Sustainable and Experimental: the Fuorisalone of BASE Milano

Setting off from the present to build a new future through design: this is the central theme of the events scheduled in the spaces of the ex-Ansaldo former in Tortona

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21/07/2021 - On the occasion of Fuorisalone 2021, BASE Milano returns with a series of events, exhibitions and meetings dedicated to sustainability and experimentation, involving designers from all over the world, as well as universities, emerging brands and businesses, and international institutions. Setting off from the present to build a new future through design: this is the theme around which the Design Week of BASE Milano develops, scheduled from 5 to 12 September in the industrial spaces of the ex-Ansaldo former, in the heart of Tortona.
For this unusual edition of the Fuorisalone BASE Milano is partner of Archiproducts: all the appointments to be held in the building in via Bergognone will be part of the Design Selection, the guide of Archiproducts that collects the most interesting locations and installations of the MDW through a path that crosses the entire city of Milan.
The driving force behind the projects on display is experimentation and the willingness to explore new terrain in the search for innovative solutions that address the phase of worldwide re-examination we inevitably find ourselves in. The designs will venture into a range of areas on various scales – from the microworld of a bedroom-studio to the collective sphere of the neighbourhood – embracing an anthropological concept of design with the power to conceive new visions of cohabitation and joint construction, underpinned by the principles of sustainability.
Now more than ever before, design has become a lens through which to view our society, an essential tool for re-designing relationships and cohabitation for the future. This sparked the idea for the Italian edition of RESTART, the project from ACNE (the Deloitte family’s creative collective) in collaboration with BASE, which was set up help small businesses get back on their feet in the wake of the pandemic through a connection with the art world.
ACNE believes in the power of creativity and its potential impact on business – even for the smallest enterprises – and so, to mark the anniversary of its launch in Italy, the collective has decided to inject new energy into the neighbourhood where the Italian office is housed. The challenge? To bring together creativity, culture, and design in an initiative with real local impact, a new artistic experience dedicated to the Tortona community, offering the help it needs to get moving again.
RESTART will make its debut in Milan during the upcoming Design Week, involving a number of artistic collectives and a wealth of talent: CESURA, the photography collective founded in 2008 which pays close attention to social concerns, PARASITE2.0, architecture collective established in 2010 by a group of students from Politecnico di Milano to investigate the role of the urban habitat, and Music Innovation Hub, ready to launch its neighbourhood Web Radio station.
Each floor at BASE, located within the ex-Ansaldo complex, will house visions of the future and experimentation from young designers, universities, and emerging brands, alongside moments for debate and reflection with experts, exploring new modes of future living through design.
Throughout Design Week, the Temporary home project will see casaBASE transformed into a veritable haven of creativity, a unique residence serving as home, workshop, and exhibition space. Thanks to a collaboration with IKEA Italia, five international designers will get to grips with the challenges our society is facing, sharing research, trends, and design projects with the Fuorisalone public. One of the guests is German fashion designer Anna-Sophie Dienemann, who, in collaboration with Goethe-Institut Mailand, will present wearable distancers that serve as a comment on social distancing and were designed during the pandemic, inspired by a pop-up tent; the Dutch bio-designer Emma van der Leest will involve visitors in an experiment with biodiversity and design; product designer Vicente Varella, supported by Superforma – as part of the European Centrinno project overseen by Nema and Milan City Council – explores the potential of digital manufacturing to give new life to waste material through a process based on the principles of Human Centred and Circular Design.
The first floor at BASE will once again become a showcase for research and experimentation as part of a design journey that goes beyond Design Week itself and engages with a range of disciplines outside the design world.
Numerous exhibition projects and installations will set up across the floor, including: Matteo Guarnaccia, presenting ‘CCC (Cross Cultural Chairs)’, a project analysing the socio-cultural sphere through the prism of the chair. The eight chairs to go on display at BASE are the outcome of collaborations with eight different designers and artisans from the eight most populated countries in the world; Spazio META offers an innovative and useful example of ways to reuse production materials, repurposing them for a new life in order to boost awareness of the material wasted in event production; studio.traccia also offers reflections on the waste and rubbish generated by human consumption, this time blending food and design in their installation ‘TABULA[non]RASA’; IAAD, the Institute of Applied Art and Design, will display an audio-visual installation entitled ‘States of Imagination’, celebrating the mind’s power of invention; fresh from this year’s launch of the “Design for Children” master’s course at its Faculty of Arts and Design, the University of Bolzano is creating a floor plan with “drawing machines”, designed to help kids draw and stimulate their creativity, accompanied by a select display of relevant publications; NID, the New Design Institute in Perugia will present ‘State of Nature’, an installation project that uses Instagram filters to plunge the visitor into an immersive and interactive experience; the Ludosofici will bring their project ‘Plastic Fighters’ to the ex-Ansaldo complex, which, thanks to the Coesione Sociale 2019 gang, offers to recycle plastic bottle tops, which, in collaboration with designers and primary school students, are broken down and transformed into socially useful objects using a 3D printer; the Cultural Association NOI Altri and NOI Liberia are coming with their bookshop, offering a special selection of design, illustration and graphic art books, as well as presenting 'ONIRISMI - Page Tsou solo exhibition', the first Italian show dedicated to Page Tsou, the multi-award winning visual artist, star of the creative scene in Taiwan and founder of the AUSPICIOUS design studio; Parasite 2.0 are set to present their latest project, “Antropofago Productions”, a curated collection of objects, fanzines, and sounds to spark reflections on overproduction and overconsumption. 
An unconventional white cube will be installed on the first floor, acting as a pop-up pavilion where the pieces will be available for purchase – just like at an art gallery or the online Bandcamp store – or through bartering.
Lastly, the Sicilian collective Analogique will set up “PA-GA Parlamento di Gaia”, a nomadic, shapeshifting device which allows people to enter into a closer relationship with the things of the world, as well as animals and plants. PA-GA establishes dynamic environments which evolve over time through interaction and sets up a new dialogue on the future of Gaia, the planet we all inhabit.
From the collaboration between BASE and POLI.design comes the Public Program “Progettare la prossimità” (Designing closeness), a recurring event throughout the five nights of Fuorisalone, which will be held at BASE - and also available to stream online - in the shadow of GAIA, Luke Jerram’s art installation dedicated to planet Earth. There will be two debates each day, featuring experts in the field in conversation with teachers from the Department and School of Design at Politecnico di Milano, exploring different perspectives on a range of issues related to the concept of the 15-minute city, including neighbourhood facilities, evolving public spaces, and platforms and economies to promote human-centred urban living.

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