01 January 2021
We Love Milano
by Michele Falcone — Illustration by Anna Higgie for Living
Living Magazine, Italy selected its top creative 5 inhabitants to talk about life living in the Italian city.
Do you remember your first time at the Salone del Mobile?
Sure. It was 1996 and we had a budget of 2,000 Dutch guilders (around 900 euros). We had to create an installation for Droog Design in an exhibition area of 150 square meters. All in a few nights. We slept on the exposed furniture, and the next day we couldn’t even get up.
This year the design week was canceled due to Covid.
In reality I didn’t notice, because my son was born the week in which the Salone was supposed to be held. In the end the timing was absolutely perfect, the whole world stopped at the exact moment we needed to take a break.
It seems a bit creepy to walk around the Monumental Cemetery, but it is the most beautiful sculptural space I have ever seen in my life. There are real architectural masterpieces
There are other design fairs, right?
Let’s not joke, they don’t count for anything, they sail in the wake of Milan’s success. There is only one design week in the world and it is the Salone del Mobile, the rest are just local advertising and commercial stunts. Like the one in Helsinki defined as ‘the most prestigious in Northern Europe’, but never mind! Business is done in Milan. It is a city that works, in constant ferment, where you find artists, directors, actors. What makes it unique is the sum of this creative energy. And then all the most famous names in design have been there, and many of them were born right here. It has such a prestigious history behind it that it will always remain the reference city in the sector. Who do you want to undermine her?
What was it like working at home?
In fact, I’ve been doing this for about five years. I have been using digital highways for a long time, they give me a lot of freedom. We don’t need to go anywhere, using WhatsApp we have everything we need to share ideas and create a project or product. I always thought this was the best way to work. Every now and then I wonder if Covid has really been a positive inspiration for someone or if it will not end up just misleading some students, leading them to deal with short-term issues, to work on virus-proof masks and surfaces.
The place not to be missed.
We should take a walk to the Monumental Cemetery, it seems a bit creepy but it is the most beautiful sculptural space I have ever seen in my life. Italians take their graves very seriously, and there are true architectural masterpieces there.
Is the city still missing something to make it more international?
Knowledge of English, but I think it is an Italian fact. In recent years, things have changed: more and more young people speak English and many more foreigners have chosen to live here. I have been working there for more than twenty years, after fifteen in Antwerp, and it is here that for the first time I really felt like I had found a home. Quite rare for a globetrotter like me.
Job Smeets (Hamont-Achel, 1969).
Belgian designer, founder of Studio Job in 1998, he has created irreverent pieces of art and design, such as those for Gufram, Seletti, Viktor & Rolf and the singer and friend Mika. After living in Antwerp, in 2019 he moved to Milan where he lives and works in the Porta Venezia area with his partner Rebecca and little Elvis.