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Milan Design Week: Past and Present

In early April, as spring emerges and everything awakens, animals come, plants sprout, and people embark on work and life with high hopes for the year ahead. It is a time when inspiration flows like melting spring water. The designers at grado seize this opportune moment to initiate new designs, tirelessly nurturing fresh ideas and transforming them into tangible furniture pieces. We also look forward to sharing their inspiration with a wider audience. The upcoming Milan exhibition awaits the grado as we journey towards this prestigious event.  


Milan, known as the world’s fashion and design capital, is the birthplace of half of the world’s luxury brands and exerts a significant influence on global fashion through events like Milan Fashion Week. Beyond fashion, Milan is also the venue for other major international events and exhibitions, such as Milan Design Week and the Milan International Film Festival. Milan Design Week, also known as Milan Furniture Fair or Milano Salone, is the largest exhibition of its kind in the world. This exhibition showcases the latest furniture and designs around the globe, attracting countless designers, design studios, and furniture companies. Established in 1961, Milan Design Week takes place annually, typically in April, and has evolved from a local exhibition to an international event. The 2024 Milan Design Week will be held from April 16th to 21st.  


grado established its CONTRACT production line in 2018, providing solutions for public areas such as offices. As the pandemic took hold at the end of 2019, leading to lockdowns worldwide, grado recognized the growing demand for enhancing home living spaces to improve quality of life. Consequently, in 2020 and 2022, we launched the Living and Decor production lines, catering to decoration solutions for private areas such as homes. Originally as a design studio, grado’s founder and design team have been recognized by multiple international awards including the Red Dot Award and the German Design Award. During the same period, the 2020 Design Week in Milan was canceled, and the 2022 event was postponed. Finally, in 2023, as the pandemic gradually subsided, we successfully participated in the Milan Design Week.  


As a startup company, grado was impacted by the pandemic shortly after its establishment. However, instead of yielding or standing still, we identified new demands emerging from the pandemic. With bold moves, we established new production lines to create designs that truly meet contemporary needs, aiming to serve millions of households with our designs. It’s undeniably challenging to move forward against the current, but we embrace this challenge with fervor for original design. We listen to our customers’ voices and act on their feedback. Participating in the Milan Design Week, thousands of miles away, demanded substantial effort and resources. Yet, we fear neither hardship nor exhaustion. This prestigious event provided us with the opportunity to introduce ourselves and engage with others. The significance of this original furniture gathering is immeasurable. One solid step at a time, we are committed to making the originality take root like seeds in the fertile soil and flourish, stretching as far as the eye can see.


Last year marked our first participation in the Milan Design Exhibition after pandemic. Considering the world and our company were both recovering from the pandemic, we chose the exhibition theme “Lost and Found, Norm and New” to symbolize this rejuvenation. The exhibition featured products from our CONTRACT, Living, and Decor production lines, conveying grado’s understanding of work and lifestyle, and how we explore the connections between people, space, and furniture.  


This year, our theme is “lightness,” aiming to convey the idea of doing spiritual subtraction to maintain a sense of lightness. Creating a clean, minimalist, and quality living environment contributes to this spiritual subtraction. The exhibited products will come from the Living and Decor product lines. Outside the exhibition hall, a giant balloon will be suspended, showcasing one of the products winning the German Design Award: the Hippo Pouf, which aims to raise awareness about the importance of addressing drought and encourages people to engage in practices that improve ecological conditions. Further elaboration on grado’s interpretation of lightness will be presented by products and their introductions.  


Looking forward to meeting at the 2024 Milan Design Week. Same place. See you there!