Now Reading
Local yet Global: Visit the Alcova and Columbus exhibitions in Milan and Columbus, Indiana

Local yet Global: Visit the Alcova and Columbus exhibitions in Milan and Columbus, Indiana

How can we intersect local heritage with the global agenda of contemporary design, architecture, and culture? Two exhibitions that explore this subject will be open to the public during September. The itinerant platform Alcova will operate in Milan during the Salone del Mobile, utilizing three inactive historical buildings as venues for design exhibitions and permorfative activities. Simultaneously in Columbus, Indiana, Exhibit Columbus unfolds across the city as a symposium and exhibition cycle up until November 12th


Alcova is a platform for independent design developed by Space Caviar and Studio Vedèt. Currently operating as an itinerant network of exhibition spaces across multiple sites in and around Milan, it activates forgotten locations of historical significance, temporarily recasting them as venues for performative activities. Characterized by the variety of the ideas and themes converging in its displays, capturing a snapshot of a rapidly evolving world, the 2021 venue will operate between September 4th and September 12th

During Salone del Mobile 2018, Alcova materialized as a six-day event in the former panettone factory of G. Cova & Co., temporarily transforming it into a platform for designers, institutions, galleries, and companies working at the avant-garde of themes such as contemporary living, design culture, materials, and technological innovation. The 3,000 sqm site –partly taken over by plants and vegetation, and preserved in a state of semi-abandonment– was intensely programmed for the event’s duration involving over a dozen partners from many countries. The site was visited by over 30,000 people over six days.

In 2019, the platform occupied two sites for the duration of Design Week that worked as simultaneous exhibitions, Alcova and Alcova SassetiAlcova was located in the former panettone factory of Giovanni Cova & Co., in the north of Loreto, an ex-industrial space. Alcova Sassetti, organized in collaboration with Alice Stori Liechtenstein and Fondazione Kenta, functioned in a former cashmere factory in Isola perfectly preserved in its original condition since the 1930s.

This year, Alcova will open to the public another Milanese site just a few steps away from the Inganni metro station. Three historical buildings are immersed in a large urban park, including large indoor and outdoor spaces with over 50 exhibitors, with independent designers, innovative brands, galleries, cultural institutions, and companies.

Casa delle Suore / ph. Delfino Sisto Legnani

The 2021 exhibition combines established figures from the international scene with a selection of emerging and experimental experiences to present innovative products and materials, installations, workshops, site-specific projects, experiences around food and socializing. Ecological, political, and anthropological discourse, tales about the history of design, or expressions of new exhibition currents intertwine convincingly across the many new pieces in this edition.

Locations for the 2021 venue

The venue will be open to the public from September 4th until the 12th. No booking is required. Visit the Alcova website for more info.

DATE: 2021 / PHOTOS: Delfino Sisto Legnani, Piercarlo Quecchia, Alessandro Saletta / LOCATION: Milan, Italy / TEXT: Provided by Alcova, edited by Ness / PROJECT TEAM: Valentina Ciuffi, Joseph Grima,Martina Muzi, Marco De Amicis, Matilde Losi, Andrea Guarinoni

Exhibit Columbus

The 2020-2021 Exhibit Columbus in Indiana presented New Middles: From Main Street to Megalopolis, What is the Future of the Middle City? Curated by Iker Gil and Mimi Zeiger, this symposium and exhibition cycle explores the future of the center of the United States and the regions connected by the Mississippi Watershed. New Middles speculates on the heartland, an ecology stretching beyond political borders. The exhibition and symposium cycle were launched August 21st and will remain open for visitors until November 12th

Exhibit Columbus is a program of Landmark Columbus Foundation and embodies its mission by being a locally responsive and globally engaged proponent for the design heritage of Columbus, Indiana. Through symposia, exhibitions, public events and guided tours, publications, and educational activities, Exhibit Columbus interprets the city’s design heritage and engages a diverse public of community members, students, professionals, and enthusiasts. The platform makes Columbus’ design legacy relevant to existing and new audiences by producing projects and events that celebrate and inspire investments in architecture, art, and design.

For this year, co-curators Iker Gil and Mimi Zeiger have invited exhibition participants to create site-specific, future-oriented installations, which were developed in response to the theme: New Middles: From Main Street to Megalopolis, What is the Future of the Middle City?

2021 J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize Recipients / Photos: Hadley Fruits 

Embracing a long timeline of cities past, present, and future, New Middles builds upon Columbus’ legacy as a laboratory for design as civic investment. New Middles considers Columbus a place to destabilize assumptions, and imagine new architectures and landscapes as a way to positively move our cities forward.

DATE: 2021 / PHOTOS: ph. Hadley Fruits / LOCATION: Columbus, Indiana, USA / TEXT: Provided by Exhibit Columbus 

Explore more projects on NESS Picks !

© 2020. –NESS & lots of architecture–publishers.