My absolute favorite discovery from Milan Design Week was this little space in the Lambrate district, located right next to the Norwegian exhibition ‘Everything is Connected’ (look out for a blogpost on that one soon!).

Studio Amanda Lilholt is a furniture and interior design studio based in Copenhagen with the slogan “We don’t believe in perfect. We believe in taking things a bit further.” The first thing I noticed and loved was her creative concrete flower vases. They come in 4 different colours; pink, dark blue, grey & white and two sizes. Others items to look out for are the gorgeous new daybed ‘HER’ and the cool liquor cabinet with a rotatable circle.

I am sure we will see more from this great new designer, so mark the name!

// Photo credit: Ingrid Opstad



Milan Design Week is always my favorite part of the year, the city is buzzing and full of interior and design lovers! One of the highlights for me this year was the IKEA Festival located in an old Warehouse in the Lambrate district. Under the slogan ‘Let’s make room for life’, IKEA wanted to redefine the room where the everyday life happens – the living room!

“People have told us that the living room is the heart of everyday life at home, full of activities and precious moments. Yet, it’s a room in need of change. As a curious company, we want to understand these needs and meet them with solutions that cater for the everyday life. In Milan people get to experience our take on this challenge, hopefully it will be vibrant, like coming to a great party in someone’s living room” – Marcus Engman (Head of Design at IKEA Sweden)

The exhibitions were beautifully created and styled by the British designer Faye Toogood, the Swedish creatives and bloggers Anna Lenskog Belfrage & Pella Hedeby and the Barcelona-based magazine Openhouse. It had a fun but relaxed atmosphere, during the day you could find DJ’s, live musicians and even an indoor slide and in the evening it would host parties. Outside the warehouse, you could find little market stalls selling items as well as food & drinks so that visitors could enjoy a Swedish ‘fika’.

I loved walking through all the different styled rooms, each one to discover someone either painting, sewing or making macrame. The rooms were so full of character and personality, it was great to discover little details in each of them. The mix of vintage and DIY with IKEA classics and new items created a lived-in feel, even more so than what you would usually find when browsing the store. Here is a selection of images I took in the 4 rooms with the theme Growing, Creation, Harmony & Compact Living, I hope you enjoy and that it makes you feel like you got to experience some of this great event.

Room for Growing – Anna Lenskog Belfrage
A room full of greenery and a creative desk area. My favorite was the pretty hanging planters and the cute little succulents in little glass jars, as well as the new Ypperlig green chair in collaboration with HAY.

Room for Harmony – Pella Hedeby
Lovely and calm environment with toned down colours in grey-green and beige with natural materials. The new Stockholm cabinet and coffee table fitted perfectly in this cozy space, anyone else have these items on their wishlist?..

Room for Creation – Anna Lenskog Belfrage
Like stepping into a painter’s creative studio in blue tones with a lot of textiles from the Stockholm collection. A room full of paint splashes and creative chaos.

Compact Living – Pella Hedeby
This space was a combined bedroom, kitchen and dining area, a great way to show how you can utilise the space you have. The cozy bedroom area was on a highter level with a little buildt in staircase, and each corner and step was beautifully decorated with items. The black kitchen was a great contrast to the white and wood elements and the whole room oozed hygge.

And even though I have shared too many images already, I’ll end this post with some more from the Openhouse area. This space had a bit of a retro feeling, with a yellow sofa area and colourful additions.

The exhibition was full of new collections including YPPERLIG, DELAKTIG, STOCKHOLM, BJÖRKSNÄS, STUNSIG and more, so be sure to lookout for these items to appear in your local store!

// Photo credit: Ingrid Opstad



INGRIDESIGN_reading outside the MUDEC

Last week I spent 9 hours around the Tortona & Navigli area of Milan. I really like it there so I thought I would share some of the things I did. It is a very trendy up-and-coming area of Milan full of cool café’s, creative shops, streetart & fashionable beautiful people everywhere you go. I would say it’s in a way Milan’s version of Brick Lane; a great place to have a wander if you are like me and in need of some inspiration. My aim of the day was to get to know the area so I decided on not bringing a map or using google maps on my phone. It went surprisingly good and is to me the best was to explore a new area, although it is good to have google maps at hand incase you get really lost.

My day started by taking the underground in to Porta Genova Station, which is right in the middle of where Tortona & Navigli meet and therefore the perfect starting point. It was then time for breakfast, which to me is one of the most important times of the day! I had done a bit of research online beforehand and decided to go to this place called God Save The Food which looked very appealing. They had croissants and cakes and a large colourful selection of smoothies (which I didn’t see until after I had ordered.. *sadface) but in the spirit of all things British I decided on a cute salmon & cucumber finger sandwich. As I was happy to discover that they had soya milk I also ordered a soya cappuccino which was very tasty.

INGRIDESIGN tortona & navigli GSTF breakfast

INGRIDESIGN tortona & navigli GSTF cappuchino

It was a nice place to grab breakfast because even though it is very popular and quite a lot of people they all seem to run out the door quite quickly after shooting down their espresso so most of the tables were empty.

INGRIDESIGN tortona & navigli GSTF interior

INGRIDESIGN tortona & navigli GSTF interior wall

After breakfast I had a walk around the area for nearly 2 hours exploring and trying to get familiar with it. I discovered that Napapijri has a showroom there (trust the Norwegian to spot the Norwegian flag), saw a lot of cool places I have put on my to-do list for another time and got a bit lost on the hunt for a shop called Bio c’ Bon. I eventually found it and had a browse before I ended up with this little vegan treat.

INGRIDESIGN tortona & navigli vegan snack

INGRIDESIGN tortona & navigli MUDEC exterior

INGRIDESIGN tortona & navigli MUDEC reflection

After the snack I walked a bit more before I arrived at the MUDEC museum and had a look inside to see what it had to offer. Their design store is great, almost like a little art gallery of it’s own, and the bistro was beautiful & modern with a lot of art on the walls. There is also a restaurant on the third floor of the building which I didn’t go in to, but it’s said to be ‘an elegant, exclusive setting for gourmet dining’.

INGRIDESIGN tortona & navigli MUDEC art wall

INGRIDESIGN tortona & navigli MUDEC art

As I wasn’t in the mood to walk around inside too much on this sunny day I decided not to go to the exhibition (but noted down that there will be a Barbie exhibition on later this year that I might check out.) I had a little snoop around inside the building though as I was curious to see the interestingly shaped hallway on the second floor.

INGRIDESIGN tortona & navigli MUDEC stairs interior

INGRIDESIGN tortona & navigli MUDEC walls interior

I found a lovely yellow chair outside in the courtyard and rested my feet for a bit while I read a book. It was a nice and peaceful place to sit, and that chair was so comfortable!

INGRIDESIGN tortona & navigli MUDEC outdoor chairs

“A multidisciplinary and multifunctional centre devoted to the world’s various cultures, the Mudec, Museo delle Culture, is designed to become a point of reference in Italy for research, dissemination and entertainment in the fields of art and creativity. The Mudec engages in constant dialogue with the international communities present in Italy so as to ensure broad expression of the multiplicity of cultures involved with no sacrifice of their complexity.” – MUDEC mission statement

At this point I was getting very hungry and as I was close by God Save The Food I decided to go back again for lunch. This time it was very full of people as there are many offices nearby, but there were a few tables still available so I didn’t have to wait too long. I was meeting my boyfriend for lunch and it was a lovely place for a little lunch date, although a bit noisy. My boyfriend had the club sandwich (which looked amazingly good but I forgot to take a photo of) and I had eggs & bacon which was also very good.

INGRIDESIGN tortona & navigli GSTF lunch plate

INGRIDESIGN tortona & navigli canal view

After saying goodbye to my boyfriend I headed to the Navigli district which surrounds the city’s historic canals and is the place to go in Milan for an aperitivo. As I was there around 3 and not really ready for a drink (yet) I decided to just walk along the canal in the sun. I have been there many times in the evening, but it is nice to see it when it is all empty during the week.

INGRIDESIGN tortona & navigli canal

At the end of the Naviglio Grande canal I ended up at the Urban Farmers Market of Milan called Mercato Metropolitano. It is a temporary 16.000 sm. area of streetfood, farmers, artisans and events created within the ‘Outside EXPO’ calendar “EXPOCITTA”. If you are hungry this is the place to go as it has all kinds of both Italian and international food available.

INGRIDESIGN tortona & navigli mercato metropolitano

INGRIDESIGN tortona & navigli mercato metropolitano market

Still feeling so full from the lunch earlier I ended up with a refreshing lemonade from one of the stalls and sat on one of the tables reading my book while people watching and enjoying what was left of the day..

INGRIDESIGN tortona & navigli mercato metropolitano pitstop

I really enjoyed the day in Tortona & Navigli, it is such a creative place with so much to discover around each corner. If you have any tips of any places you have been around there let me know so I can put it on my ever-growing list of things to explore!

// Photo credit: Ingrid Opstad



All photos by ingridesign

All photos by ingridesign

One thing that I haven’t quite gotten used to here in Italy yet is the weather. After spending most of my life in either Norway or England my body has become custom to the colder climate, and summer to me would in the past usually consist of wearing jumpers & tights unless I would be on a holiday in a warmer country.

Now living in Milan the average degrees across the summer months has been 33, with some “small” heatwaves in between, which has been at times difficult. Don’t get me wrong I love the heat, but when it hits you so hard that it makes you feel sick it’s not so fun. So when we finally had a cloudy & rainy day last weekend (never thought I would say that) I was quite relieved and took the opportunity to go explore Milan.

INGRIDESIGN_porta nuova

We headed to a part of Milan called Porta Nuova which in English translate to ‘new door’. It is the main business district and is currently undergoing a massive renewal with modern high rise buildings, shops, cafe’s and a large city park.

INGRIDESIGN_porta nuova map

INGRIDESIGN_porta nuova buildings

INGRIDESIGN_illy caffe entrance

Our main reason for going there was to visit the Illy Caffè hunting for a tiramisu macaroon (long story..) It is Illy’s first Milan flagship store and coffee is of-course the main attraction. The decor is simple yet stunning in red & white and the lovely smell of coffee hits you as soon as you step foot in the door. The food counter is full of sweet and savoury treats, the coffee menu is on-point and they even had soya milk which is a big plus for me!

INGRIDESIGN_illy caffe interior1

INGRIDESIGN_illy caffe coffee counter

I ended up with a delicious soya cappuccino accompanied by a dark chocolate macaroon as there was no tiramisu ones left unfortunately. Both the coffee and the macaroon was so good; the perfect rainy day treat!

INGRIDESIGN_illy caffe coffee

INGRIDESIGN_illy caffe macaroon


After finishing our little coffee break we went for a walk around the area to check out some of the shops and attractions. We discovered the Feltrinelli RED, a cool café & bookstore combined where the motto is ‘read, eat & dream’. As we had already been to the Illy Caffè we just had a browse around, and I picked up a Scandinavian Design book along with some coffee capsules for our coffee machine. Both the store & café was bussing with people and it seemed like a very popular hang-out place with a lovely atmosphere, so I will definitely be back soon to try the vegan cakes, read a book and take photos.


INGRIDESIGN_playing in the rain

Porta Nuova is a very nice, clean, fun and modern area, and I can see it increasing in popularity as it grows. It has a lot to offer when it comes to urban architecture and art; a great contrast to the traditional and historic city centre of Milan.



All photos by Ingrid Opstad

All photos by ingridesign

Last week I finally went back to the EXPO to spend the whole day there. It was very helpful to have had an evening there before (more about that here) to get an overview so that we knew exactly what we wanted to experience and see.

If you haven’t heard of the EXPO yet, here is a quick introduction;
EXPO Milano 2015 is a Universal Exhibition from May 1st to October 31st where 145 participating countries is showcasing their answer to a vital need: being able to guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone while respecting the planet and it’s equilibrium. Under the slogan ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’ the 2 million square meter large exhibition space has become the place to be if you want to experience food, design and culture from all over the world.

EXPO milano 2015 passport cover

Visitors can purchase their own EXPO passport at the entrance which, like a normal passport, has space for receiving stamps from each country you visit. This means that you end up with a little visual diary, a great way to remember what you did and look back on later. I loved collecting the stamps, it is such a great idea for both kids and grown-ups to make the EXPO experience even better. Here you can see a sneak-peak inside my passport;

INGRIDESIGN EXPO milan 2015 passport stamps

The first pavilion we went to was the Brazilian Pavilion, because we had heard it was one of the best attractions and something that had to be experienced. The reason being it consists of a beautifully designed structure containing a large suspended net where visitors are invited to join in on a multi-sensory and immersive experience. It was fun trying to walk the net, and at one point I ended up hand-in-hand with an older woman needing help balancing as it was quite a difficult task to cross it. Underneath the net you can find a Green Gallery with different plants, flowers and fruits from Brazil.

“The net is the materialization of the concept ‘Feeding the world with solutions’ and act as a metaphor of flexibility, fluidity and decentralization to represent the bounds and the integration of different topics and players creating, once combined, the true Brazilian role in producing quality food to satisfy global demand in a technological and sustainable way, perfectly in line with Expo main theme.” – EXPO website

INGRIDESIGN EXPO 2015 MILANO brazilian pavilion

INGRIDESIGN EXPO milan 2015 brazil inside

After that we went to the Angola Pavilion. It has a spectacular exterior with a wooden geometric shaped surface which comes from the typical Angolan printed fabrics. The surface allows natural light to enter the rooms inside, and gives a nice effect throughout the structure. The exhibition area’s inside has the theme ‘Food and culture, educate to innovate’, and it shows the country’s natural food resources as well as focusing on the culture and soul of the nation in the four chapters; origins, growth, sustainability and future.

I loved walking through the exhibition learning about the country, and especially enjoyed the unexpected light and sound show that suddenly happened in the middle of our visit replicating a storm followed by tribal music and sounds. This happened as I entered the center of the sacred African baobab tree which made it even more magical.

“The Pavilion of Angola has an architectural concept inspired by a representation of the ‘imbondeiro’, the sacred African baobab tree in the Angolan culture. The tree will also be the starting point from which visitors start a cultural and gastronomic journey inside the Pavilion through which they become acquainted with the content of the Angola.” – EXPO website

INGRIDESIGN EXPO milan 2015 angola structure

Then it was time for a sit-down and a snack so we made a little stop in Belgium where we enjoyed some lovely fries before heading over to the Republic of Korea Pavilion. This was a very modern and simplistic structure where the use of highly advanced science and technology in the fields of food, environment, and human physiology was showcasing their diverse culinary practices. One of the main attractions was a robot show with two screens showcasing the process of fermentation in Korean cuisine.

“The overarching theme of the Korea Pavilion is to promote a more sustainable way of life through healthy eating. Under the banner ‘Hansik, Food for the Future: You are What You Eat’ the exhibition will showcase how a healthy diet can affect one’s outlook and appearance on life. What we eat and how we eat all reflect the way we are. A healthier diet will not only help us make the most out of life but also preserve the environment around us.” – EXPO website

INGRIDESIGN EXPO milan 2015 corea


INGRIDESIGN EXPO milan 2015 south korea

After a walk around and a brief stop near China eating some Ramen noodles & gyozas we decided to go to the Italian area, and couldn’t resist checking out the Fab Food. The factory of Italian taste exhibition mainly because of this amazing entrance! It is spread over ten rooms and focuses mainly on kids, schools and families with a lot of games such as the ‘Juke Box of Wishes’ where visitors can play choosing their favourite Italian dishes and see how they are created.

INGRIDESIGN EXPO milan 2015 fab food

Next to the Fab Food exhibition is the L’aperitivo Italiano terrazza Martini, which offers a 360° view of the EXPO site. Here we could sit in the shadow underneath an umbrella away from the stress and crowds while enjoying a lovely Martini Royal cocktail along with a nicely presented aperitivo plate. La dolce vita!

INGRIDESIGN EXPO milan 2015 l'aperitivo italiano terrazza martini

INGRIDESIGN EXPO milan 2015 martini terrace

One of the other pavilions I had heard so much about and wanted to see was the Austrian Pavilion. Here visitors can take a breath in the small scale Austrian forest that provides 62.5 kilograms of fresh oxygen every hour. It is a very relaxing and refreshing experience, and you forget where you are for a moment. Perfect place to cool down on a hot day (which is most days in the Milan summer)..

“With ‘BREATHE’ Austria is making an incisive contribution to the theme ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’ at the Expo Milan 2015. ‘BREATHE’ highlights the No.1 source of nourishment and one of the most important resources for an international audience: AIR. Architecture, Nature, Culture and Research are brought together to offer the visitor a personal experience.” – Klaus K. Loenhart

INGRIDESIGN EXPO milan 2015 breathe austria

INGRIDESIGN EXPO milan 2015 austria eat

Then it was time to eat again, and we ended up going back to the Japanese Pavillion as we enjoyed the food there so much last time we went. I had the Chicken Katsu curry this time as it is something I used to eat quite a lot when living in London and can’t seem to find here in Milan, and it was very delicious. We ended the day again with watching the Tree of Life evening show which is a must, before heading home.

I highly recommend people to visit the EXPO, and would suggest reading up on it beforehand to have a view of which areas you would like to visit as there are so much to see and not enough time. I will definitely go back soon as there are still so many pavilions I want to experience, and also to hopefully fill up my passport! Get your ticket here.