Via @spotdit, three free smartphone apps to help Milan Design Week visitors find their way. Not surprising that the INTERNI iPhone app is the best of the lot, they've been publishing the "go to" paper guide to the show for years now (for ICFF too).
Interni FuoriSalone is the Apple App Store name for the location aware INTERNI guide. Don't be put off with the Italian description in the App Store, the app itself is presented in English. As the name suggests, the focus is primarily on the Fuori Salone which brings together most of the "satellite" design events that take place in downtown Milan. The vast Fiera exhibition centre, where i Saloni actually takes place, is in the outskirts of Milan and is not covered in this app (there's another app, further below that does that).
The INTERNI guide app has a lot of icons on the home page, but two stand out for their utility. The first one, FuoriSalone, is the list of events that are taking place and can be viewed by district, alphabetically and by day. Click on any event or place and the app will immediately locate it on a map vis-a-vis you. Click on the push-pin to get all the details for the event - a short description, the address, opening times and nearest subway station. The second useful icon is ZeeMilan, a great guide for restaurants, hotels and various services, again, near you. For example there's a long list of restaurants with useful mini-reviews, price points and food styles offered. Click on directions to open the Maps app (unlike the FuoriSalone icon which has the maps integrated right in the app). If you don't know where to start, which is possible Milan Design Week takes over the entire city, there's a Popular tab that will set you on your way to the big name events.
The next app is a web-based app that can be found at FUORISALONE.IT. They have a version optimized for iPhone at www.fuorisalone.it/iphone, and it too, like the INTERNI guide, is focused on Fuori Salone & location aware, but unlike INTERNI, it's in Italian only. It's worth a mention here because they also have a down-loadable guide for a bunch of phones; Blackberry, Nokia, Palm, HTC among them. We didn't try the download, if any of you do, please let us know if it worked for you.
And finally, there's a web-based smartphone app for i Saloni, the COSMIT show at the Fiera exhibition centre in Rho just outside of Milan. A map is a good thing to have in an exhibition space that is 345,000 square meters large. The DesignIT guide is an exhibitor guide like the ones you get at the door of a show. It includes an extensive list of exhibitors, maps of the pavilions and various floor plans but unfortunately is not location-aware, so you'll have to figure out how to get where you want to go without directions.
For when your smartphone battery dies, there's still the paper version of the INTERNI guide, usually available in most of the big venues in Milan, and there's the Architonic .pdf guide that can download here.
If you know of other Milan Design Week guides that are particularly useful please let us know by leaving a comment.