What Milan Design Week reminded me about creativity

In early April 2014, the airports of Milan were flooded with people who were arriving for and departing from Milan Design Week; the largest trade fair show dedicated to design. I was fortunate enough to be one of these people as I flew out over the weekend to check out Fuori Salone.

It wasn’t my first time in Milan but my first time at this event and I was beyond impressed. Innovative. Practical. Sustainable. Avant-Garde. Each exhibit had its own distinct personality and it was evident that great thought went into each concept. One of my favourite displays was by the quirky Dutch brand Moooi who incorporated enlarged high-resolution photographs of vacant yet impressionable rooms to surround each of their furniture installations.

More than the furniture, I was in awe of the technology from testing out Oculus Rift to seeing the variable uses of 3D printing. Tokyo Imagine was a particular highlight in this area with a standout for me being a presentation led by two media art companies TeamLab and Rhizomatiks. Participants of all ages were invited to colour in different types of ocean animals on a piece of paper, hand it in to be scanned and watch it come to life on a big screen. Unashamed to admit, I was right there with the eleven-year-olds who were eagerly searching for their fish in the vast ocean that we all had a part in creating.

Over the course of this weekend, I kept thinking back to a creative training session I had at my PR agency. One of our facilitators left an impression on me when she reminded us of how when we were children, we didn’t see paper as just paper, as we often do now as adults. Instead, we saw paper as a plane or as a boat and that’s the type of creativity we need to continue to feed. Milan Design Week fuels this creativity and there is a great importance in that. I now truly understand that a piece of paper is not just a piece of paper; it can also be a vast ocean.

xx ShE

Note: I originally wrote this blog post last April here.

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