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Various media outlets have been quick to note that the biggest event of the year for designers around the world wasn’t quite as mega as years past – a sign of lean economic times in Italy and across Europe. It’s true, attendance at Salone del Mobile dropped slightly, and many notable manufacturers scaled back to one or two new product launches rather than 10 or 12, opting instead to push variations on familiar lines. Edra, for instance, invited the Campana brothers to expand on their well-known sofas and cabinets with a new line of matching beds; and Dedon proffered new colourways for already successful collections, such as Stephen Burks’ Dala series of outdoor seating, adding smaller complementary objects like planters.

But lower volume is too easy a target of criticism. Salone del Mobile has not lost its top-ranking position just yet, and in many ways it was refreshing not to have so many newfangled pieces trotted out just for novelty’s sake. It was also clear that some manufacturers have not slowed down. One only had to visit the Moroso booth to take in a number of impressive new pieces by the likes of Benjamin Hubert, Werner Aisslinger, and Nendo. Off site, Dutch furniture company Moooi put on one of the most talked-about exhibits in years, filling a cavernous warehouse space with dozens of stunning in situ living quarters that showed off products old and new, by Studio Job, Neri & Hu, Nika Zupanc, Joost van Bleiswijk and seven others, including Moooi creative director Marcel Wanders. Titled Unexpected Welcome, the display was a spot of optimism that broke through the economic doldrums.

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1 Pet Lamp by Studio Alvaro Catalán de Ocón
The Pet Lamp, by Studio Alvaro Catalán de Ocón of Madrid and Colombian artisans, takes water bottles out of the trash vortex and weaves them into beautiful pendants, sold individually or in festive clusters. ­petlamp.org

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2 N=N/01 Shelves by Oki Sato and Luca Nichetto
Cartoon voice bubbles inspired designers Oki Sato and Luca Nichetto to produce their N=N/01 Shelves in a Comic Shelf, part of a series of prototypes they launched with help from Glas Italia, among others. ­lucanichetto.com, ­nendo.jp

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3 Bikini Island by Werner Aisslinger
Werner Aisslinger’s Bikini Island for Moroso is a nod to Louis Réard, who invented the two-piece swimsuit. The furniture designer’s multi-purpose sofa is also made of mix-and-match parts, just like a bikini top and bottom. ­moroso.it

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4 Parrish chair by Konstantin Grcic
Made by Emeco with an aluminum tube frame and a wooden seat pan, Konstantin Grcic’s Parrish chair was originally conceived for the Parrish Art Museum, a recently completed project by Herzog & de Meuron in Long Island, New York. ­emeco.net

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5 Concentré de Vie by Matali Crasset
When unpacked from its shell, this Campeggi seating system transforms from a sofa to separate chairs and pouffes that fill a living room. French designer Matali Crasset is the genius behind the piece, named Concentré de Vie. ­campeggisrl.it

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6 Mikado by Front
Working once again with Porro, the Sweden design trio Front has crafted a seductively airy cupboard called Mikado. The two rows of blond wooden slats that make up its doors resemble swaying bamboo grasses. ­porro.com

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7 Desktop pieces by Philippe Malouin
For his first solo show, at Milan’s Project B Gallery, rising star Philippe Malouin presented containers made from concrete; fire-like pendants; and these desktop pieces shaped out of polished and waxed MDF. ­philippemalouin.com

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8 Song coat rack by Lievore Altherr Molina
Lievore Altherr Molina’s Song coat rack for Arper looks like a tree lifted from a Dr. Seuss book, though it was actually inspired by music notes. Available as a free-standing tree with 8, 16 or 24 arms, or in a wall-mounted version. ­arper.com

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9 Clarke by Carlo Colombo
Milan’s Carlo Colombo designed Clarke, a sophisticated table topped with marble, launched by Flexform. The collection includes round side tables, and oval dining tables in two lengths: two metres and 2.6 metres. ­flexformny.com

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10 Mad Chair by Marcel Wanders
Sporting retro wooden spindle legs, Marcel Wanders’ one-armed seat for Poliform is named the Mad Chair, presumably because Don Draper would look right at home lounging in it. Upholstery available in leather or fabric. poliform.it

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11 Dala collection by Stephen Burks
Dedon has expanded its popular Dala collection of outdoor furniture made from recycled food packaging to include planters and lanterns, all designed by New York’s Stephen Burks. ­dedon.de

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12 Raphia chair by Lucid Pevere
Lucid Pevere’s Raphia chair for Casamania represents a perfect material combination: a strong metal frame coupled with delicately woven rattan. Base colours include black, white, bordeaux and azure. ­casamania.it

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13 Plantrellis by Luca Nichetto
One of many beautiful new designs by Milan’s own Luca Nichetto, Plantrellis for Berga offers an elegant option for potted climbing plants. Made of fibre cement and coated steel in black, white, green, mint green or orange. ­berga-form.se

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14 Room divider by Camilla Richter
Composed of dichroic-filter glass embedded into movable frames, this room divider by Camilla Richter bathes interiors in colourful patterns as the sun hits it. The piece is part of Cappellini Next, a series of four prototypes from young designers hand picked by Giulio Cappellini. ­cappellini.it

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15 Haussmann 310 by Trix and Robert Haussmann
Does this seat look familiar? Walter Knoll has just relaunched the tuft­ed Bauhaus classic Haussmann 310, which Trix and Robert Hauss­mann originally designed in 1962. walterknoll.de

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16 Hive Ottoman by Atelier Oï
Switzerland’s Atelier Oï used leather scraps found on the workshop floors of B&B Italia to form the 3‑D upholstery that covers Hive Ottoman, a metal-framed hexagonal side table that doubles as a seat. ­bebitalia.it

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17 Mate by [A+B]
For Living Divani, Milan studio [A+B] decided to turn a chair upside down just to see what it would look like. They saw Mate, a ladderback seat and coat valet that makes an impressive entrance piece, available in white or black. ­livingdivani.it

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18 Mangas Space collection by Patricia Urquiola
Patricia Urquiola’s super-soft modules – one square, the other rectangular – match up with a new line of cross-shaped rugs. The cozy seating expands on her Mangas rugs series for Gan. ­gan-rugs.com

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19 DS-9011 table by Angie Anakis
With a slightly skewed geometry and a glossy reflective interior, the DS‑9011 table by Angie Anakis turns an ordinary square into an ­eye-­catching form. Available from De Sede. ­desede.com

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20 Booken by Raw Edges
London’s Raw Edges designed this unique bookcase without shelves for Lema. Called Booken, it supports the volumes on a series of horizontal wooden slats set within the frame. ­lemamobili.com

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21 Redwood by Piero Lissoni
Piero Lissoni’s Rodwood for Living Divani consists of sink-into-me down-filled cushions nested within a wood panel frame. The system incorporates a side table that doubles
as an additional seat for impromptu conversations. ­livingdivani.it

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22 Folly by Rona Arad
When it comes to the works of Ron Arad, the line between sculpture and design is very thin. Folly, his latest objet d’art for Magis, is an indoor-outdoor bench formed with rotational-moulded polyethylene. It comes in one colour: rusty metal brown. ­magisdesign.com

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23 Cloud sofa by Marcel Wanders
Moooi’s off-site exhibit, Unexpected Welcome, was the talk of the town during Milan Design Week. Among the Dutch studio’s range of new products: Marcel Wanders’ inviting Cloud sofa. ­moooi.com

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24 Textile by Ana Llobet
To make Textile, six galvanized steel panels are stitched together with braided rope to evoke conspicuous clothing seams. Designer Ana Llobet came up with the concept in 2010, and Gandia Blasco now produces it with nine rope colour options. gandiablasco.com

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25 14/28 cupboard by Ron Gilad
For a while now, Ron Gilad has been crafting furnishings that rest on tiny metal Thonet chairs for Adele‑C. The miniature chairs have turned up again in two new cupboards made
of Italian walnut. ­adele-c.it

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26 Dream chair by Tadao Ando
Launched as a prototype in 2012, the Dream chair by Tadao Ando is now in production by Carl Hansen & Son. Made from a single plywood sheet, it pays tribute to Ando’s favourite designer and master of bentwood furniture, Hans J. Wegner. ­carlhansen.com

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27 Deepsea by Oki Sato
Oki Sato of Nendo always imbues his objects with a visual lightness. For Deepsea, a low table for Glas Italia, he incrementally intensified the blue of the glass elements as they decrease in distance from one another, a strategy that heightens the chromatic effect. ­glasitalia.com

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28 Tools for Life by Rem Koolhaas
The signature piece of Tools For Life, Rem Koolhaas’s debut collection for Knoll, is 04 Counter, a three-tiered stack of boxes joined by internal bearings and rails, which allow it to swivel into position as a bar and bench. ­knoll.com

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29 Zantilàm by Patricia Urquiola
Patricia Urquiola fashioned rope into upholstery for her all-natural, steam-curved wooden chair, Zantilàm. It’s manufactured by Very Wood in beechwood and ash. ­verywood.it

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30 Membrane by Benjamin Hubert
To create the lightest possible armchair, Benjamin Hubert stretched a 3‑D-woven textile mesh over a CNC-milled frame. Made for ClassiCon, Membrane can be easily picked up and moved, even to a balcony when the sun comes out. ­classicon.com

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31 My World lounger by Philippe Starck
Philippe Starck’s all-in-one My World lounger for Cassina has multiple built-ins, including a work surface, a bookcase, and a privacy screen. The cushions are down filled for extreme comfort. ­cassina.com

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32 Favela Bed by Fernando and Humberto Campana
Leave it to Brazil’s Campana brothers to change up the bedroom in a sensational way. Favela Bed, made of wooden boards glued into place as if haphazardly, is one of
five sleepers they launched with Edra. ­edra.com

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33 Uncle Jack sofa by Philippe Starck
To manufacture Philippe Starck’s transparent polycarbonate Uncle Jack sofa, Kartell created what it claims is the most complex mould ever attempted. The six-­legged piece is part of the Aunts and Uncles indoor-outdoor seating collection. ­kartell.com


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These three installations on view during Milan Design Week explored materials old and new in inventive ways
By Nina Boccia

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Prefab Wood
Interni’s Hybrid Architecture & Design exhibit was all about material explorations that paired manufac­turers with well-known architects and designers. Using eco-friendly pre­fabricated wooden panels by Wolf Haus, Milan’s Luca Scacchetti constructed the most outstanding display: a 16-metre-long volume that gave an elevated perspective of the surrounding 17th‑century architecture. ­wolfhaus.it

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LED-Embedded Textiles
Patricia Urquiola’s first textile collection for Kvadrat, is the Danish mill’s first media-­integrated product as well. Embedded with Philips LEDs, the acoustic upholstery debuted in a festive display at Moroso’s showroom, where it was suspended at the entrance. Inside, the main space featured revolving panels clad in the fabrics, which also appeared on the tectonic plate-­inspired Rift sofa, in rusted orange hues. ­kvadrat.dk

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Silent Engines
BMW’s eco-focused brand BMW i asked Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec to come up with a way of demonstrating how quiet the forthcoming i8 model will be when it finally hits the road. The duo devised three spinning carousels powered by the sports car’s silent electric engine. To indicate that the engine was actually running, the Paris designers hung strips of carbon fibre textile from the structure’s rooftop edges – evoking something of a super-chic car wash. ­bmw-i.com

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