Milan Design Week is a marathon week: a journey through cultures, ideas, and experiments. A journey through spaces; some big, and some very small. A journey through beauty, creativity, innovation, playfulness and at times even pure genius.
With inspiration all around, one does not know where or even how to start. This week not only unveils the beauty within the minds of designers from all over the world, but the hidden beauty within the city of design itself. Walking from one area to another, you discover secluded alleys, subtle corners and hidden buildings within this marvelous city.
You can never see everything during design week. But the whole experience is memorable and worth every drop of rain (yes it rains every single year during this week), feet pain, and the ridiculous amount of catalogues you just couldn’t help but grab.
The following post is part 1/2 of what I had come across during this beautiful week. I have chosen to exhibit some of the items that have really caught my eye and that I would like to share.
The first stop was at the Wallpaper Store pop-up shop. For a minute, I was taken aback by the location itself rather than the designs I had come to see. It is located in a big courtyard with a big tree in its center There is a long bike rack and offices looking out onto the courtyard. What more inspiration could one ask for?
∗∗∗ Wallpaper Store
Wallpaper always manages to combine a selection of different yet equally beautiful designs:
Hands on Tray is part of Karen Chekerdjian’s “Archetype” collection. It is made of oxydised brass with a hollow palm. It’s your special secret friend that keeps your little items or jewelry safe for you.
The Pylon Chair is part of Tom Dixon’s “Veteran” Collection. While at first glance it may look like a sketchy 3D printed product, it is actually made out of lightweight steel and powder coated royal blue. With this chair, Dixon redefined the throne. Not only is it eye-catching, but it is stripped down to a chair’s basic elements of geometry and support.
The Celestial Bowl by L’objet is part of the “Tulum” Collection, it is inspired by the Mayan history and architecture and made of pottery, with the spikes plated gold. The bowl looks like an exotic unique fruit itself, one would be transported to another universe in its presence.
The main scene during the first few days was Salone del Mobile where hundreds of young designers and design companies exhibited their work. Salone was certainly overwhelming where, literally, wherever you turn, there’s something to see.
Magis, pictured above, never fails to deliver beautiful and intricate objects. Big Will, a table where the two front legs are wheels is an extendable table that can increase in size to accommodate more. Designer Phillippe Starck concealed the wheels with equal sized covers that continue to form the table itself. A small and simple gesture that altered the entire shape of the table making it elegant and just beautiful!
Officina is a selection of furniture by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec for Magis. The pieces are assembled with bent iron bars that look like they are defying the rules of joinery. This genius system reveals the confused and yet logical joinery and the beauty of the rugged material and the welding system used.
On the right, Ettore, by Konstantin Grcic for Magis, is a cast iron door stop shaped like an elegant geometric donkey sits on Spike, also by Grcic, a carrara marble minimal shelf held to the wall with a very obvious clamp reminding us of the beauty of an object in process at the workshop.
There was something about the Margherita chair that was so attractive that I could not help but grab a the photo. I imagined it to be there, standing alone, singularly, in an almost empty room -or seemingly empty in the presence of Margherita– and spreading its power and pride on all those who are present. It had such a beautiful presence that it reminded me of a beautiful throne, not to be competed with.
However, the best part of Salone was Salone Satellite, where young designers exhibited their designs in an attempt to promote them and give them exposure. This grouping of young talents allows for exchange, comparison and mostly inspiration.
∗∗∗ Salone Sattelite ∗ light
The floor lamp was something that definitely caught my attention as it was not something that was ordinary or I had seen before. Unfortunately, I forgot who the designer was, but his enthusiasm and innovation seems hard to forget. In any case, is that not what designers offer to the world? products that make people’s lives better and outlive us? Our names will someday be forgotten, but our designs and what we offered to the world will definitely stay. Only time would tell. Anyways, kudos!
Lucid Lights by David Derksen Design does exactly what it aims to: confuse the viewer as to where the light is coming from. This simple perforated steel sheet elegantly conceals the source of the light and yet does exactly what it needs to; that is provide light.
Touch Light by Truly Truly approaches the traditional glass blowing technique from a new perspective. Working with the National Glass Museum in the Netherlands, they created a mold with adjustable pins to influence the glass being blown. This resulted in a product that had been formed by both nature and man, that is beautiful and elegant
Planet by Bentu Design, as every other product this house suggests, recycles ceramic waste that would otherwise end up in landfills and rivers. By transforming them into different products, Bentu aims at reusing and helping the environment in China. Photographed is Planet, a cool pendant lamp made to mimic the shape of planets as it provides us with light.
∗∗∗ Salone Sattelite ∗ tools
PlusMinus tool is designed to be both a useful object for every household, and at the same time, a work of art that you can place on your desk and show off. It is made of polished stainless steel which can be playful, and actually useful if you had just finished lunch!
Ruler ON by JONO concepts uses the pattern of the milling machine to create the increments that signify the metric scale. A simple yet cool way of using machines and trials done at the workshop to create something both beautiful and efficient!
∗∗∗ Salone Sattelite ∗ Fit-niture
With the fast moving lifestyles we are leading today, this is the perfect solution! Not only does it save money, it saves space and time. I absolutely fell in love with this!
Fit-niture designed by Edmond Wong Studio offers a variety of household furniture that doubles as exercising tools. From the yoga ball stand that doubles as a light, to the chairs that double as lifting bars, it contains all the options! Pictured below is one of the Salone attendees trying out a pull-up on the chairs. Notice also the bench that can be used for bench presses in the background!
∗∗∗ Salone Sattelite ∗ chair
Another one of my favorites at Salone Sattelite is the Trote Chair designed by EINA from Spain. Based on the children’s game of the rocking horse, and coupled with today’s work methods, this chair allows the user to sit super comfortably and offers a space in the front where she can place her laptop, book or sketchbook and carry on working, blurring the space between work and play.
∗∗∗ Salone Sattelite ∗ plate
Another playful approach to our everyday life was offered by fritz und franken where the plates look like they have some leftover food stuck to them still, yet they constitute part of the whole. It’s like when your mom used to tell you to finish your plate as a kid so you grow up to design this! I can imagine these plates offered during a themed house party suggesting the food to be consumed.
∗∗∗ Salone Sattelite ∗ carpet
And last but not least, is Imagiro. Imagiro is a modular carpet which can be modeled however the user likes. Similar to Origami, the carpet can take any shape we want, making it a playful environment for children and grownups altogether.
*end of part 1*
I am sure i missed so many of the beautiful things on display at Salone. However, I hope that with my humble and spontaneous post, I was able to at least create a vision of what was present during Salone, hoping to inspire, motivate and promote good and playful design.