Visiting Milan design week 2016 with Marshall McLuhan

In the frenzy of the world’s biggest furniture fair, GIANLUIGI RICUPERATI smashes together a visual report with quotes from Marshall McLuhan.

In the middle of Milan design week’s path, I left the noise of invitations and taxi and queues, handshakes and strolls, and came back to my room, where Marshall McLuhan’s Unbound – as beautiful and wise as ever – furnished my Salone Del Mobile memories with old-new illuminations. I used the Layout Instagram app to associate these iPhone pictures with McLuhan’s quotes, adding a descriptive caption for each new montage.

We’re never alive, especially when left alone in the crowd and the smog of furniture pieces.

We only live through books.

Salone intro
A set of invites on the left, and a copy of Marshall McLuhan's Unbound essay collection on the right.
A Palazzo Clerici dinner in honour of the super exciting Automated Kitchen Tables designed by Kram & Weisshaar for Sapienstone, and an excerpt from Myth and Mass Media, published on 'Daedalus' in 1959.
Salone del Mobile 2
An excerpt from American Advertising, 1947, above, and a three-lamp panorama from the enchanting and warm interior designed by Dimore.
Salone del Mobile 3
From Notes on the Media as Art Forms, 1954, and a detail from the absolutely necessary presence of print books in the context of the design week, at the Offprint hall, brought to Milan by Luma Foundation.
Salone Del Mobile 2016 4
From 'Culture without Literacy', 1953. A top-bottom vision of the inaugural official dinner table of the Salone Del Mobile 2016, held at former factory space Ansaldo.
Salone Del Mobile 5
From 'The relation of environment to anti-environmental', 1966. The Fondazione Prada tower is almost completed. There is clearly a pre-Fondazione Milan design week and a post-one.
Salone Del Mobile 5
From The Argument: Causality in the Electric World, 1973, and Stefania Fersini's fake mirror, installed in one of the obligatory passages in the Salone Del Mobile: Fornasetti's house. An apartment filled with the founder's obsessive decorativism, it is one of the most enthralling novelties of this year: design piece, art intervention, virtuoso painting anamorphosis and Instagram-era visual token.
Salone Del Mobile 6
A collective movement from The Wandering School, an education and activist experiment held in the squat of Macao, in a Milano office building, where radical politics manifestations agitated the conscience of the left in the last years, over a quote from Inside Blake and Hollywood, written in 1947.
Salone Del Mobile 7
Hans-Ulrich Obrist visiting the Nike 'Natural Motion' exhibition, in via Orobia 15, in front of the drums crafted by Martino Gamper. From At The Moment of Sputnik The Planet Became A Global Theater in Which There Are No Spectators But Only Actors, 1964.

Gianluigi Ricuperati is an author and the creative director of Domus Academy. He discussed the self-driving car in 032c Issue 28.