A staple in the design calendar, Milan Design Week returned for 2022. One specific exhibition that caught our attention was Alcova, curated by Valentina Ciuffi and Joseph Grima, which brought together a range of different designers and brands.
Alcova takes place in an abandoned military hospital, reading this, you likely have conjured an image of a building that is stark and eerie, but this is not the case. The building's interiors delight with beautifully tiled floors, walls that embrace the peeling paint and ornate windows and doors that could be mistaken for a Milanese villa.
The building sets the scene for a series of thought-provoking and aesthetic installations that cover mental health, cultural identity and the climate emergency. All of the installations have experimentation at the heart of their development; rather than design for design's sake.
‘Confession’ by design studio Tableau and therapeutic clinic Post Service looks at men’s mental health through the lens of art and design. Cultural identity is explored in ‘This is America’ where stereotypes around the identity of American designers are exposed. Climate is addressed with ‘The Solar Energy Kiosk’ by Het Nieuwe Instituut, with a joyful pop-up designed by Rotterdam-based design studio Cream on Chrome.
The exhibition is dense, beautiful and exciting. Alcova takes Milan Design Week to a pace beyond just aesthetics and into how we can use design as a messenger and vehicle for change.