Mazda returns to the Italian fashion capital this year on 14-19 April for Milan Design Week. Among other things, the Japanese company will host “Mazda Design: The Car as Art”, a special exhibition at the Mazda Design Space facility located in the heart of the city’s fashion and design-oriented Brera district.

Alongside its two newest models – the all-new Mazda CX-3 small SUV and the latest version of the iconic Mazda MX-5 roadster – the exhibition will feature some works from the company’s own designers inspired by the KODO – Soul of Motion design theme of Mazda cars. Experimenting beyond the automotive world with the artistic freedom KODO offers is horizon expanding, says Kevin Rice, Mazda’s European design director, since it helps the designers refine their techniques and powers of expression.

“KODO is about capturing dynamic energy just before the moment it is released, and because we at Mazda are moved by a passion for unique design and beauty in all fields, we’re inspired to see what extraordinary new creations are possible,” he added. “The atmosphere is ideal here: You simply breathe in art and culture when you walk the streets of Brera. It’s an experience of immense creative benefit when we go back to designing cars.”

Established to celebrate convention-challenging designers, Mazda Design Space opened in February for Milan Fashion Week, when the carmaker collaborated with Vogue Italia to promote two up-and-coming fashion labels. Italy’s “COMEFORBREAKFAST” and Japan’s Yasutoshi Ezumi each presented their own interpretations of KODO at the Mazda venue alongside the all-new MX-5. Upcoming events include a design workshop on 31 March organised together with Domus magazine. Aimed at a professional audience, it will feature prominent architects and designers including Rice himself.

Besides hosting “Mazda Design: The Car as Art”, Mazda is also a main sponsor of the Brera Design District Fuorisalone 2015. The local edition of Milan Design Week covers a range of events during the Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano, the world’s largest furniture fair. Mazda first took part in Milan Design Week in 2013.