Sarah Davenport at the International Design Show in Milan15 May 2012
Armed with a BBC camera, I arrive with fellow Nottingham designer-maker Steven Biddulph at the Science and Technology Museum Milan.
Designersblock are putting on a show for the International Design Festival and Nottingham is at the heart of the action.
Nottingham City Council supported our mission as did fellow independent businesses. As well as meeting potential partners we will research industry for a Marie Curie EU StageIt Project and find new opportunities and inspiration to bring home.
The centrepiece of our show along with stunning new works by Steven is the Restoration Throne designed by me and hand-made from a 350-year-old Sweet Chestnut Tree by fine artisan Patrick Turk who works with trees which have fallen naturally or are stormdamaged in Sherwood Forest. The Throne transforms legacy of the past into a vision of hope and enduring beauty in the future. I speak to hundreds of designers, buyers, press and public from all around the World and tell them about the thriving creativity of our city.
I interview Yves Behar, named one of the world's seven most important people in design, who has redesigned the British Sodastream inline with his drive for sustainability. It is aesthetically stunning, makes delicious juice and cocktails and saves around 550 plastic bottles per household. You'll be seeing one in every tasteful kitchen soon. Yves says he likes the Wing garment I am wearing which I created with the Golden Cage, on Derby Road.
Steven and I bump into industrial designer Karim Rashid - referred to by Time magazine as the "Most Famous Industrial Designer in all the Americas" - and he invites us to his launch with luxury fashion label Peuterey.
Champagne and conversation flow but all I can do is admire the exquisite quality, soft leathers, and Karims stunning new overcoat designs.
A Dose of enchantment extraordinary, even for Milan, leads me to the leader of the design world and my long-time hero Marcel Wanders, called "Design World's Favourite Star" by the New York Times.
Having connected deeply with his creations, values, drive and character I was delighted last Christmas to find Wanders dominating the Nottingham high street through vibrant red and white bags created as part of a signature collection for Marks and Spencer. Marcels ubiquitous works possess a captivating vivacity which is manifest in the man. He spreads delight, inspiration and special magic through the show, wearing a very handsome dress and golden shoes. Milan is alive!
Tom Dixon, ex-Habitat creative director, cancels his interview, so I talk to young upcoming British designers instead. Their answers are refreshing and it is good to see the next generation full of determination and a will to change the world for the better.
I arrive on the back of a moped at the famous Fornasetti house to find a host of eclectic treasures so bountiful I could have spent months with them and still found more to gasp at. Barnaba Fornasetti himself is DJ-ing in deep concentration and to great effect and I find I am struck speechless by the beauty of it all.
After speaking to prospective leads for Nottingham at the exhibition and interviewing Piers Roberts of Designersblock I travel to the frenzied Via Tortona main street. It is interesting to see ways brands are finding to communicate their message through technology.
The train from Stansted to Nottingham is cancelled which is fortunate as I meet German eye-wear pioneer Andreas Himmes. As we discuss empire building and new projects, it is almost as if Milan has followed us home.
I awake in Nottingham and write to new friends including Tamuna Gvaberidze of Georgia design office ROOMS - definitely worth looking up - and also the art director of the famous Nhow Design Hotel where Nottingham may have an opportunity to showcase works next year.
I prepare my speech for "Designer Resolutions" at Antenna on May 25 with the timely subject "A leap of faith". In Milan there were obviously a wealth of new chairs and tables to see... but surely what is most important to bring back to Nottingham is news of the energies and motivations that created them. The mood in Milan was sincere as leaders of creativity talked deeply about how we can effectively produce new value for culture and industry. I found that there is vast and exhilarating opportunity out there for those with the appetite to embrace choice, care for beauty and fight to find their very best future.
Reality can - I discovered - be more remarkable than the most exquisite dream.