Because Alcova is the inevitable event in Fuorisalone 2022

On the occasion of Fuorisalone 2022, Alcova returns to the atmospheric abandoned rooms of the Military Hospital Center in Milan with an event not to be missed. Curators Joseph Grima and Valentina Ciuffi explain the secret behind their success.

Silentscape Slalom Exhibition in Alcova for Fuorisalone 2022 – Photo by Mattia Parodi

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Every year, Milan Design Week is enriched with an increasingly full program of interesting and visually striking events. In the sea of ​​appointments, exhibitions, installations and lectures, Alcova has since 2018 established itself as the most fascinating cultural and creative hub in Fuorisalone. And after the success of the special edition of the Supersalon in September 2021, Alcova returns to the atmospheric abandoned rooms of the Military Hospital in Milan in Baggio. with an event that is confirmed not to be missed. We interviewed the curators Joseph Grima And Valentina Ciuffi to understand the secret behind Alcova’s success.

Joseph Grima and Valentina Ciuffi, the founders of Alcova.

Joseph Grima and Valentina Ciuffi, the founders of Alcova.

How was the Alcova project born?

Joseph Grima: In 2017, we started to get the idea of ​​creating a space that could meet our special exhibition needs and that could also interest other creatives. We did not want to work in ugly, depressing, sad places. So we decided to find the most beautiful corner of Milan to make it a platform for people like us who have something to show but can not find space elsewhere.
Valentina Ciuffi: The first location was the former Giovanni Cova panettone factory, hence the name Alcova, which we will take with us wherever we go. The project stems from an ongoing mapping of the city. We never stop looking, even when we already have space. We are helped by a small research team, but usually when we baptize somewhere, it is these times when we are both in the research process. It also happened for the military hospital center in Milan, where Alcova is now taking place. After working in a private space, we had the opportunity to work in a state real estate space for two years, so we’ll have to see if we stay here or move, it’s still a surprise. The Military Hospital in Milan has an incredible relationship between architecture and green. When disused spaces interact with nature in this way, it is usually very much in the Alcova brand.

Fuorisalone 2022, the most beautiful installations in the state of Milan as told by the authors

Alcova at the - Photo by Mattia Parodi

Alcova at the – Photo by Mattia Parodi

How does the selection of exhibitors take place?

Joseph Grima: The process of selecting the exhibited designers and artists is ongoing, it is an ongoing process. We work a lot with word of mouth. We think of Alcova as a community of people who are interested in experimenting, whether they are small independent designers or large companies. If they have an affinity with us in the idea of ​​taking risks and experimenting and doing something new, we are ready to welcome them in this context where they will find others who think alike. This is our metric. It must be of interest to us and be valid.
Valentina Ciuffi: There are never open calls. The choice is made within already existing networks, which are always in the world of modern design, but which are quite complementary because Joseph has a very close relationship with the Academy and museums, while my relationship is much closer to collector design and design companies.

The refractory installation in Alcova - Photo by Mattia Parodi

The refractory installation in Alcova – Photo by Mattia Parodi

Is there a common denominator between the different exhibitors, a common thread that underlies the exhibition?

Joseph Grima: Innovation for sure. The desire to look to the future and never to the past.
Valentina Ciuffi: There is never a theme. Alcova is very diverse. There are many projects that have sustainability at the center of their theme, and at the same time there is part of the research from OMA, involved in the SolidNature project on display, which explores new ways of using marble and marble powder. Their intervention certainly does not aim for sustainability, but there are many ways to recycle marble. For example, we like Water School very much, and it has a completely different approach than SolidNatures. Variation is a fundamental aspect of Alcova.

SolidNature in Alcova - Photo by Mattia Parodi

SolidNature in Alcova – Photo by Mattia Parodi

What is the future of design?

Joseph Grima: Cross-cutting is the trend. When Salone was founded, and then Fuorisalone, design was a much smaller sector. Today, it covers almost all areas and disciplines, and I think it will continue to expand. In general, the design should have as varied a direction as possible. We also recognize that it will not necessarily be an immediate process, and culturally there is still a great need to respond to an already existing request for a different aesthetic register, where, for example, marble can be an important value. However, there are many more projects that look towards a completely new aesthetic with innovative production methods.

MUTHESIUS ACADEMY KIEL - Photo by Mattia Parodi

MUTHESIUS ACADEMY KIEL – Photo by Mattia Parodi

What is the secret behind Alcova’s success?

Valentina Ciuffi: Alcova is a photograph of modern design and can not fail to represent this transversal character of the sector. There are exhibitors like Older, who come from the fashion world, who make furniture from their uniforms. The question could also be: “how is Vandskolen’s research design?”. It’s a design that tells you how to behave and teaches you to behave: in this case, it’s a design that has a very strong pedagogical aspect to the communities that will find themselves living in places, where there is scarcity of water. At the same time, a company like Laufen, which deals with sanitary ware, is exhibiting here, exploring its ability to expose itself to the public in a completely different way. Transversality is everywhere in Alcova.

Laufen x NM3 in Alcova - Photo by Mattia Parodi

Laufen x NM3 in Alcova – Photo by Mattia Parodi

The 5 most beautiful installations by Alcova

Milan Military Hospital Center is a city park with an extraordinary charm and great historical value, developed in more than 20 hectares and consists of a series of pavilions of 1930s surrounded by nature. For Fuorisalone 2022, Alcova confirms itself as a platform capable of telling the evolution of the design world through the display of a selection of talents new and internationally established figures. To give new life forgot historical sites, the exhibition itinerary is broad and articulate, just like the design. Each room, internal or external, is dedicated to a single exhibitor. From this year, the section has also been added, Curated by Alcovadedicated to promoting the proposals of the most interesting talents identified by curators Joseph Grima (founder of Space Caviar) and Valentina Ciuffi (founder of Studio Vedèt).

The house of Lyria in Alcova - Picture of Mattia Parodi

The house of Lyria in Alcova – Picture of Mattia Parodi

The most suggestive installation, inside Alcova’s already full of charm, was created by the set designer Alessia Anfusowho in 2016 won David di Donatello for the film Lo cunto de li Cunti di Matteo Garrone. The work presents The house Lyria company from the Italian textile industry, founded by Riccardo Bruni in Prato to create vibrant, unique, timeless fabrics. The immersive space created by NM3 x RUNNING which is the result of the collaboration between the two realities united by the search for high quality products, craftsmanship and experimentation.

The Caffé Populaire by Lambert & Fils' in collaboration with Superflower at Alcova 2022 Photo by Arseni Khamzin

The Caffé Populaire by Lambert & Fils’ in collaboration with Superflower at Alcova 2022 Photo by Arseni Khamzin

Lambert & Fils’in cooperation with Super flowerthey recreated Popular coffee for the second year in the garden of the former military hospital in Baggio, next to the center’s temple. The installation includes a cozy table. realized by DWA Design Studio in Milan, where nature with magnificent wild flowers frames the various moments of relaxation and consumption in Alcova’s outdoor space. The creative director of Slalom, Isabella Del Grandiuses the company’s sound-absorbing materials to create the installation “Silentscape”: A colorful space with soft surfaces and textures immerses the visitor in the quiet world of slalom.

Nicolò Castellini Baldissera at Casa degli Atellani in Milan - Photo by Roberta Dalla Bona

Nicolò Castellini Baldissera at Casa degli Atellani in Milan – Photo by Roberta Dalla Bona

Casa degli Atellani, a historic Milanese residence, relives Alcova’s space thanks to the collection Portaluppi Herbariumconceived by Nicolò Castellini Baldisseragrandson of the architect Piero Portaluppiin cooperation with Pictalabwhich transforms the garden room of the Casa degli Atellani in Corso Magenta in Milan, the frescoes of Portaluppi, into precious wallpaper.

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