Ian Volner

You walk into a room and there is a large, faintly midcentury sofa, a rather overgrown potted palm looming over it, some tasteful paper lanterns hanging above it all and—in the middle of the floor, knuckled squarely and quite comfortably—a gorilla.

The gorilla, of course, is fake (as if that somehow makes more sense). And that’s about all there is, except for a number of signs warning you that the installation is not yet complete and that Leclettico, the Milan gallery at which this event is taking place, was responsible for organizing the entire sequence of Fuorisalone exhibitions—including ones by Lee Broom and manufacturer SCP—and was therefore running a little late with its own. They needn’t have worried: The disorientation and general sense of a world gone made is so pervasive during the temporary cultural disaster area that is the Salone del Mobile that nothing, really, seems all that out of place.

Marcel Wanders' textile, Digital Glow, for Moooi.
Ian Volner Marcel Wanders' textile, Digital Glow, for Moooi.
Moooi at Salone.
Ian Volner Moooi at Salone.

In the Zona Tortona, Lexus sponsored a show called “A Journey of the Senses,” co-curated by designer Philippe Nigro and chef Hajime Yoneda. There, visitors wandered through a maze of light-and-sound installations accompanied by a tasting menu that included something that seemed a great deal like Pop Rocks but that, one was told, was meant to evoke “the feeling of rain.” At the Moooi space nearby, Marcel Wanders was explaining that he’s contemplating a move to San Francisco, but that he “wouldn’t commit” just yet: the maestro of Dutch design is currently living in a modest Airbnb somewhere near the Golden Gate Bridge. And later, at a dinner for stone workshop Caesarstone, designer Philippe Malouin ​was talking about surfing near Santa Cruz, Calif., while his guests ran into the kitchen at intervals to huff helium from a balloon-inflating device and speak in German to one another.

Benvenuti a Milano. It’s going to be a good week.