skip to main content

milan design week 2020: sustainable and circular design previews

in sustainable design

As a consequence of the pandemic, Milan Design Week is not happening this year…or better said it’s not happening in the physical format we’re used to.

One of the most important design appointments in the world could not just be erased from the agenda! And indeed, Milan Design Week 2020 is launching an unprecedented digital format.

Let’s discover what this is about and look at some sustainable & circular design previews…

1. fuorisalone digital is the reference guide when it comes to planning where to go during Milan Design Week. This year, it’s going full digital with an even richer event guide online, live video talks, online seminars and more. The whole platform will go live on Monday 15th June. And here are some inspiring previews…

Graphic of Fuorisalone 2020.

safe restart

One of the effects of the pandemic in design is the risen importance of sanitation and hygiene in interior spaces. This calls for design professionals to become more aware of materials’ properties.

Created by Materially, Safe Restart is an online tool aimed at spreading knowledge about materials. Dedicated to both innovative and existing materials, it will allow professionals to make informed choices that merge comfort with the new requirements introduced by the pandemic.

Read more about “Safe restart”

Graphic showing the span of research on materials; including biomaterials and circular design projects.
Credit: Materially

slow green

Green Wise is a landscape design company with a sustainable mindset. From big outdoor landscapes to small floral arrangements, the company carries on a Slow Green approach. Flowers & plants are never treated with synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, and preference is given to local and seasonal species.

Besides putting sustainability at the forefront, this approach is also in line with biophilic design. Local species are best to strengthen biodiversity while building local identity in interiors. Seasonal species create a connection with natural systems, allowing interiors to evolve together with nature.

Read more about “Slow Green”

Showcase of small flower arrangements.
Close-up of a flower arrangement.
Credits: Green Wise


Yes, you read well. SforSustainable is part of Milan Design Week this year!

SforSustainable is the sustainable interior design resource I curate. It features an accurate selection of sustainable interior products, all complemented with indications of what makes each product a more sustainable choice. SforSustainable is a practical and content-driven resource for professionals & design lovers to navigate through the world of sustainable design and start making more sustainable interior choices.

update: SforSustainable is now riivin: a new and improved platform

Lapotop open on SforSustainable homepage.
Credit: SforSustainable

2. isola goes digital

Isola Design District has also decided to turn the current situation into an opportunity. Their 2020 edition – launching 16th June – will include a fully digital experience with an online magazine, videos, virtual tours and a dedicated platform to connect people through technology.

Isola Design District is renowned for its focus on emerging designers and its interest in sustainable & circular design. And here are a few previews of what will be showcased in the new platform.

Graphic of Isola Goes Digital.

plastic’s morphology

The design world is experimenting with several ways of tackling the plastic problem. Designer Edward Slaviero has taken a different route with Plastic’s Morphology, creating art out of 7 types of plastic waste. Celebrating plastic into art pieces is a brilliant way to shift the perception of plastic from a problem to something to admire.

From a wider perspective, unhinging the perception of plastic as just a problem is essential to spread a more positive mentality instead. Circular design for example, sees every material as a resource and this can really bring constructive solutions to tackle the plastic problem.

Read more about “Plastic’s Morphology”

Sculpture made of plastic waste.
Sculpture made of plastic waste.
Credits: Edward Slaviero

botticino x palazzo monti

Here’s another project that embraces a circular economy approach turning leftover materials into design pieces. Designer Davide Ronco has mixed Botticino marble (a type of marble that can only be found in the Northern part of Italy) with recycled marble and cement waste. This paste is then given an organic shape that becomes the base for sculptural furniture and décor pieces.

Read more about “Botticino X Palazzo Monti”

Rectangular tall mirror kept in place with a recycled stone base.
Bench with wood seat and leg made of recycled stone composite.
Round mirror kept in place with a recycled stone base.
Credits: Davide Ronco

sand in motion

Cutting edge technology and nature merge in this project. Sand in Motion is a limited collection of 3D printed objects made out of Bavarian sand. These pieces – created by design studio Rive Roshan – merge solid sculptural shapes with granular and seemingly fragile textures.

More in general, this project shows how modern technologies can be used in a mindful way, creating sustainable design pieces that celebrate the environment.

Read more about “Sand in Motion”

3D printed sand vase with a seemingly pleated shape.
3D printed sand side table.
Credits: Rive Roshan

is digital the only future?

With big challenges come big opportunities. The current pandemic is no exception and it has forced the design community to come up with alternatives in a very short amount of time.

In the case of Milan Design Week, it is clear that the physical side of the event will be missed, but having all content available online will give everyone a chance to delve into it, without the rush of squeezing everything into 5 days.

The digital format will also keep existing as a complement to the physical event in the years to come. This marks the beginning of a new era, where access to design events is made easier and ultimately more democratic.

Cover image by Green Wise

share this article
  • share on pinterest
  • share on twitter
  • share on facebook
  • share via whatsapp
  • share via email
related articles