Fuorisalone, design report – Milan Design Week 2015
This year, as each year gone, Milan Design week was larger than ever. The abundance of design in Birmingham’s sister city is entirely unavoidable.
The scope of diversity, in scale, material, style and execution, is awe inspiring. For one week only the whole of the design world is in Milan – except this year. This year Milan also proudly also hosts EXPO 2015 starting in May, drawing in many more businesses and visitors.
There continued be strong signs of understated luxury with use of materials such as brass, copper and marble at the shows. This a trend that has been long standing and seems to continue with a new introduction of finely made products. Thinkk Studio caught my eye with their Embelli collection for Cotto Tiles. In this collection of bathroom accessories, beautifully crafted stones and concrete are framed by brass metal work seen here below.
In its fourth year running, Wallpaper* Handmade had its largest collection of designer producer collaborations. As part of the exhibit, Dupont Corian teamed with Ladies and Gentlemen Studio to create the most luxurious and design-conscious air hockey table seen to date. http://www.ladiesandgentlemenstudio.com/
Top level manufacturers showed off their abilities with collaborative launches from Nendo with Glas Italia, Philippe Malouin for Caesarstone and commissions by Audi and Hyundai with Moritz Waldemeyer and Reuben Margolin respectively.
An entire floor of Nendo’s exhibition, ‘Works 2014 – 2015’ was dedicated to his collections and experimentations with Glass Italia. The minimalism and subtlety in the designs, colour and tone selections made for some wonderfully light and alluring pieces.
Philippe Malouin partnered with Caesarstone to create a selection of planters which were displayed in a way that only Milan Design week could produce, centre stage at Palazzo Serbelloni. The large planters were then followed up with a fun way to relax with swings made of Caesarstone, letting visitors swoop up towards the ceiling in the spectacular building.
The most relaxing installation to see, which was greatly appreciated following hours on foot, was Reuben Margolin’s hypnotic, mechanical wave for Hyundai. Two powerful motors slowly turned large wheels with cables running through them like spokes. These cables then entered a framework and ran through the top and dropped down to wooden structures. This unlikely assembly of components created a mystical, tide-like sensation that was hard to resist. The gentle movement of wooden boxes up and down, perfectly linked the mechanics of engineering with the beauty of good design.
In Ventura Lambrate, both Takt Project and Shiori Aiba used colour and craft in interesting ways which stood out. Takt Projects DIY, (Dye It Yourself), looked to merge mass production with self expression, supplying simply-designed mass produced chairs with a dye kit. This concept of personalisation, which may not be all that new, was interesting due to the reaction of the dye. The primary colour dyes merged like watercolours, creating fades and ombres to satisfy anyone willing to give it a try.
Shiori Aiba displayed clothing made from paper produced using the traditional Japanese technique of Washi. This technique was recently added to UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list, due to its high quality and the skill required to produce it. Made from the inner bark of Japanese shrubs, it has long fibres making it incredibly strong, flexible and durable. It is also breathable and protects against UV rays. Shiori comments that ‘paper is an ancient material and was highly valued in the past, today it has simply become banal.’ She aims to challenge this perception taking inspiration from the traditional Japanese techniques.
Overall it was a great design week, and there were of course many many more things to see than I can comment on here. For further reading on these pieces, please take a look through the links below.
James Plant Design Studio