And lo, on the fourth day, we were really tired. 

The long haul back to the Salone fairgrounds was not possible on legs worn out from the previous two days of pavilion-hopping—to say nothing of the previous two nights of party-hopping. The habit among the young design crowd during the fair is to dine late and then wind up at the famed Bar Basso in the Città Studi neighborhood, a nightspot so crowded during the Salone that most people just stand around outside in the traffic circle. Fun, but fatiguing. 

Instead of returning to Rho, we wandered back into the Zona Tortona to see more of the Fuori Salone shows. We were not disappointed. The Superstudio Più Temporary Museum for New Design was even larger and richer than we’d surmised when we saw it during the preview. The nationally- and regionally-themed booths gave an interesting insight into the cultural climates of very different countries: take, for example, the comfy-classy style of Swedish firm Färg & Blanche’s F-A-B Chair, as compared to the dark and mysterious (and un-photographable, alas) fireplace installation from Poland’s Dorota Koziara. Not only that, but there was Superstudio’s freedomDesign exhibition several blocks away, featuring an even more offbeat grab-bag of product makers from around the world. For the kids, there was Junghye Yoon’s colorful Honeydew Rabbit chairs, definitely the most huggable design we’ve seen yet; for grownups, there was the equally eccentric Glamour Beetle by Andrea Colombo for Zac Glamour Design, comprising the front end of a VW bug in collision with a baroque fauteuil. 

There was, of course, the typical holiday atmosphere on the streets of the Zona, with assorted design folk dressed in costume and pressing into our hands strange little cartes de visite. Interestingly, however, unlike last year—when the blitz of Salone made it seem like only the truly whacky was bound to stand out—this year it was the quietest moment that seemed to speak loudest. Included in the New Dutch Design expo was a modest dish-and-candleholder assemblage, the Light Bowl, from firm Tweelink. Simple, clear, un-fabulous. We looked on it, and saw that it was good. And we rested.