ISOLA DESIGN FESTIVAL: Nothing Happens, if Nothing Happens.

The 7th edition of Isola Design Festival, organized by the digital and physical design platform Isola, will welcome visitors during Milan Design Week, from 18 to 23 April 2023. Multiple venues within and beyond the Isola Design District will host more than 25 exhibitions and installations, lively events and a series of talks, involving over 200 international designers, design studios, creators, and manufacturers.

On Thursday, 16 March 2023, from 16:00 to 18:00 at Monkey47 — Pernod Ricard Italia HQ (Via Gaetano de Castillia 23, Milan), Isola will hold the Press Conference to unveil the full programme of Isola Design Festival 2023.

After an intense year of design initiatives that brought together Isola’s global design community in Milan, in Eindhoven during the Dutch Design Week, and at Dubai Design Week, the event with the 2023 theme “Nothing Happens if Nothing Happens” delves into the realm of regeneration, by making it the focus of its forthcoming edition, during Milan Design Week 2023.

The founders call on all designers and studios to start a chain reaction of change to rethink, regenerate, and remediate, to come together and go beyond sustainable design thinking to make something positive happen. They explain the theme through a clear manifestoand call to action, aimed at all members of their community to think beyond the mere concept of sustainability:

What has happened? Earth is deteriorating. Humans have progressively used and consumed our planet’s natural resources while leaving a giant, hollow footprint.

What have we done? Countless solutions have been proposed. Within the design community, focus has shifted towards sustainable and circular design, to reinventing outdated processes. But designing sustainably means actions, not just words, restoring hope for new generations.

What can happen? We must shape new guidelines for the design industry by rethinking the processes and production systems, regenerating natural resour- ces and waste, and remediating the harm we have done to our planet. The next step must be taken now, because Nothing Happens if Nothing Happens.

“This year we want to arouse creativity through the exhibitions we host and curate. Isola Design Festival will be the hub for new, collectible, circular, sustainable, and innovative design. Our effort is to rally all members of the design community, visitors and designers alike, to actually make something happen.”

– Elif Resitoglu, co-founder of Isola with Gabriele Cavallaro.

Collective exhibitions, special collaborations and events will invigorate the district in parallel with six shows curated by the Isola creative team and guest curators:

Circolare – The Circular Village, at Regione Lombardia, with the layout designed by Amsterdam based Studio MAST, is the biggest circular exhibition ever seen at Milan Design Week, showcasing materials and products made with natural resources or industrial waste, with a minimum environmental impact in terms of production;

Tools & Crafts, at Fondazione Catella, hosts young talents and a new genera- tion of artisans who use traditional tools and techniques to create contemporary products;

Take Care! Of your mind, body, and environment, sponsored by Monkey 47 at Stecca3, is an immersive exhibit curated by Tellurico and promoting projects that focus on individuals’ well-being. With part of the scenography designed in collaboration with Stephanie Blanchard (co-founder of IAMMI Studio),

Isola Design Gallery, at Pastrengo 14, celebrates handmade and collectible pieces made by independent designers and studios, including The Dutch Corner curated by Wisse Trooster.

Under Design Lebanon, curated by Ghassan Salameh, in collaboration with BitsToAtoms and hosted by the association VIAFARINI at via Farini 35, highlights how small-scale design and craft can be crucial for the micro-economy of a country.

Lastly, Isola enlarges its borders reaching a new area of Milan, the Certosa District: here, in collaboration with DesignTech and DesignWanted, it curates Innovation for Living, an exhibition hosted in a 3.000sqm industrial space and dedicated to industrial design and technology, with a layout designed by Pininfarina Architecture.

Moreover, Isola joins forces with institutions, academies, design collectives and studios to engage visitors with various design interventions scattered around the Isola Design District. Among others, Belgian pavilion, curated by designers Joris Verstrepen and Timon Mattelaer at Via Cola Montano 13; Belonging: A Modern Fairytale, by Social Label, and the Japanese collective New Normal, New Standard, at via Pastrengo; Bestiario by KeepLife and The Art of Possibility by Portugal Ceramics at ZonaK; Designed in Montenegro by DAA Montenegro at Key Gallery; Freed Curators Club by software startup Lyla Design and 3D printer manufacturer Ginger Additive at via Confalonieri 11; Sottocassa by Paolo Marasi at Spaces; and VARIETÀ! by Quasar Institute for Advanced Design Roma at Zetalab.

Between the studios and galleries already located in the neighborhood, it will be possible to visit Bota Fogo Ceramica with Águas de março and IsolaDesignStudio with The Botanical Loft, at via Farini; Green Island at Stazione Garibaldi with an installation by Antonio Scarponi; Fonderia Napoleonica Eugenia, with a project by BUROMILAN; and Galleria Angelo della Pergola 1.

For the design of public spaces in the district, Isola will partner up with gin brand Monkey 47, main sponsor of the event, for a series of anti-pollution murals in the district, and a kiosk in the shade of the Bosco Verticale where to taste gin tonics and play games, hosting daily concerts and events; with BRITA, global leader in water filtration and personalization for over 50 years, for Reimagine your future!, an immersive experience about water and taste hosted at Fondazione Catella; and with Campari Soda for a massive bar installation at Stecca3, in front of the Biblioteca degli Alberi, where a staircase mural, inspired by the brand iconic shape, will be designed by a group of graphic design students from ISIA Urbino under the supervision of Marco Tortoioli Ricci. Here every day until midnight talks, concerts, and DJ sets will take place.

About Isola Design

Isola is the world’s first digital and physical platform bringing visibility to independent designers and design studios, by connecting them to design professionals, companies, curators, journalists, and potential clients. Its dedicated curatorial team selects projects with a focus on sustainability, innovation, and handcraft.

Isola also organizes various in-person events under the umbrella of Isola Design Festival, which takes place throughout the year, during Milan Design Week, Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven (Netherlands), and recently Down- town Design in Dubai, hosting dozens of exhibitions, hundreds of exhibi- tors, and thousands of visitors. Founded in 2017 in Milan, Isola Design District immediately became one of the main official areas of the Milan Design Week, with special attention to international and emerging designers. Since 2019, Isola Design District has also participated in the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, becoming the first Italian design district to participate in a foreign event. Isola Design District expanded their border even further in 2022, when for the first time they took a curated group of designers to the United Arab Emirates for Downtown Design during Dubai Design Week.

Launched in 2021 with more than 850 designers from 65+ countries and 1,400+ projects published, Isola offers a community for creative people around the globe through its digital platform, with dedicated profiles and portfolio pages. The digital platform aims to spark direct community  interactions, discussions, and the sharing of expertise.


WHEN 18 — 23 April 2023

WHERE Isola Design District



EVENT PARTNERS BitsToAtoms, DesignTech, DesignWanted, Fiction Factory, Green Island, IAMMI Studio, Interface, La Casa in Ordine, MAST Studio, Nederlandse consulaat generaal Milaan, Pyrasied, Regione Lombardia, Stephanie Blanchard, The Good Plastic Company, WasteCraft.

Fotocredits: Fabiola Skarqi, Salvatore Pollara, Fabiola Catalano, Nicolo Bressan