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April 9th kicks of a week filled with head-turning designs and exhibitions at this year's Salone del Mobile in Milan. Over 300,000 visitors from all over the globe come to experience the newest designs and ideas in product, furniture, and interiors. In conjunction with Milan Design Week, Salone del Mobile is one of the most highly anticipated design events of the year. From Muuto to Armani design professionals and enthusiasts flock to Milan to be apart of the conversation and witness upcoming design trends and innovations. 

However, beyond the newest product trends and furniture designs where do architects fit? The event takes place in Milan, a city filled with rich architectural landscapes and history. This year's event even honors the 500th anniversary of Leonardo DaVinci's passing. A pioneer in the arts, science, and architecture an installation by Alessandro Colombo and Davide Rampello create a visual representation of da Vinci's approach to buildings and design. However, within the Salone itself does architecture and discourse make its presence known without teetering over into product and industrial design? 

Below are four architecture studios whose projects make an appearance at this year's event in a big way. 

Beatrice Bonzanigo of IB Studio : Casa Ojalá - Off grid micro mobile homeThe Italian based architect is part of IB Studio which focuses on the rehabilitation of various housing typologies from cityscapes and villas to country farmhouses. At this year's Salone del Mobile Beatrice Bonzanigo of IB Studio presents Casa Ojalá. Her patented micro mobile home design has over 20 design configurations that can be assembled in any location. The design focuses on connecting occupants living in these mobile units to nature, bringing them closer to the natural environment. These homes will be built from locally sourced materials found within each location. According to Bonzanigo "ojalá is a word that summarizes the concept of infinite possibilities, hopes related to emptiness and absence, intuition, a key of a door not yet open, a new field of existence, a telescope that brings together and moves horizons, a space of different possibilities and, therefore, a wish that comes true."

Arthur Mamou-Mani of Mamou-Mani: Conifera - 3D printed installation for COSFrench architect Arthur Mamou-Mani collaborates with fashion brand COS to design an interlocking modular pavilion. Known for his 3D fabrications and parametric designs Mamou-Mani was given the freedom to experiment with current 3D technology to create a different material to print. The architect used polylactic acid, renewable polymers made from glycerine and starch vinegar, and mixed these elements with pulp from Douglas fir trees to create a base filament for the printers. This waterproof material was printed into 700 "truncated pyramids" that were placed throughout the Palazzo Isimbardi. According to Mamou-Mani "Everything has this rectilinearity, and there is also a striking contrast with nature." The project's materiality shifts from a translucent appearance to a solid wood finished color depending on the placement and perspective within the space. 

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Rapt Studio: Tell Me More - Two-part immersive and interactive installationThe Culver City, CA based studio debut's their immersive installation Tell Me More. The project focuses on the spatial and emotional connections individuals can experience within a space. The two-part installation allows guests to enter through two distinctly different spaces which initiate a sense of human interaction and reflection through the form of questions. Individuals first enter through a space filled with luminescent curtains guests can stand within. Once inside individuals reflect on a question previous guests pose during their own experience. These small portals illicit a brief intimate connection "spotlighting intimate conversations." After experiencing the first space guests are guided to a second room which resembles a lounge. There individuals are welcomed by a warm, amber-lit space that helps guests transition from one intimate experience to another. According to Rapt Studio Chief Creative Office and CEO David Galullo, "We envision Tell Me More as a living embodiment of human interaction – an exercise in place-making built on and celebrating connection and conversation. A place for storytelling, with a memory all its own."

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KooZA/rch and (ab)Normal: MICRO TOOLS: The Invisible Synapse - Micro-exhibition KooZA/rch, an online architecture representation platform teams with (ab)Normal to create an elaborate installation. The installation calls for designers to select and display various objects or "memory tools" that inspire them and their design process. Among the contributors were Bureau Spectacular, Andrew Kovacs | Archive of Affinities, and Kosmos Architecture. The installation is part of an ongoing research project in understanding "the process of making" by exploring tools. Colorful, in your face, and perhaps a bit absurd, the team at KooZA/rch explain their goal is "to establish a discourse which goes beyond the tool as extension of the human body but rather asks the *designer to reconsider all that lies beyond the body. Before pen & paper, the micro-tools are the inner software of designers, the “immemori memorie” which subconsciously ignite our designs.

The Salone del Mobile is well underway as it prepares to embark on its third day of exhibitions. Filled with an endless supply of design trends the event will showcase previews of where design and architecture may go this coming year.

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