Looking back at the Salone del Mobile 2023

The Salone del Mobile, one of the largest international fairs for furniture and product design, took place this year from 18 to 23 April. Mireille de Koning, programme leader Internationalization, and Roxanne da Graça, grant officer Internationalization, attended the presentations of Dutch designers who were supported under the Fund’s open call and other grant schemes.

10 May 2023

For the occasion of the Milan fair week, the Creative Industries Fund NL launched an open call in late 2022 for distinctive Dutch presentations at the Salone del Mobile 2023. Eighteen presentations by makers, designers and design agencies from the Dutch design field were selected. Click here for more information on the selection. The following is a look back at the Milan fair week.

BASE Milano

At the BASE Milano cultural centre, a crossover location where art, business, technology and social innovation come together, programme makers Linda Di Pietro and Giulia Cugnasca gave a tour of the various presentations. This is where in 2022 presentations supported by the Fund were showcased for the first time. This year’s presentations were curated to feature projects on the role of design in relation to social issues, such as climate change, migration, diversity and inclusion. BASE Milano aims to build long-term collaborations with makers and institutions through community building. They want to offer more than just a presentation venue during the design week.

Five different spaces at BASE Milano showcase the works of residents such as Adi Hollander, supported through International Vouchers, and Sanne Visser, supported in 2019 under the Internationalization of the Design Sector Grant Scheme.

Simon Dogger and Boey Wang with their installation Design Beyond Vision. Photos: Ilco Kemmere

Designers Simon Dogger and Boey Wang also presented their interactive installation Design Beyond Vision. Visitors were guided through the installation via sound, touch and sight, with the aim of highlighting the importance of equality in the design field. Bruno Szenk presented his research project I=Fe at BASE Milano, questioning the impact of the fair and the personal responsibility of the participants.

Bruno Szenk – I=Fe. Photos: Ilco Kemmere


Alcova, founded in 2018, is a touring platform for independent design, popping up in abandoned locations. This year, the presentation venue was at the former Porta Vittoria slaughterhouse on Via Molise. Outside, visitors first passed The New Raw’s installation WIP. Using 3D-sculpted recycled plastic, The New Raw designed a series of panels that function as room dividers and seating.

The New Raw – WIP. Photos: Ilco Kemmere

In one of the halls, the retrospective exhibition with book presentation from Basketclub was shown. Over the past three years, Basketclub has grown from a digital platform to a beacon for makers interested in crafts, who exchange knowledge and ideas about basket weaving. During the design week, several pieces by the contributing designers were displayed in a crowded and colourful presentation.

Basketclub. Photos: Ilco Kemmere
Novo Typo – Salone Offgrid. Photo: Ilco Kemmere

With the exhibition Salone Offgrid, design studio Novo Typo illustrates how local resources and production and design techniques can be used to remain operational during an international crisis. The exhibition visualized the concept of the eponymous research project into the foundations of graphic design. The research is based on three fundamental elements: letters, paper and ink

Designer Erco Lai presented three new collections as part of the project Duplicating Landscape – Make Things Like Earth. The project is a long-term study of stone formation and landscape morphology, and was presented in the form of Neostone home accessories, 3D sand-printed objects and landscape-inspired furniture. By participating in the Salone, Erco Lai aims to raise his visibility and profile as a maker of circular materials and future craft.

Erco Lai - Duplicating Landscape – Make Things Like Earth. Photos: Ilco Kemmere
DOPO? Photo: Ilco Kemmere


At DOPO?, a young cultural workshop in Milan’s Corvetto district, the group exhibition Designers From the Flatland was presented. The presentation of eight international makers brings together the work of designers and duos who received their artistic training and graduated in the Netherlands, but whose cultural identity lies elsewhere. The main question raised by the exhibition is: How has design been transformed by and within the international context that has nurtured it?


In Isola, a district in Milan that hosts dozens of exhibitions, artist Kick Veldman exhibited CASTED MIRRORS in the retrospective Tools & Craft. With his handmade mirrors cast from recycled aluminium, Veldman wanted to give a counter-response to the automated way products are made.

On the square in Circolare, the designers from Novel Grey presented their product line on wall tiles made of sustainable aesthetic concrete among other presentations of materials and designs from projects with minimal environmental impact. Also at the same venue, studio Agne presented a collection consisting of a carpet, ceramic tiles and porcelain tableware using pigment obtained from botanical and metal waste. The aim of these two presentations was to highlight sustainable design.

Novel Grey – International Impact. Photos: Ilco Kemmere

Masterly – the Dutch

At Masterly, Inside Outside presented the design for Genoa’s biodiverse urban park Parco del Ponte in the form of a tapestry as a case study. In addition, designer Pierluigi Pompeï was featured with VOCUM, a series of ceramic sound speakers developed by Pompeï in collaboration with acoustic engineer Adam Foxwell.