On Tuesday, 18 April, Dutch Queen Máxima attended the official opening of Masterly/The Dutch in Milan, a contemporary design exhibition inside a quintessentially Milanese palazzo, held in conjunction with the Salone del Mobile and the Milan Design Week. The exhibition, which ended on Sunday, 23 April, celebrated the Dutch influence on design, brands, and craftsmanship in orchids. Its sumptuous orchid displays immediately received royal attention.
Even if the popularity of the Dutch royal family has gone down compared to previous years, it is safe to say that with her charm and genuine interest, Dutch Queen Máxima succeeded in winning the hearts of Orchidee Nederland, a consortium of the Netherlands’ leading commercial orchid growers.
The Salone del Mobile happens on Milan’s gargantuan Fiera Milano Rho exhibition grounds. But throughout the week, its Fuorisalone (which literally translates as OutsideTheExhibition) side event takes international visitors to downtown Milan. The city centre’s historical palazzos open their doors, inviting a design-loving crowd to discover the many creative design installations inside.
Flying the Dutch design flag is the iconic Giuriconsulti Palazzo, adjacent to Milan’s famed Duomo. For the occasion of the biggest annual design event in the world, flower arrangers installed two giant orchids walls on either side of the Palazzo’s grand doorway.
At the opening, the Queen stopped in front of the artistic orchid creations and spontaneously chatted with orchid grower Alex Duindam of Phalaenopsis Nursery Piet Vijverberg. The Queen appeared in high spirits, calling horticulture one of the driving forces behind the Dutch economy. Duindam says, “She gave a compliment about the beautiful orchid walls and was well-informed regarding horticulture and agriculture in general. She acknowledged, for example, the challenges the sector faces but also called Dutch ornamental horticulture an innovation powerhouse which can help tackle global challenges.”
Occupying pride of place at the exhibit was a Phalaenopsis in a Royal Delft Blow Away vase, made by Dutch product and interior designer Marcel Wanders in association with Royal Delft, 2020, the country’s only remaining factory dedicated to the production of the finest handmade and hand-painted Delft ceramics. The presentation showed how orchids, ceramics and design are inevitably a blend of art, each comprising its own innovation and international allure.