XL Extralight exhibits sole and foam-making process at Milan design week

Shoe sole made by XL Extralight

Promotion: XL Extralight showcased its manufacturing process in an exhibition designed by Italian architect Andrea Caputo as an “immersive museum itinerary” during Milan design week.

Named Industream and put together by Caputo in collaboration with artist duo Invernomuto, the exhibition demonstrated the complex industrial process behind XL Extralight’s footwear and foam design technology.

Although the company’s core business is soles for footwear, it said its technology is leading it to other categories where lightness, durability and water-resistant properties are valued.

Industream exhibition designed by Andrea Caputo for XL Extralight
Italian architect Andrea Caputo designed the exhibition in partnership with artist duo Invernomuto

The Industream exhibition was held at the recently opened architecture and design centre Dropcity, founded by Caputo and occupying a previously abandoned network of warehouse tunnels behind Milan Central Station.

“At Fuorisalone 2024 we had the idea to create something completely different from previous editions,” said XL Extralight foam design product and brand manager Carlo Vecchiola.

Photo from Industream exhibition at Milan design week
The exhibition showcased how XL Extralight’s foam-shoe soles are made

“This is why we have started a conversation with Andrea Caputo and his team to end up at Dropcity, the place to be for those who want to experiment and implement new design codes and visual experiences,” he told Dezeen.

“For the first time since we have been exhibiting at the Milan design week way back in 2014, XL Extralight is unveiling its industrial process – from compounding to injection moulding – in an immersive museum itinerary.”

XL Extralight staff member at Industream exhibition
Italian fashion house Lardini created bespoke uniforms as part of the exhibition

XL Extralight, which was founded in the 1990s by Italian industrial group Finproject, designs polyolefin-based expanded and moulded foams that are super lightweight, soft and flexible while also being resistant to bacteria, UV rays, saline and chlorine.

Caputo and Invernomuto’s Industream exhibition sought to emphasise the scientific aspects of the sole-making process, as well as the historic link between material innovation and human development.

At the exhibition, XL Extralight team members wore workwear-streetwear hybrid uniforms that were tailor-made by fashion house Lardini.

Foam soles made by XL Extralight
Emphasis was placed on the complex science behind XL Extralight’s manufacturing process

Recent brand collaborations by the brand include the modular Roku footwear from Camper, which features a removable sole that can be repaired and reused at the end of the shoe’s life.

For more information about XL Extralight, contact Maria Elena Barbati and Bianca Maria Bertolissi at [email protected].

The photography is by Invernomuto for XL Extralight.

Milan design week took place from 15 to 21 April 2024. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

Partnership content

This article was written by Dezeen for XL Extralight as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.

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