Col­lab­o­ra­tion, craft and con­science

Sus­tain­able sen­si­bil­i­ties and small-run pro­duc­tion cap­tured the zeit­geist at Mi­lan De­sign Week.

HOME Magazine NZ - - Contents - Text — Emma Fox Der­win Pho­tog­ra­phy — Mary Gaudin

A slower pace emerges at Mi­lan De­sign Week

This year’s edi­tion of Mi­lan De­sign Week saw a num­ber of dis­tinct shifts mov­ing the an­nual event in new di­rec­tions, cre­at­ing a di­verse and sub­tler of­fer­ing for 2017 visi­tors. Ex­pe­ri­en­tial projects of­fered new sen­sory in­ter­ac­tions; lim­ited-edi­tion ob­jects hand­made by de­sign­ers and crafts­peo­ple pre­vailed. An un­der­ly­ing tone of slow­ing de­sign to­ward sus­tain­able longevity emerged in pock­ets across the city and out at the main Salone at Rho. A new venue, Ven­tura Cen­trale, opened re­veal­ing long-hid­den parts of the city; Salone del Mo­bile cel­e­brated 20 years of sup­port­ing new tal­ent through the 20th edi­tion of Salone Satel­lite; be­he­moth pro­ducer IKEA pre­sented an un­ex­pected of­fer­ing at Lam­brate; and the themes of craft, con­science and col­lab­o­ra­tion emerged, clearly defin­ing the gestalt of Mi­lan 2017. An­niver­saries and new part­ner­ships saw cross-dis­ci­plinary col­lab­o­ra­tions be­tween de­sign­ers and es­tab­lished brands, some not nor­mally as­so­ci­ated with Mi­lan De­sign Week. These col­lab­o­ra­tions pro­duced ex­pe­ri­en­tial in­stal­la­tions across the city. For the 20th an­niver­sary of iconic Dutch mag­a­zine Frame, Sabine Marcelis and Ae­sop (6) col­lab­o­rated on an in­stal­la­tion for Ae­sop’s flag­ship on Corsa Ma­genta. Marcelis com­bined her sig­na­ture neon arcs with large trans­par­ent tubes, air and wa­ter to cre­ate ‘Ve­dovelle Fountain’. The fountain pro­vided fresh drink­ing wa­ter for visi­tors, while ex­plor­ing how the mo­tion of wa­ter, in com­bi­na­tion with ma­te­rial el­e­ments and light, can im­prove and change the per­cep­tions of light, ma­te­ri­als and space within its in­stalled en­vi­ron­ment. Swedish min­i­mal­ist cloth­ing fran­chise COS paired with Stu­dio Swine (7) in Cinema Arti, a the­atre orig­i­nally de­signed by Mi­lanese ar­chi­tect Mario Ceregh­ini in the 1930s. At the cen­tre of the black­ened space tow­ered a bright white tree-like struc­ture that bloomed with ethe­real bubbles, which dis­si­pated into mist on con­tact. The in­stal­la­tion was in­spired by Italy’s many pub­lic wa­ter foun­tains – rather than of­fer­ing wa­ter, this in­stal­la­tion of­fered visi­tors a new sen­sory ex­pe­ri­ence. At Ven­tura Lam­brate, Swedish giant IKEA (3) took up res­i­dence in a huge ware­house to present the IKEA Fes­ti­val, a multi-modal

week-long event in­volv­ing nu­mer­ous col­lab­o­ra­tions with artists, entrepreneurs, mu­si­cians, in­ven­tors and de­sign­ers. Most note­wor­thy was the teaser launch of the new ‘Yp­perlig’ col­lec­tion, the re­sult of the on­go­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Dan­ish brand Hay and IKEA, launch­ing in Europe in Oc­to­ber. This col­lec­tion presents fresh and orig­i­nal de­sign for IKEA, in­clud­ing a re­design of the iconic Frakta IKEA bag in new, more sub­tle tones of grey and for­est green, and a beau­ti­ful in­jec­tion-moulded arm­chair. The 35-piece col­lec­tion also in­cludes fur­ni­ture, light­ing, tex­tiles and home­wares. Small-scale brands and de­signer-gen­er­ated pro­duc­tion con­tin­ues to see an on­go­ing resur­gence of hand-made craft and one­off man­u­fac­tur­ing. This, com­bined with lim­ited-pro­duc­tion edi­tions, com­mis­sions and an in­ter­est in cul­tur­ally tra­di­tional ob­jects, re­sulted in a di­verse range of ex­hi­bi­tions. Nor­we­gian Crafts pre­sented ‘Ev­ery­thing is Con­nected’, bring­ing to­gether 24 in­di­vid­ual de­sign­ers, craft artists and studios from around Nor­way into a truly beau­ti­ful, em­phat­i­cally Nordic ex­hi­bi­tion in the Lam­brate district. Cu­rated by Ka­trin Greil­ing, the ex­hi­bi­tion de­fined how Nor­we­gian craft and de­sign co-ex­ist to­day. The se­lec­tion in­cluded fur­ni­ture, small ob­jects, light­ing, ceram­ics and a three-di­men­sional rug crafted from thick mus­tard-coloured rope. GamFratesi was com­mis­sioned by Kvadrat to show­case the new ‘Can­vas 2’ and ‘Steel­cut Trio 3’ tex­tile colours and range, which pro­duced a se­ries of in­di­vid­u­ally crafted masks draw­ing in­spi­ra­tion from tra­di­tional African tribal masks, and were ex­hib­ited at the Kvadrat show­room on Corso Mon­forte. Jaime Hayon and Cae­sar­stone (14) also drew in­spi­ra­tion from craft, masks and folk­lore from dif­fer­ent cul­tures along­side Hayon’s sig­na­ture clown faces. Hayon com­bined stone, steel and stained glass,

gen­er­at­ing a se­ries of bold one-off pieces to cre­ate a kalei­do­scopic ex­hi­bi­tion at the Palazzo Ser­bel­loni. Ja­panese icon Nendo, led by Oki Sato (11) pre­sented an edi­tion of ‘In­vis­i­ble Out­lines’ at the Jil San­der show­room. The quintessen­tially Nendo ex­hi­bi­tion was the epit­ome of crafted calm – sub­tle white and beau­ti­fully lit, draw­ing to­gether a di­verse range of Nendo’s work from pro­duc­tion pieces to one-off and lim­ited-edi­tion in­stal­la­tions. Span­ish pow­er­house Pa­tri­cia Urquiola col­lab­o­rated with art direc­tor Fed­erico Pepe to re­alise a se­ries of cab­i­nets ex­plor­ing the con­tem­po­rary use of stained glass for fur­ni­ture, which they pro­duced us­ing thou­sand-year-old tech­niques for bou­tique Spazio Pon­tac­cio in Br­era. A sense of au­then­tic­ity and sus­tain­abil­ity emerged in Mi­lan this year. Two ex­hi­bi­tions demon­strated how end-of-life ma­te­ri­als can be given au­then­tic new form, in two dis­tinctly dif­fer­ent ways. Paul Cocksedge (17) pre­sented work de­vel­oped from ma­te­rial ex­ca­vated from the foun­da­tion of his Hack­ney stu­dio in Lon­don. The works paired re­claimed and re­fined con­crete, mor­tar and brick cylin­ders, rem­i­nis­cent of a strange hy­bridised ex­tru­sion, with glass to cre­ate a tex­tu­ral se­ries of fur­ni­ture – this in­cluded a multi-level shelf and a num­ber of ta­bles with vary­ing com­po­si­tions and scales. Max Lamb and Re­ally CPH/Kvadrat (16) pre­sented a se­ries of benches and chairs in the Br­era district to show­case and launch their new, fully up-cy­cled cir­cu­lar man­u­fac­tured Solid Tex­tile Board and acous­tic tex­tile felt. Both ma­te­ri­als are en­gi­neered from end-of-life cot­ton and wool sourced from the fash­ion and tex­tile in­dus­tries, in­dus­trial laun­dries, house­holds and of­f­cuts from Kvadrat. In Den­mark alone, hun­dreds of tonnes of tex­tiles are in­cin­er­ated each year at their end of life. Re­ally re­moves this waste stream by turn­ing it into unique, high-qual­ity sheet ma­te­rial.

15. Ta­bles at Di­more Stu­dio. 16. A de­tail of a bench de­signed by Max Lamb for Re­ally CPH/ Kvadrat. 17. Shelv­ing and a ta­ble by Paul Cocksedge in­cor­po­rate ma­te­ri­als ex­ca­vated from the foun­da­tions of his soon-to-be­de­mol­ished stu­dio in Hack­ney, Lon­don. 18. Pa­tri­cia Urquiola and art direc­tor Fed­erico Pepe col­lab­o­rated to cre­ate stained­glass fur­ni­ture us­ing an­cient Ital­ian ar­ti­san tech­niques.

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