This week: The Macef giftware show in Milan

This week: The Macef giftware show in Milan
Eero Aarnio's watering can for Alessi

Macef, the twice-yearly international housewares show, takes over Milan with the best in tableware, textiles, jewelry and quirky gifts from Italy and around the world.

If you like to plan your holiday gift-giving well in advance of the onset of fall, Macef’s big September expo, featuring 2,000 exhibitors, is a good place to start. Here’s a crib sheet of what to check out.

1. Alessi’s known for the whopping volume of products it introduces each season – last spring the manufacturer launched over 100 new items. This fall, it’s taking a “less, but better” approach. For this minimalist collection, Finland’s Eero Aarnio, the man behind the iconic ball and bubble chairs, has designed a watering can made of thermoplastic resin with a mischievous feel.

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2. Italian manufacturer Atipico unveils its new Irony lanterns, inspired by tatting and lace. The delicate light fixtures are made of vintage iron and come in four fretted patterns, featuring either geometrical or baroque cut-outs.

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3. As part of the Sustainable Home exhibition, which highlights over 80 eco-friendly products, Essent’ial will present the Ecopoltrona Straccio, an armchair born from unused raw materials. Although it looks like fragile paper, the chair actually features a glossy, washable surface.

4. It’s all in the tilt. Atmosphere will be showing off its new Anglo line of design globes characterized by their unusual slope. The chromium-plated metal base is precisely weighted so the 25-centimetre globe is perfectly stable, despite its lopsided angle.

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5. Italy’s Seletti always shows off a plethora of fun products and this year is no exception. The Hybrid collection, designed by Ctrlzak Art & Design Studio, explores the cross-fertilization between Western and Eastern aesthetics. The ceramic plates, which are made of two separate plates sliced and fused together, offer the best of both worlds.

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6. Finally, it wouldn’t be Macef without new playful offerings by Pantone. This year, Seletti reveals Christmas baubles featuring the classic Pantone colours and a reprise of the folding chair, this time, in kiddie-size.

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