Milan is Italy’s second-largest city and an important economic centre with a vast historic heritage. But despite its financial and commercial status, this northern Italian hub is also a major global player when it comes to fashion and design, playing host to brands like Armani, Versace or Dolce & Gabbana.

But how is life in this vibrant city? How can design recharge Milan?

We decided to find out – at Milan’s 2013 Salone del Mobile. Bettery magazine invited four bloggers from Germany, Spain and France to join our editorial team for a design tour of ten hand-picked hotspots, recommended by seasoned designers like Luca Nichetto, Giovanna Massoni, Matteo Ragni, Lorenzo Castellini or Claudia Zanfi. To ensure that everyone enjoyed these gems and arrived fresh and relaxed, we gave the participants a mobile boost, courtesy of a smart e-bike.

The group

Covering a huge variety of landmark design inspirations, from inner city oases like Parco Sempione’s La Fontana dei Bagni Misteriosi to design mecca Spazio Rossana Orlandi, the hand-picked destinations covered the city’s impressively varied design scope.

And although the weather gods were less than kind – blessing us with a steady drizzle – everyone enjoyed their e-bike ride through the narrow streets of Milan. As part of the tour, the bloggers not only got to know the town’s most stylish spots, but also each other’s views on design. A welcome shelter from the rain, Cascina Cauccagna provided the perfect picnic spot to exchange design opinions: Transformed into a restaurant, garden and string of covered spaces, this central 17th century farmstead almost made Nabil Nadifi, founder of the blog Hype ain’t sh*t, forget that he was in a metropolis.

Exploring hotspots

At the same time, the 2013 edition of the Salone del Mobile not only featured Italian artists. At the Nichetto=Nendo exhibition, for example, Markus Gogolin (founder of DESIGNSPOTTER) decided to investigate the results of the collaboration between Italian designer Luca Nichetto and his Japanese colleague Oki Sato.

Meanwhile, The Toolbox showcased young, contemporary Belgian designers. Thomas Marecki of Lodown Magazine found himself overwhelmed by the experience.

The group

Intrigued already? Then don’t forget to check out Pablo Caballero’s (Neo2) feature on the Janelli&Volpi shop. This company’s latest project, bespoke wallpaper, lets clients choose their own designs.

For a great overview of contemporary Milanese design, recommended design hotspots and the four gentlemen’s thoughts and impressions, head here to read the assembled reports.

Duomo di Milano

Text: Alexandra Schade