A serendipitous design week

our best memories of Milan Design Week 2017

Patrizia Coggiola April 2017
FuoriSalone turns Milan into a gigantic, almost borderless exhibition platform, whose limits are steadily, unforeseeably spreading, if not disappearing from view. Every year new palaces, backyards, old apartments, not to mention tens of abandoned factories, are added to the list we thought we would be able to master from previous years of practice. Instead, the overwhelming escalation of events and districts, impossible to grasp and see all of them, leaves us with the sheer sense of the ultimate meaning of Milano Design Week. For those who have managed to stay on top of the panic, kept at bay and rejected those ´yet another chair´ spamming events, there is the possibility of enjoying the flow of this serendipitous dimension of design. While many lament the too much of everything and the cluelessness of the whole circus, we feel the fortunate yet beneficial potential of the constant renewing liturgy of collective design sharing. Where the unplanned proximity of different designs, plus the casual and accidentally fortuitous exchange of different unlatching visions, causes a kaleidoscopic effect, running free and revealing maybe the most unconscious, necessary side of the design world. A cathartic experience that pays tribute in similar proportion to the number of drinks enjoyed as well as to the months of research preceding this Milanese abundance. Here we have selected few of our best memories, sharing the flow of Milano Design Week 2017.
Studio Formafantasma
Formafantasma have been showcasing an amazing selection of light installations in Spazio Krizia, the Milanese venue that was closed for a few years. A selection of objects, the majority of which were developed for the Delta Collection (Galleria Giustini Stagetti, Roma) and a series of experiments with light developed for the independent Art Centre Peep-Hole in Milan. //
Human Scale, Recharge cafe
For those who found it hard to survive among the thousands of events there was the green spot created for Humanscale by Todd Bracher, meant as an urban oasis for recharging mind, body and devices in the heart of the Brera Design District. RE:CHARGE Café featured a communal table with state of the art charging stations, built-in biological lighting and a lush green air-purifying wall, made possible by the pioneering vertical agriculture specialists Vertical Field. //
TALISMAN - Contemporary Symbolic Objects was a group exhibition curated by Barbara Brondi & Marco Rainò that featured 46 talismans, made expressly by 46 international designers, which were auctioned during the weekend of the design week in Palazzo Clerici. The exhibit was realized on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of IN Residence, a cultural project that contributes to contemporary debates on design. //
Salviati, Decode/Recode
This year there was a new major venue, the Ventura collective on the premises of Central Station. A good reason to sneak in for the Salviati event Decode/Recode, where two immersive installations, balancing tradition and contemporary impact and pointing out a new way of observing and interpreting the work of the designer. Luca Nichetto and Ben Gorham have worked with Salviati on the creation of a formidable three-way project in which different languages find maximum expression, united by a shared accent on excellence. Glass and Light working together, designed to achieve a range of unique combinations that convey, in each case, the inner beauty of the material in all its guises. The Pyrae/Strata installation invited visitors to go through an immersive experience and observe a series of unique mouth blown objects specifically designed and crafted for the event. // //
Nilufar Depot
Nina Yashar, founder of Nilufar design gallery, presented the new setting for Nilufar depot, a space of 1500 square metres inaugurated in 2015 as a second, larger scenario for her bespoke design gallery. An imaginary room exhibiting new projects by Analogia Project, Atelier Lavit, Baciocchi Associati, Bethan Laura Wood, Carlo Massoud, Claude Missir, CRD studio, Cristina Celestino, david/nicolas, Francesco Faccin e Francesco Meda, Gupica, Hannes Peer, Lindsey Adelman, Maarten De Ceulaer, Martino Gamper, Massimiliano Locatelli, Nuala Goodman, Osanna Visconti di Modrone, Roberto Rota, Zanellato/Bortotto, Vibeke Fonnesberg Schmidt, Xavier Lust. //
At Ventura Lambrate, the edgy gallery Subalterno1 presented Anthropocene, a new exhibition curated by Stefano Maffei and Marcello Pirovano which describes the relationship mankind has with nature and artifacts through a series of conceptual works created by a selection of Italian and international designers. The Milanese design gallery metamorphosed into a tropical diorama where hybrid objects depict a possible conversation - both hostile and calm - between human activities and the surrounding habitat. Among the new projects, Technofossiles and a selection of zoomophic Drones. //
For this year’s edition of the design week, COS partnered with Studio Swine, an artistic collaboration between Japanese architect Azusa Murakami and British artist Alexander Groves. The duo created an immersive, multi-sensory experience entitled New Spring, which fills decommissioned former theatre, Cinema Arti, in central Milan. // //
This year the premium district was 5Vie, the network of old town streets close to the Duomo . One of the highlights was Studio Ossidiana presenting ‘Petrified Carpets’, an installation on show in the courtyard of SIAM (Società di Incoraggiamento Arti & Mestieri), curated by Federica Sala and co-produced by 5VIE: a collection of concrete architectural objects inspired by the ideal gardens found in Persian carpets. The objects come together in an installation that transcends both garden and carpet in a new landscape of objects, amid a space suspended between earthly and ethereal dimensions. // MORE OSSIDIANA PHOTO
At the neoclassical Palazzo Serbelloni, leading quartz manufacturer Caesarstone presented "Stone Age Folk" by Jaime Hayon, the pinnacle event of their year-long collaboration with the world renowned Spanish designer for the 2017 Designer Collaboration Programme. Inspired by flora, fauna and folklore from different cultures, Jaime Hayon designed an architectural pavilion, which references the famous Crystal Palace built in Hyde Park, London for the Great Exhibition of 1851, combining more than 40 Caesarstone colours with metal and stained glass. //
Mindcraft, Spinning Time Machine
Some of Denmark’s best craft makers and designers were selected by famed Danish fashion designer Henrik Vibskov, and were on show in the wonderful historic cloister San Simpliciano, in the heart of Brera. Eighteen makers and designers, including Isabel Berglund’s Spinning Time Machine (picture). //
nendo, Akihiro Yoshida
Japanese studio Nendo was showing new projects at the Jil Sander showroom in an exhibition titled Invisible Outlines, a capsule collection “objectextile” and Sakura, a vase decorated with cherry blossom petals made in collaboration with Sèvres the porcelain manufacturer. Some delicate Nendo wonders to be admired. //
Another small wonder worth scouting out in the 5Vie district was the stunning light installation by Masiero, presenting two new collections signed by Giovanni Battista Gianola and Marc Sadler, together with the impressive Waytomo installation. Technical expertise and an experimental attitude together with engineering skills at their best. //
On the occasion of the Milano Design Week, Swiss bathroom specialist Laufen showcased its rich heritage as well as its future vision in the exhibition “Milestones. Curated Art Show. What?”. The concept is based on a three-dimensional platform of art, a collection of high-tech, abstract and craft objects. In addition to the artistic element, all the objects are produced using new technologies, some of which are having their world premiere in the ceramic world. //
Atelier Swarovski Home
Atelier Swarovski is the ultimate creative expression of Swarovski crystal who are offering cutting-edge jewellery, accessories and home décor items. This year, the brand celebrated its 10th anniversary with a showcase of new collections from Atelier Swarovski Home appearing alongside the first Atelier Swarovski Fine Jewellery Collection and iconic archive pieces of jewellery at the Palazzo Crespi during Milan Design Week. //
Farg & Blanche
A solo exhibition questioning the relationship between hard and soft, presenting more than 10 new objects, all crafted directly by the designer duo Farg & Blanche. They presented their latest work in a large solo exhibition summarizing their tailored approach to furniture design. The inspiration for ARMOUR mon AMOUR derives from an artist-in-residence stay in Japan last year, where Fredrik Färg and Emma Marga Blanche became fascinated with samurai armour and which provoked the design duo to look more closely at armour in general. On show was a series of new products and new techniques featuring metal stitched furniture items. The 200 square metre Teatro Arsenale, formerly a church that is used today as a theatre became an experimental laboratory questioning the relationship between hard and soft materials, production methods, and shapes. //
Passeggiata, an Airbnb Experience
Passeggiata: An Airbnb experience of Milan curated by Martina Mondadori took viewers inside a stunning location in Milan, a 15th -century house which was home to Leonardo da Vinci while he was painting the Last Supper. The house was filled with cabinets of curiosities displaying the personal collections of designers including Dimore Studio, Matteo Thun and Faye Toogood. //
See me, hear me, look at my work! This was the inspiration for Maarten Baas shamelessly using the title “May I Have Your Attention Please?”. The installation for Lensvelt, which will go on to become part of a solo exhibition in the Groninger Museum, featured dozens of whispering horns that come together as a whole. May I Have Your Attention Please? showcased the presentation of the Maarten Baas 101 chair, designed by Maarten Baas for Lensvelt. // //