Ar­tisi­nal lux­ury

Michelle Back­house re­flects on min­i­mal­isim and hand­crafted tex­tures

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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.

Ros­sana Or­landi

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.

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.

Ar­ti­sans

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.

1970s

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.

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