ELLE Decoration (UK) - - News -

Re­turn­ing from the 56th an­nual Mi­lan fur­ni­ture fair, the big­gest gath­er­ing of man­u­fac­tur­ers and de­sign­ers in Europe that show­cases an ab­so­lute wealth of in­no­va­tion and new de­sign, it struck me that three very spe­cific mo­ments stood out. 1. Mark Eley of fash­ion brand Eley Kishi­moto tak­ing snaps with a cus­tomised Po­laroid cam­era. 2. The ex­tra­or­di­nary ar­ray of mar­ble seem­ingly used ev­ery­where ( but, hot news, pink onyx is the new uber-luxe ma­te­rial du jour). And 3. A short film about the Aus­trian artist Peter Handke and his poem, To Du­ra­tion, shown at the show­room of Ital­ian su­per­brand B&B Italia.

It seemed hugely ironic to me, that here, in the midst of this fes­ti­val of the new, my mem­o­rable trio are re­lated for be­ing com­ments on time­less­ness. Handke’s poem, writ­ten 31 years ago, is a thought­ful ode to the pass­ing of time. The Po­laroid cam­era was in­vented by Ed­win H Land in 1943, de­clared over in 2008 due to low film stock, but brought back from the brink of ex­tinc­tion be­cause one man, Flo­rian Kaps, de­cided it couldn’t be al­lowed to die. And mar­ble, well it’s a prod­uct that’s mil­lions of years old.

It made me re­flect on how happy I am to be­long to a gen­er­a­tion that strad­dles both ana­logue and dig­i­tal. To re­call cas­sette tapes, four TV chan­nels, home phones with an­swer­ing ma­chines, Space In­vaders on a Com­modore and out of or­der pub­lic tele­phone boxes per­haps en­ables a more ful­some ap­pre­ci­a­tion of Ocado, on­line bank­ing, iphones, Ama­zon Prime, In­sta­gram, Twit­ter and Net­flix. In other words, if you’re aware of what life was like be­fore the things deemed so com­mon­place today, you don’t take them for granted; you truly ap­pre­ci­ate the im­prove­ments they lend to life.

The point is, as we in­evitably move for­ward, ex­plor­ing new de­sign so­lu­tions, em­brac­ing ever smarter tech­nol­ogy and the op­por­tu­ni­ties therein for change and bet­ter­ment ( how about a wardrobe with an in-built sys­tem that au­to­mat­i­cally airs and detoxes your clothes?! From Lema. Or a sofa/ bed-in-acloset that re­ally does con­vert from proper sofa to stan­dard-sized com­fort­able bed. From Flou.), let us not for­get the foun­da­tions on which such progress is built. To dis­miss them is to fail to ac­knowl­edge the ties that in­ex­tri­ca­bly con­nect all things to­gether. Whether Po­laroid, as the first in­stant im­age maker, or mar­ble, which will out­last us all, just by ex­ist­ing.

‘As we move for­ward, ex­plor­ing new de­sign so­lu­tions and em­brac­ing op­por­tu­nites for change, let us not for­get the foun­da­tions on which such progress is built’


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