Taking place annually in April, Milan’s Design Week is an extravaganza that draws connoisseurs and the curious from around the world. Adding to this veritable feast for the eyes is The Essential Taste of Design, an initiative cooked up by Matteo Ragni Studio in collaboration with Essent’ial, a lifestyle brand known for its eco-friendly paper bags and sacks. Taking place in the heart of the city, the event celebrates that tasty place where food, art, design and architecture intersect.
The hub of the six-day event is Casello Ovest di Porta Venezia, one of two original Customs Houses flanking Milan’s centrally located Porta Venezia. In addition to the exhibits of products, prototypes and tastings, all with a focus on design and food, the historic space also functions as the starting line for the many design and art-related events and happenings in the area, including a hyper-local food and wine circuit and tours of the area’s renowned Liberty-style buildings.
On the main floor, a coffee shop dubbed Bar Azure is furnished with stools and tables made of interlocking sheets of cardboard designed by Matteo Ragni for Essent’ial. Within this lounge, Azure – media sponsor of the event – presents its own exhibit, Breaking Bread / Pane al Pane. Here, sketches by 12 internationally-recognized designers and architects are showcased, each an imagined building, object or concept using the simplest of foods – bread – as the primary material. The participants – including Alessandro Mendini, Gaetano Pesce, Luca Nichetto and Yabu Pushelberg – were invited to use any kind of bread, from flatbread, to loaves to single slices.
Elsewhere, the building is peppered with more displays, including prototypes created by the students of the Scuola Politecnica di Design, the result of a workshop about food design. Expanding the theme is 100 Artistic Cutting Boards, featuring examples selected from a contest organized by Matteo Ragni Studio, and a display of stainless steel cutlery from the collection of Belgian Alain Wathieu, with a focus on the period from the 1930s to the present and ranging from work by Gio Ponti and Lino Sabattini to ‘Paper’ by contemporary Milanese architect Francesca Mo.
Complementing all of this eye-candy, Milanese bread guru Davide Longoni will be on hand to offer a taste of his latest creation – La Tasca, a handmade sourdough enriched with olive oil and sea salt – offering pretty convincing evidence that man just might be able to live on bread alone.
When: Milan Design Week, April 4-9, 2017
Hours: Apr 4-7 12-8 pm; Apr 8 11-7 pm; Apr 9 11-5 pm
Where: Porta Venezia Casello Ovest