t far from the Porta Vittoria.)

a lamp made of knit fabric

Knitted Light by Sangmin Oh

Blending light with yarn and other textiles makes for something very different. Oh’s use of reflective monofilament yarns emulates a glowing coral reef, in all its off-kilter and highly dimensional weirdness.

a lamp hanging from scaffolding

Light from Architecture by Mario Tsai Studio

Exploring layered architectural structures filled by invisible light sources, Mario Tsai Studio has created three variations, based on nature and structure: Bloom, Grid Lighting, and Pagoda.


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