With Milan Design Week 2018 heating up, here is a look back at a few of past year’s participants that we must keep an eye out for this year!
With a few days to go, you rush to make a schedule (that you do not stick to) or a map of the places you’ll visit (not realizing you had missed so many and you’d be hopping from one unexpected place to the other). And before you know it, the day is over, you want to go on and see more, but either your legs cannot carry you anymore or it’s already past opening hours. So, you resort to the Italian way; you sit down for an aperitivo. Tired, and yet fulfilled and so inspired.
*** when objects work
This place was fascinating. Authenticity, craftsmanship, sensitivity and loyalty to materials and forms. I just could not get myself to leave.
Above are a couple of bowls by Vincent van Duysen exhibited with When Objects Work. A stone bowl that cradles our food. The use of stone is reminiscent of nature and brings us even closer to it. It is not by mistake that we refer to it as Mother Nature. The authenticity and yet the high level of craftsmanship and simplicity found in this piece is all that design should be. Offering regular humans something that is way beyond them, and yet is all around them, wherever they go, and whichever way they look. However, our human eye, has become so oblivious to the essential, that it needs constant subtle reminders. And that is our job as designers.
Just like when objects work, Kràteres introduced tableware from natural material and produced using new technology. Which makes me think of the former name given, is it really when objects work rather than when objects live? Giving them a new life and making humans closer to Earth; that which is the origin of us both.
It was a happy coincidence to later read a quote by Paul Klee, used by novotona: “art doesn’t need to depict what is visible, but to reveal what is not always visible.” This mission has been followed by artists and designers for so long, that it will never grow old. The world of possibilities and discoveries is endless, and though the starting point is often the same, we’ve been lucky to have been born diverse and different, making way for new and exciting discoveries everyday with the help of our innate little prince.
LOEWE introduced a new set of home objects in its This is Home collection that are as useful as they are playful. Produced in collaboration with Robert Mouseman Thompson’s Craftsmen that are specialized in oak furniture, the set was manifested with little mice which I cannot help but humourly picture in an evening of cheese and wine. It gives both its function, beauty and a feeling of playfulness that is just too adorable. Who doesn’t like tiny little creatures?
Just like in the Nutcracker, these little mice go on in their quest inside your home and climb up on the room separator. If one has children in the house, they’ll certainly learn at a young age to never take themselves too seriously. We can still produce beautiful design.
It seems like mice were a hit at Milan Design Week this year. Seletti also had on display their famous mouse lamp. Again mice invaded the home, and are now lighting their way through your kitchen!
On the other hand, and on display is the famous Seletti Hybrid collection. Hybrid is made to look like a set of China that had been broken and was glued back together. It resonates with this sensitivity to the past, and to what one would usually see in their grandmother’s cabinet, and yet time passed, and the house suddenly became empty. And after a long time, they came across that china again and glued it back to its glory, joining bits and pieces of memory, of food, of laughter, and of family.
I-Mug is a revisit to the rococo style however reinterpreted modernly. As simple a gesture as designing the holder to be of a different fluorescent color, Seletti was able to give this product a new language; one that speaks to the past yet lives in the future.
Meridiani, or in other words, “ok so when do i move in?” offers an exquisite collection of furniture that are as beautiful on their own or together in one setting. Each piece adds its own charm to the space, without weighing it down, but rather adding a breath of fresh air and ease to the eyes.
It’s not what you do but how you do it. A simple circular form with a golden top defines these coffee tables. Other than being beautiful pieces, they are also functional in terms of how easy it is to clean. Coupled with the warm and cozy colors of the setting and the delicate material of the couch and rug, this is the perfect setting to relax, read a book or just get together with friends on a night in.
Last but certainly not least, is this brilliant desk. Again simplicity and smoothness are the highlights of this design, yet there is something about it that just attracts your attentions. Its smooth structure and color will certainly add charm to any interior.
*** Nilufar Gallery
Nilufar Gallery does not really need introduction for the selection of its items. Upon entering the gallery you are overwhelmed with a common aura that revolves between the pieces. It is as if they have their own language that they interact with behind your back.
Pictured above is a tea trolley by Polish/Brazilian architect and designer produced back in the 50s; designed with such elegance, perfect choice of material, structure and color.
What I liked about this lamp was that you can have it next to you on the floor and yet you do not see the source of light directly. Its unique shape does not have any cover over the light source itself and yet you can spend your time looking at it and though it looks like three planets in orbit, it is also very easy to move.
Modular boxes were stacked up on top of one another to achieve this cabinet. A simple and functional idea keeper of your items was made even more coherent by giving it a uniform digital print. In this example of the cabinet (others are available in stripes, patterns and even other sizes), the print is that of a nature dream, with flowers, peaches, birds and clouds that continues from one box to the other forming a different and yet sequential story.
What seems to be a normal coffee table, has a simple added gesture that changes it all. The steel structure that holds the table together elevates at one point to form a circle and continue to hold the bottom of the top table part. It is reminiscent of a musical gesture, that which adds the umph to your piece.
“… il colore è un potere che influenza dirrettamente l’anima…” Wassily Kandinsky
Not only does the choice of color give soul to the furniture, but the sole fact that they are made of recycled cardboard is enough to make you appreciate these pieces. Made of warm colors, these items invite you to view the mandatory objects in your everyday life, in a completely different light.
Pictured above is Matisse, one of the newest pieces by Staygreen. It was designed with a void under the seat that can double as a storage place for books and magazines.
*** Jaro Kose
Starting from the traditional shape of an alarm clock with its two “ringers” at the top, Kose transformed it by giving it a new life, with a new meaning and a new philosophy. With Clock Vase, Kose is depicting the two theories surrounding time; that it is circular, and repeats itself, and the other is that it is a straight line, and end infinitely. To depict that, he coupled the use of the clock itself, a “static” and lifeless object that ironically shows us the movement of time, with a flower, or plant, that has a certain definite lifespan.
Therefore, as we witness time passing, we are reminded of the actualization of that time, to us. However, and in reality, that is also a perfect reminder for anyone who is not good at keeping their plants alive to water them!
I might be a bit biased when it comes to Japanese items. They are just filled with so much history, so much appreciation for life and detail and so much craftsmanship.
Double Case is made up of washi paper and folded like origami. A simple, beautiful and efficient card holder. What’s not to love?
It’s when you simplify something to its basic function, and yet keep its aesthetic and its beautiful rustic feel that design is achieved. Well, we can actually define design as infinite things, so I guess this can be one of them, which in this case, works perfectly.
The Folding Knife dates back to the late 19th century in Japan, where it proved to be so successful that its model is still used today. The contrast between the brass handle and the slightly curved silver knife itself is just beautiful.
On the side, is a brass bottle opener. A simple functional tool which does its job, it opens the bottles for you, and gives you a comfortable slender grip: a line drawing that was turned into a 3D functional object.
*** Cansu Goksu
Not only is Cansu a dear friend, but she is one of the most ambitious and hard working young women i know. At only 24 years old, she has participated in multiple design exhibitons, the latest being Milan Design Week 2017 where she showcased two of her designs: Blend (pictured above) and Madame Mirror, a distorted mirror.
Blend aims at combining the two cultures which Cansu has known the best, the turkish, her native culture, and the Italian one, which she had been a part of for the past 6 years. Blend is a cup that can change from being a traditional Turkish tea glass, into a typical Italian wine glass depending on the mood of the user.
** be sure not to miss Cansu’s 2018 participation points in Milan Design Week by following her on instagram to stay up to date with her respective locations @cansugoksudesign