Michelle Backhouse reflects on minimalisim and handcrafted textures
We love how the fiera has transitioned into an exhibition that encompasses the whole of Milan – brands that can’t afford to exhibit bring in trucks and open the doors. For us, it’s about getting out and seeing what people are doing. It feeds the soul.
We make a beeline there because we applaud her endeavours in helping young designers get their products out to the world. She’s been instrumental in helping some really successful designers on their way, including Stellar Works and PET Lamp.
They craft castoff plastic bottles into beautiful lamps. Last year they did a huge project with an Aboriginal community in Northern Australia, which was on show. It’s an exciting company to be working with because there’s integrity in what they do – they really respect the maker.
For two or three years now we’ve noticed a move back to handmade. Even with big global brands and industrialisation and technology, there’s still this heartfelt journey that a lot of young artisans are using their own backgrounds and stories to inform their designs.
There was a move this year towards more dramatic, energising palettes. Lots of yellow, red and orange and clashing patterns – terracotta was really big and so was chocolate, even rich blues. Kartell collaborated with JJ Martin who runs a business selling vintage fabrics. It’s really fun and gorgeous – we’ve ordered it all!
Maximalism and texture
There’s a lot of chat about this trend and its imbued with a little luxury. We saw big, soft, undulating sofas. Velvet is still really strong – those rich, tactile fabrics. Jens Risom did a beautiful chair for Stellar Works, which we’ve ordered, in an orange fabric designed in the 1960s. And Space Copenhagen collaborated with Stellar Works on a new sofa called ‘Infinity’, in the most luxurious and tactile blush velvet.
Above Michelle Backhouse in the garden at Rosanna Orlandi’s store, a converted umbrella factory where she regularly launches new designers.