Milan’s Narcistic Fair

One week a year Milan is occupied by thousands of (would be) designers. The Salone del Mobile attracts everyone who is in some way related to creation in the broadest sense: communication, fashion, food, wine, jewelry, furniture, lamps, packaging, photography, sculpture and what have you. Hotel rates and menu’s double in price during this glorious week, but nobody seems to care. All rooms are booked, all tables reserved. Most visitors come for each other, not for the shows, exhibitions, lectures and experiences. Sitting on a terrace and watching the rest stroll by. Great fun. Partying and wining and dining is inherent to Milan, like tomato sauce to spaghetti. Negroni, Campari, Americano, Prosecco: one can only close one’s eyes and dream-travel in a Maserati or Riva boat wearing Alaya sandals (1500.- euro, Corso Como 10) or Prada sneakers (1200.- euro). What is the superlative of beautiful? Bellississimo?

As an observer I just wondered: who is paying for all this? Or better: what is the comercial basis for so much narcistic self confidence? I mean, this is 2011 and the world is suppose to WORRY, to be SCARED. I know how it works in Holland: subsidies is the answer to how and why. Even if these have diminished, there is still enough for thousands of Dutch designers to sit on a Milanese terrace. But how can creative souls from countries like Brazil and China afford it? From Italy and Japan? But then, I was just a worried bourgeois who asks uncomfortable questions to very comfortable artists. I was spoiling the party. So I took a Negroni myself and wondered how I can become a designer.

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