There are a few things you can be sure of when Design Week comes in Milan: 1) it is going to rain all week long 2) few people really care about design, furniture and lamps – most of the them are only interested in the Fuorisalone.  What is Fuorisalone? It means parties, appetizers and free drinks, gadgets, and crowds of people in the streets of Tortona and Brera, two of Milan’s famous districts. Apart from design and parties, one of the highlights of the Fuorisalone is the guerrilla marketing that goes on.  Every brand interested in good promotion wants to be involved in Design Week and guerrilla marketing is the best way to get visibility there.

Save the mojito!

 

This year for example, I really loved the idea of a famous rum brand: they put together a special five-wheel bike that carried a travelling garden of mint plants. The aim was to suggest ways to make an excellent homemade Mojito.  In fact the hostesses were giving out mint seeds in cans. I took one, of course!

 

Mint plants from Havana Club

 

The approach of a car brand was to organize guerrilla gardening in collaboration with the Australian creative, blogger and gardener Steve Wheel.  He created miniature gardens that filled potholes in Milan’s streets and footpaths.

 

Guerrilla gardening by Steve Wheel, The Pothole Gardener

 

And last but not the least, my personal top three includes the idea of a group of young designers called the Design Bitches.  These young professionals dressed up like butchers and invited people to take pictures with them while holding cardboard pigs and salami, in order to denounce the fact that they feel exploited by their profession and treated like pigs. They have been raised on excellent Design Farms where they grow free and are fed with false expectations and job promises. The project for this Design Week has been called “Design Bitchery, a design butchery” and I think it’s a great idea that is both cynical and engaging.

 

Designers are like pigs: nothing gets thrown away!

 

Creativity is not dead yet. Though personally I believe it’s more alive in marketing than in design…

 

 

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