I am still browsing through hundreds of images, organizing ideas and common threads. This has been a special Salone del Mobile 2016. I have the impressions, brands start doing their very own thing and do not follow too much a specific trend anymore. Meanwhile, I am working on a larger dossier, please note today some of the great installations throughout the city.
For those, who are not too familiar with the Salone, I’d like to sum-up the event in three areas:
A) Obviously, there is the fairground with more than 20 pavilions, hundreds of exhibitors and a jaw-dropping offer of furniture, accessories and lighting design.
B) But my favorite part takes place in different districts all over Milan these days where young designers and brands showcase their proposals in hangars, backyards and abandoned offices. The vibe is fresh, innovative and often rather unconventional.
C) And then you find installations all over the city, too. Palaces and cloistered courtyards open to the public just for a few days where the environment is as important as the design objects exhibited.
This was rather an eye-catching exploration of wood, coloured dye, and herringbone motifs contrasting with the industrial back drop, all while putting visitors in the position of design themself a few planks.
They were invited to dye pine planks by dipping them in buckets of coloured dye with different pigment concentration (see above), and then arrange them into beautiful patterns in a group design experience.
I have been following these guys for a while and I LOVE how they work with color and pattern!
2// NENDO – 50 Manga Chairs
I discovered three years ago at the Stockholm Furniture fair the Nendo Design Studio, and since then try to never miss their proposals. This year, Nendo came up with a brilliant concept rooted in Japanese culture.
Manga is a means of expression with a high degree of flatness and abstraction, and which is composed of a series of lines. We could say that manga comics have been part of Japanese culture since the Edo period (1603-1868 A.D.).
The installation of 50 Manga Chairs is the result of adapting the strong symbolic nature of manga comics to furniture design. Manga consists of a series of frames on a single sheet of paper that creates a sequence. Similarly, 50 standard chairs are lined up in a grid, each one conjures up a sense of story, and each with a design element from manga.
For example, a “speech bubble” or “effect line” are added to visualize sound or action. Or emotional symbols from manga, like “sweat” or “tears”, are formed so that a sense of story and character can be felt. With the abstraction of manga comics in mind, physical aspects such as colour and texture are intentionally avoided as much as possible. Instead, a complete mirror finish is opted for, which generates new spatial layers as the mirror surface reflects the real world (a fantastic blue sky here), just like manga does.
3// The Restaurant by TOM DIXON and CAESARSTONE
Known for presenting memorable, interactive installations in Milan, quartz manufacturer Caesarstone is collaborating with celebrated British designer Tom Dixon on a multi-sensory creation.
4// LADIES & GENTLEMEN
I never stop wondering where all these palazzos and beautifully decayed historic buildings come from. With every single visit, I discover new enchanting spots, they are like never-ending.
The collective exhibition of Ladies & Gentlemen curated by PS and Secondome showcases works and displays by more than 15 designers. Each one was given a room in a fine old Milan mansion, left empty for years. The decorated rooms are filled with the finest Italian productions and new craftwork, a feast for the eye.
The installation reminded me of Casa Decor in Barcelona where different interior designers create a room with their very own signature, and you can see several proposals and styles of bath rooms, bed rooms, kitchens, etc. Of course, this time ceiling, walls and flooring remain in their original state.
This is just a very first impression, stay tuned for much more to come. G, x