Milano Design Week: the 7 golden rules to survive the craziest event of the year

Milano Design Week (photo: Digical Channel)

Milano Design Week is approaching fast and designers, wannabe-designers, architects or simply curious are getting ready to the most popular event of the year. There is no excuse: either you go (and then you can say ‘I was there’) or you are a loser. But going without a little preparation can be difficult. Read our golden rules before preparing your bag (or while preparing it, as it contains useful advice also on your dress code) and learn how to survive the coolest event in Europe.

1. Breath deeply before planning. The Salone del Mobile and the Fuorisalone are among the most popular events of the year, with over 1000 events spread out in a city which is already crowded in normal times. If you do not want to bounce from event to event like a table-tennis ball, plan carefully your week.

2. Smart casual is your mantra. Walking around with your killer heels in order to be elegant might be painful and totally unnecessary. Choose something practical that you can wear all day (and in the evening). Everyone will trot around the city all day and nobody can go home to get change. Wear black, pumps and accessorise as much as you can. You’ll look fabulous.

3. Bring a big bag. It’s very likely that you’ll collect catalogues, brochures, books. Start your day with a big bag where to put all the paper that (eventually) you’ll throw away as soon as you reach home.

4. Book your restaurant. All the restaurants in Milan (or at least the smart ones) are going to be fully booked. Choose your perfect place and book in advance. Alternatively, you can fall back on the typical Milanese aperitif, consisting of one cocktail or spritz or glass of wine and a small portion of whatever is the leftover of the day in the bar of your choice. If you rely on the events and party with a buffet you could starve: the mob will be quicker than you in grabbing whatever is on offer (Italians don’t queue gracefully).

5. Charge (and recharge) your smartphone. You’ll use it to friends, to set up meetings, to take photos, to share them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Your battery is not going to last the whole day unless you stop begging someone to let you plug in or unless you bring a backup battery.

6. Use public transport. Taxis are impossible to find and traffic is crazy during the Salone. Be humble, join the commons and use public transport. Milano’s underground (la metro, as it’s known among the Milanese) is efficient and cheap. You can tour Milan for one day with a daily ticket that will cost you 7 euros. Save your money for something better, like a glass of bubbly at the end of the day.

7. Familiarise yourself with the districts. The Fuorisalone takes part in different areas of Milan: Brera, Ventura-Lambrate, Tortona, everyone with its own characteristic. Try to decide what you want to see (edgier in Ventura-Lambrate, more established in Brera and so on). There are a lot of guide and apps to navigate through it. Find the one that suits you most.


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