If you’re thirsty for inspiration, Milan has no shortage of museums and galleries filled with art, architecture, design, and curious objects to spark your imagination. Whether you’re looking to furnish your home or entertain your eyes and mind, these spots will appease your interests.
There were many events held at these locations for Milan Design Week, creating new perspectives to engage within their spaces.
Best Galleries and Museums in Milan
MUDEC museum opened in 2015 in dedication to world cultures. Inside, 17,000 square meters allow ample room for cultural events, rotating exhibitions, permanent collections, a bistrot, a restaurant, a design store, educational facilities, and an auditorium. Past exhibits have featured Kandinsky, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Homo Sapiens and Human Evolution, and Joan Miró. The complex is set on a former industrial plant in Porta Genova.
Frida Kahlo – Beyond the Myth
Ancestor’s Dream – Mexican Archaeology in Frida Kahlo’s Art and Life
Once We Were Headhunters – Rituals, life, and art of Asmat people
Permanent Collection – Objects of Encounter
Photo Credit: MUDEC
Photo Credit: Yellow Break
Photo Credit: MUDEC
Photo Credit: MUDEC
2. La Triennale
Triennale Design Museum opened in 2007 to showcase Italian Design. The building in Parco Sempione was designed by Giovanni Muzio in the ‘30’s as a museum and exhibition space. Stefano Boeri (architect of Bosco Verticale & more) was recently appointed as President of La Triennale di Milano. Past exhibitions have included Design for Children, Women in Italian Design, Kitchens & Invaders, Design: The syndrome of Influence, Dream Factories, and the 7 Obsessions of Italian Design.
Some current exhibits include:
Photo Credit: La Triennale di Milano
DIMORESTUDIO is an interiors company set in an 18th century palazzo housing their offices and gallery space, DIMOREGALLERY. Britt Moran and Emiliano Salci founded DIMORESTUDIO in 2003, which interlaces art, design, fashion, and architecture to create atmospheres, objects, and collaborations ranging from hotels & restaurants to residential, and retail.
Photo Credit: Mai Linh
Photo Credit: Silvia Rivoltella – Ceresio7 Milan
Photo Credit: Andrea Pisapia – Hermès Maison Showroom Milan
The DIMOREGALLERY is described as “a home, a journey, an experience, a dialogue between past and present.” DIMORESTUDIO presented three exhibits for Milan Design Week 2018, including ‘Transfer: an emotive installation dedicated to masters of 20th century design’ at DIMOREGALLERY, which displayed different scenes in tents featuring pieces by Carlo Mollino, Gio Ponti, Charlotte Perriand, and more.
Photo Credit: Silvia Rivoltella
Photo Credit: Davide Buscaglia – ‘Oggetti’ at DIMORESTUDIO
While Nilufar was founded in 1979, it wasn’t until 2015’s Salone del Mobile that Nina Yashar opened the doors to her new showroom, Nilufar Depot. Three floors of contemporary and vintage furniture and lighting. The space is structured simply to allow the eyes to focus on the treasure trove curated by Nina. Her inspiration along with Massimiliano Locatelli was Teatro alla Scala, so it’s no wonder they took a set design approach to the layout of the furniture and other objects.
Photo Credit: Nilufar
Photo Credit: Amendolagine Barracchia – “Lina Bo Bardi & Giancarlo Palanti – Studio d’arte Palma, 1948-1951”
“My aesthetic sense is like my personality in that it is in constant evolution, it changes with my life and my work.” – Nina Yashar
Photo Credit: mattia iotti
Photo Credit: mattia iotti – Chez Nina by India Mahdavi
There’s always something interesting at Galleria Carla Sozzani. Since opening in 1990, the gallery has hosted exhibitions by Bruce Weber, Paolo Roversi, Helmut Newton, Dora Maar, Annie Leibovitz, and so many more. Photography is the main feature in this space, which was converted from an industrial building located at 10 Corso Como, but there are also exhibits on architecture, fashion, and design. I have found the gallery acts as art itself, moving from a blank white canvas and filling its walls with color, transforming the walls to be adorned with photography and art.
Heinz Hajek-Halke – ‘Lichtgrafik’
Kris Ruhs – ‘Wave After Wave’
Paolo Roversi – ‘Incontri’
Gio Ponti – ‘Domus 90.’
Plus, there’s always the 10 Corso Como Design Bookshop to browse an amazing array of books as well as international fashion and lifestyle magazines.
Photo Credit: Galleria Carla Sozzani
She doesn’t like the title trendsetter (which seems to be a trend in itself these days), but Roasanna Orlandi has encouraged many young designers and trends through collaborations and promotions throughout her career. The gallery space opened in 2002 to feature her own curations on design and lifestyle. Like Rosanna herself, the space is not traditional. It has an open courtyard for events and socializing, as well as a showroom, retail store, office, etc.
Photo Credit: Tatiana Uzlova
Photo Credit: Rossana Orlandi – Sè Collection MDW 2017
She also has a Summer Gallery in Porto Cervo, Sardegna.
Photo Credit: Rossana Orlandi – Summer Gallery Porto Cervo 2017
For MDW this year, her gallery hosted an installation of technology in daily life with Google hardware for the home, entitled “Softwear”, curated by trend forecaster Li Edelkoort.
Photo Credit: Cool Hunting
Photo Credit: Wallpaper
The Brera Art Gallery or Pinacoteca di Brera has a stunning collection of paintings from Italian masters such as Caravaggio and Raphael. It was created alongside the Academy of Fine Arts. While it’s ideal to view these in person, there is a virtual tour online.
The location also has the beautiful Brera Botanical Garden, which is filled with herbs, wildflowers, and vegetables.
Photo Credit: Pinacoteca di Brera
During MDW, Pinacoteca di Brera hosted Panasonic’s “Air Inventions” installation winning BEST TECHNOLOGY at Milan Design Award 2018. The exhibition was included in Elisabetta’s preview of Brera Design District. Watch more about the installation here.
Photo Credit: Panasonic
The Brera Botanical Garden participated with Interni House in Motion exhibit.
Photo Credit: Grace Davin
Enter this museum for a delightfully unique experience. The historic house is filled with collections from adventurous brothers and Barons Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi. Wander the library, arms gallery, study, dining room, atrium, and a dozen more to discover sculptures, paintings, European Renaissance weapons, armor, textiles, Italian Renaissance decorative arts and paintings. There’s also a virtual tour.
Photo Credit: Kohler
The museum has celebrated MDW in the past with temporary exhibits, such as Rosanna Orlandi in 2013. This year, Kohler (kitchen and bathroom product design and manufacturer) set up an exhibition in three rooms of the mansion entitled ‘MAXIMIN: Modernist Expression’, displaying a mixture of maximalist and minimalist products staged in harmony alongside the historic surroundings.
Photo Credit: Kohler