Milan in April is a magic place. Where else can you run into Olivier Rousteing, creative director of French fashion house Balmain, and then Marcel Wanders, the Dutch designer who created the Knotted Chair? Milan Design Week is that sort of event.
Known for its fashion influence, the city has established itself as a wider design capital with design week, encompassing the acclaimed Salone del Mobile. The international furniture fair dates to 1961 and is now a must-attend on the global design calendar. Originally, Italian furniture brands showcased their house collections, but the fair has evolved into the world's design party where global creatives from the fields of architecture, interior design and product design gather to exhibit and exchange ideas. André Fu arrived from Hong Kong to officially unveil his Ribbon Dance chair, designed for Louis Vuitton's Objets Nomade collection. In early April he created a space – or an "abstract scenography", according to the designer himself – in Hong Kong's Central to showcase the brand's furniture collection that is created by a group of some of the world's most sought-after designers, including Milan-based Patricia Urquiola.
Spanning more than seven days, the design week took over the entire city. It featured a public exhibition celebrating Milanese architecture from the 1930s in the city's busiest Monte Napoleone District; talks hosted by young design students in Isola; celebrity-frequented parties in the Brera Design District; and an open-house visit to architect Osvaldo Borsani's modernist villa on the outskirts of the city. These were just a few of the events. What happened in the Italian city is one of the most encouraging things that I have witnessed – design for everyone rather than designers alone.
While this issue was conceived in high Italian spirits, we also look at Beijing, where Sichuan-based architect Liu Jiakun has designed the Serpentine Galleries' first overseas pavilion, located next to the Forbidden City. Liu borrowed inspiration from traditional Chinese archery for the London art institution's pop-up in China, conveying the power and tension of architecture in balance. It will open to the public in Beijing this month.
This issue is also dedicated to travel, because we at Perspective, as well as the six designers profiled, believe fresh perspectives are important to inspire and to be inspired. As French novelist Marcel Proust wrote, "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."