Beyond cognitive barriers. BASE Milano – an experience of new design frontiers

Exactly 3 years ago, at the 2016 Fuorisalone, a cutting-edge cultural center saw the light in the industrial plant of the former Ansaldo factory in the Tortona district: it was called BASE.

Among the many design districts, Tortona is one of Milan’s oldest - the district in which the first design firms started to exhibit their projects in the ‘90s outside the Trade Fair, many of which were in fact Dutch. This year, therefore, we are witnessing a great comeback: with the union between Ventura Projects and BASE, the Tortona district steps back into the avant-guard within the Fuorisalone proposal. After 3 years of ongoing construction, BASE now accesses a new stage of maturity and fully embraces its calling as a large organism of learning and experimentation.

Two key projects should be highlighted in BASE’s Design Week. Ventura Future is an investigation into the aesthetics, technologies and production processes of the future. Curated by Ventura Projects’ Dutch designers, it combines the research carried out in the best design academies and international universities, such as Central Saint Martins, Royal College of Art / Design Products and Design School Kolding, with projects by cutting-edge designers and brands like Mash.T Design Studio (South Africa) and Diederik Schneemann (The Netherlands). The exhibition takes up two entire floors in the former industrial building and also involves casaBASE – the BASE Milano design hostel / artist residence open all year-round – which, for the occasion, will become a guest house for some of the designers participating in the event and a place where they can exhibit and explain their projects to the public.

Complementary to Ventura Future, BASE’s UNLEARN-RELEARN exhibition proposes an investigation into new ways of learning. The exhibition entrusts five ensembles of artists, designers, and curators with installations, games and experiences concerning the topic of learning / unlearning. In a period of great transformation in manufacturing methods, what we learn today may not be useful tomorrow. The important thing is to learn how to learn. The un-learning referred to in the title is only the first step towards freeing ourselves from the chains of replication, letting go of obsolete schemes, and opening up to a new way of thinking outside-the box. Participating with their installations are: Italo Rota with Marco Cadioli, Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto, Stefano Mirti and Super – Scuola Superiore d’Arte Applicata del Castello Sforzesco, Andrea de Chirico and Music Innovation Hub.

BASE has chosen to approach design through the aspect of creating innovative processes and has decided to set aside products and furniture. The intent is to offer the Design Week a taste of the transversal research on learning; a research that is carried out 365 days a year and is in line with this location’s vocation as a “Learning Machine”. A large organism of learning and a permanent lab for the city and for professionals in the creative industry and from the district. An initiative, in short, that seeks to connect the creative community in order to absorb, share and transform contents and contaminations.

Continuing our tour through the 10,000 m2 location of BASE’s Fuorisalone installation, we also discovered Design Confession, a BASE/Ventura co-production: built in the officinaBASE, this installation features actual wooden confessionals, complete with the traditional grids, where budding new designers will have a chance to have intimate conversations with design gurus, whisper their (im)possible dreams, regrets, afterthoughts, unmask excuses, and be comforted about their creative turmoil. Patrick Abbattista, Alessandra Barlassina, Alberto Bassi, Filippo Berto, Pietro Corraini, Chiara Diana, Maria Cristina Didero, Matteo Ingaramo, Stefano Maffei, Ico Migliore, Stefano Mirti, Bilge Nur Saltik, Matteo Ragni, Italo Rota, Laura Traldi, Jasper Udink ten Cate and Francesco Zurlo are some of the confessors.

The program at BASE features Open Sound every day, from sunset to late night - a continuation of the exhibition UnLearn//ReLearn in a dancefloor version. The inspiring theme of the program based on the desire to question any prejudice about the distance between musical genres: “dance music is a living creature that is constantly changing shape, moving on the dance floor, in the streets, on radio waves and on the web”, as the poster for the event announces. The line-up is conceived as a crescendo of ambient, new world music, drone, house and tribal, mixed with ancient millennial sounds, like cowbells, arbëreshë songs, and cupa cupa.

Among the many artists featured at the event are: Hypertone, Rishi Dissidance, Protopapa, Sockslove Dadi Etro, go-Dratta, Alioscia, Pablito El Drito, Joseph Tagliabue. The event is curated by Music Innovation Hub, a think tank and music production company founded in 2018 at BASE Milano.

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BASE Design Week with Ventura Future
Via Bergognone 34 or Via Tortona 54
M3 Porta Genova
Ticket 5 euro
NOTE: The same ticket is valid from April 8 to 14 for all events and exhibitions at BASE, both during the day and the evening.

Exhibition Area Opening hours:
Tuesday 9 April | Thursday 11 April | Friday 12 April | Saturday 13 April 9.30 am – 8 pm
Wednesday 10 April 9.30 – 10 pm
Sunday 14 April 9.30 – 6 pm

Tickets for BASE+VENTURA FUTURE Design Week 2019 can be purchased online on

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