Milan Design Week 2018 has come and gone and Azure editors were on the ground to take it all in. From the crowded booths at Salone del Mobile to the many Fuorisalone installations throughout the city, here’s a comprehensive wrap-up of what we saw and experienced.
THE LULL BEFORE THE STORM
It was a relatively quiet first day at the Salone del Mobile. According to organizers, however, more than 434,000 visitors ultimately converged under the glass canopies of the FieraMilano exhibition centre to attend the 57th annual edition of the fair. That number is a 17 per cent increase over 2016, when the biennial kitchen and bathroom exhibitions were last held.
NANIMARQUINA’S SHADE AND BLUR LINES
Designed by Begüm Cana Özgür, Nanimarquina’s Shade collection of ombré rugs was expanded to include new colour patterns as well as eight poufs designed by Marcos Catalán. Also among the company’s new releases were Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec’s hypnotic Blur rugs, hand-produced in Pakistan.
BENJAMIN HUBERT’S TAPE COLLECTION FOR MOROSO
A highlight of the Moroso booth was Benjamin Hubert’s Tape series of modular seating and small tables. The colourful pieces are covered with fabric panels held together by strips of polyurethane tape commonly used for sport clothing.
DIARAMA BY MUTINA
OPEN SKY BY PHILLIP K. SMITH FOR COS
Sponsored by the fashion brand COS, Phillip K. Smith’s reflective installation at Palazzo Isimbardi, Open Sky, sought to blur the lines between heaven and earth. It was the California-based artist’s first urban project and consisted of a large, mirrored semi-circle in the palazzo’s courtyard and smaller, sentinel-like ones scattered throughout its gardens.
DESIGNER WATCH #1: LUCA NICHETTO
Here’s Luca Nichetto, seen showing off his Quark wall system for MDF.
ACHILLE CASTIGLIONI HONOURED BY FLOS
Staged in its store on Corso Monforte, Flos’s salute to Achille Castiglioni on the 100th anniversary of his birth was peppered with the lighting legend’s aphorisms. The company also reissued two of the designer’s discontinued fixtures, Ventosa and Nasa.
DELINEA COLLECTION BY SCAVOLINI
Along with a bathroom that does double-duty as a gym, Scavolini presented DeLinea, a complementary system for both kitchen and bathroom. Defined by a strikingly streamlined silhouette, the collection includes accessories like taps, shelves and towel rails.
DESIGNER WATCH #2: MARCIO KOGAN
ON LINES BY JEAN NOUVEL FOR NEMO
Comprised of overlapping multi-hued squares and rectangles, Jean Nouvel’s On Lines lighting fixture for Italian brand Nemo is meant to evoke the lights that illuminate urban skylines.
BEAR LAMP BY KARTELL
The teddy bear mascot that Jeremy Scott resurrected after assuming the creative reins of fashion house Moschino five years ago has become a lamp by Kartell. The release, Kartell says, reflects “the playful, irreverent and colourful style that the two brands have in common.”
BREATH/NG BY KENGO KUMA
A response to the global issues of air pollution and sustainability, Japanese architect Kengo Kuma’s spiraling, six-metre-high installation Breath/ng consisted of 120 hand-folded origami panels made of a cutting-edge fabric that separates and absorbs toxic molecules. Created in partnership with Dassault Systèmes, it was part of the Superstudio Più exhibition Design in the Age of Experience.
DESIGNER WATCH #3: ALFREDO HÄBERLI
Alfredo Häberli (left) animates his Dado modular sofa for Andreu World.
MOOOI SHOWCASE IN TORTONA
Outré accessories and fantastical lighting distinguished Moooi’s typically elaborate Tortona Design District showcase. This year the company also joined forces with Arte to launch a series of wall coverings inspired by extinct animals.
NEW CLASSIC BY MARCEL WANDERS FOR LAUFEN
Swiss brand Laufen provided a sneak peek of its New Classic collection, a first-time collaboration with Marcel Wanders. Their booth, the work of Swiss architects Gabrielle Hächler and Andreas Fuhrimann (afgh), put an emphasis on quality craftsmanship with a sculptural display of negative forms; inside, a series of playful water fountains turned rows of humble toilets into a scene-stealing installation.
OSLO SERIES BY MUUTO
Boasting Kvadrat upholstery, powder-coated aluminum legs and an inner steel frame, Muuto’s colourful Oslo “three-seater” was designed by Anderssen & Voll. The Copenhagen-based company was purchased by Knoll in December.
DESIGNER WATCH #4: MICHAEL ANASTASSIADES
PET LAMP BY ALVARO CATALAN DE OCON AT ROSSANA ORLANDI
Alvaro Catalan de Ocon’s latest PET lamp – part of a series that taps the talents of traditional craftspeople around the world – took up an entire ceiling in a small Rossana Orlandi gallery. This one was made of pandanus by Aboriginal weavers in Australia.
SELETTI’S CORSO GARIBALDI STOREFRONT
A faux distorted lamppost proved a crowd pleaser outside the Seletti outlet on Corso Garibaldi in Brera.
ALTERED STATES BY SNARKITECTURE FOR CAESARSTONE
Produced in collaboration with Caesarstone, Snarkitecture’s Fuorisalone installation Altered States, a riff on the various incarnations of water, had pride of place in the empty Palazzo Elettorale, site of a future Edition hotel.
DORNBRACHT’S RAINMOON SHOWER AND TARA FAUCETS
Los Angeles-based Austrian designer Michael Neumayr stands in front of his Rainmoon (aka Aquamoon in Europe) shower, a minimalist fixture that combines hydrotherapy with chromatherapy. A modern classic, the Tara faucet by Sieger Design for Dornbracht turned 25 last year.
STELLAR WORKS POP-UP IN TORTONA
A sculptural tower of chairs dominated a wall at the Stellar Works showcase in Tortona Design District. New furniture by Space Copenhagen and Stellar Works creative directors Neri&Hu were on display in the space, which aimed to evoke traditional Shanghai neighbourhoods.
THE WRITING ON THE WALLS
Graffiti around the city ranged from bawdy in Brera to sentimental in San Babila.
A graffiti artist makes a political point on a wall near via Magenta, whereas Studio Job conveyed its affection for Milan via a lippy tableau on the side of a landmark rationalist building in the Montenapoleone district.
STREETS AND EATS
As crowds bustled through Piazza del Duomo during the first half of Milan Design Week, a quieter scene unfolded on via della Moscova in Brera.
TACCHINI’S JULEP COLLECTION
Pastel shades and generous rounded forms characterize Tacchini’s new Julep furniture collection designed by Jonas Wagell and inspired by avant-garde fifties furniture.
DESIGNER WATCH #5: NAOTO FUKASAWA
Naoto Fukasawa takes a seat at his Bull table for B&B Italia.
THE DINER BY ROCKWELL GROUP AT VENTURA CENTRALE
A highlight of Ventura Centrale was David Rockwell‘s recreation of an American-style diner in a repurposed vault underneath Milan’s railway tracks. Seen here are scenes from the opening night party.
ZANOTTA BOOTH AT SALONE DEL MOBILE
Graphic inspiration walls featuring a range of motifs lent colour and cohesion to furniture manufacturer Zanotta’s booth at the FieraMilano exhibition centre.
STEEL WASHBASINS BY ALAPE
Part of the Dornbracht family, German manufacturer of enamelled steel washbasins Alape revealed its new nature-inspired matte finishes, which have a pleasingly powdery feel.
FORMS OF MOVEMENT BY NENDO
The crowds were deep at Nendo’s Forms of Movement, a meditation on designer Oki Sato’s methodical creative process. Set against pitch-black backdrops, Sato’s installation explored movement through 10 tools and objects, from zippers and sliding cases to “bouncy furniture” made from polycarbonate sheets. His media included sketches, models and finished products, all rendered in his signature crisp white. There was even a gift shop of sorts at the end.
FONDAZIONE PRADA’S NEW ADDITION
Coinciding with Design Week was the opening of Rem Koolhaas’s Prada Foundation tower, the final architectural piece of the sprawling campus. Rising 60 metres, the white-concrete-and-glass structure features an instantly recognizable geometric profile and offers sweeping views of the neighbouring railyard and city beyond. Six of the nine floors are dedicated to exhibition space for the institution’s permanent collection, mainly large installations by Italian and international artists from the 20th and 21st centuries.
HOUSE IN MOTION AT UNIVERSITÀ DEGLI STUDI DI MILANO
A series of interactive and experimental installations by various architects and designers, Interni’s House In Motion aimed to provoke thought on two matters of social importance today – housing and mobility. Among the standalone structures throughout the university’s inner courtyard were a perfect cube lit from within and a pavilion that distorted perception through faceted mirrored triangles.
Marble on marble on marble distinguished Salvatori’s beautiful showroom in Brera, where rows and rows of designer Elisa Ossino’s spherical Bianco-Carrara-marble Urano floor lamps created a sculptural installation.
CASSINA’S RENOVATED SHOWROOM IN VIA DURINI
Gaetano Pesce’s I Feltri armchairs from 1987 surround the base of the new spiral staircase in Cassina’s via Durini showroom, part of a renovation and extension designed by Patricia Urquiola. The staircase culminates in a metal-clad cupola, connected via a terrace to offices on the top floor of the store.
JEWELS AFTER JEWELS AFTER JEWELS AT FLOS
Michael Anastassiades’ installation for Flos, called Jewels after Jewels after Jewels, demonstrated the flexibility of his new lighting system, the aptly named Arrangements.
MONSTERS BY LASVIT AT TEATRO GEROLAMO
Teatro Gerolamo, a puppet theatre built in 1868, served as a fascinating backdrop for the monster-inspired sculptures and dazzling chandeliers presented by Czech glass manufacturer Lasvit. Live performances and a Max Velcovsky totem made of dozens of blinking TV screens lent the tiny theatre an air of surreality. The installation won the Milano Design Award for best installation of the Salone.
Among the glass curiosities at Teatro Gerolamo were Maarten Baas’s whimsical critters (above left) and Fabio Novembre’s Toyboy (far right), a crystal pleasure aid inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.
ASIF KHAN’S LITTA VARIATIONS/OPUS 4
In collaboration with MoscaPartners and DAMN°, London-based architect Asif Khan created a forest of red trees to fill the courtyard at Palazzo Litta.
NUDE’S NEW COLLECTION AT PALAZZO LITTA
European glass manufacturer Nude’s display of lead-free glassware was almost upstaged by Palazzo Litta’s spectacular interior.