Best Of Milan Design Week 2023 – Top 3 Installations

Highlights Milan Design Week 2023-Baas x Gstar RAW

We have seen fewer installations during the Milan Design Week 2023; this was no surprise considering the moment we are living in. However, the ones we share today were exceptional. 

1. More or Less  – Maarten Baas x G-Star RAW

The fine line between fashion, art and design

“Each year in Milan, I enjoy the tragicomic dialogue between green design and mass consumption. When G-star approached me to work with recycled jeans, this was the perfect opportunity to address this duality dilemma instead of just acting as if we were saving the world.

We’re all part of the puzzle, as we enjoy our prosecco next to the private jet of recycled materials.

We’re well on our way. More or less…”

The installation below took place in San Paolo Converso, a former 16th-century Roman Catholic church in Milan, now utilized as a contemporary art space.

Maarten Baas used G-Star Raw® recycled jeans to translate the idea that we want more and more, knowing it should be less. What better symbol than a private jet and recycled jeans to combine these two features and create a food-for-thought installation?

The Italian brand starts from the base of using 

LESS wasteful materials

to make MORE durable products

to use MORE of what is already there

to do LESS harm to our planet

The LESS vs MORE approach informed Baas to transform recycled jeans into new materials, which would cover a 15m-long private jet for the Milan Design Week. It took five months to finish the adventure.

Highlights Milan Design Week 2023-Baas x Gstar RAW

Highlights Milan Design Week 2023-Baas x Gstar RAW

Highlights Milan Design Week 2023-Baas x Gstar RAW

 

Highlights Milan Design Week 2023-Baas x Gstar RAW

Highlights Milan Design Week 2023-Baas x Gstar RAW

 

Why is this project on our Top 3 highlight list?

When reading the quote above, I had a prosecco in my hand, which was offered next to the private jet. Baas’ reflection stuck with me during the entire Milan week. This duality of witnessing and writing about less consumption, reuse and recycling is preached but not lived during one of the annual design events that create more waste and CO2 emissions.


2. Shaped by Water – Google Design

The fine line between art and design

Regarding consumer experience, the Google Design installation was the best I visited in Milan and in a long time. Here is why:

  1. We (a group of 28 people) received a warm and informative welcome (pic1). You only find a more personal welcome during Milan’s Design Week if it is a night or VIP event (and not even then, oftentimes).
  2. Artist Lachlan Turczan and engineer Kevin Izard were on the spot so that you could ask questions about the installation in the first two rooms.
  3. Google’s hardware designers showed the product development and were open to questions.
  4. You could see a complete CMF setup, which used to be confidential.
  5. No (time-consuming and sometimes annoying, hence confirmation of two emails) registering was necessary. They made it easy if you lined up early;)
  6. No excessive logos anywhere. Once inside the installation, no logo at all.

 

Lachlan Turczan is a Los Angeles-based artist working with water, light and sound. He creates light artworks, kinetic sculptures, and films that often explore natural phenomena and the visualization of sound. The three rooms we were guided into embraced the following experiences:

 

SPACE 1: Sympathetic Resonance

‘Sympathetic Resonance’ comprises an array of mirrored vessels filled with shallow pools of water hum with infrasonic tones, creating cymatic patterns on the water’s surface. As viewers approach the sculptures and navigate the space, their movements are reflected in tone changes and wave patterning.

Each vessel was made with the future in mind. We designed a self-filling, draining and filtration system within each sculpture. Everything is fabricated using hand-polished stainless steel to be installed in gardens and museums worldwide after this weeklong event.
This work was made possible by the support and encouragement of Ivy Ross, a mentor and dear friend.

 

Highlights Milan Design Week 2023-Google Design-©Eclectic Trends

Highlights Milan Design Week 2023-Google Design-©Eclectic Trends

Highlights Milan Design Week 2023-Google Design-©Eclectic Trends

SPACE 2: Wavespace

Wavespace transports viewers into a bath of liquid light. The vibrational energy of music sculpts a pool of water into choreographed waves, transforming water into a kinetic, liquid lens. This natural lens refracts and reflects light overhead into an ever-shifting lattice of imagery using a patented projection optic. The resulting lightwork provides a visual stimulus for viewers to dream with open eyes. Much like cloud-gazing or staring into a fire, this experience is never twice the same and unique to each person. We were first seated and then invited to lie down for 10 minutes to watch the overhead video and listen to its sound- both water-inspired. Imagine making people rest for 10 minutes during Milan Design Week; this was such a treat!

Please go into the highlights on Instagram to see the videos of this moment; the images don’t quite evoke the same experience. The round seating area in the image allowed us to lie back and look towards the ceiling during the sound and video performance.

Highlights Milan Design Week 2023-Google Design-©Eclectic Trends

 

SPACE 3

The hardware designers of Ivy Ross’ team showed us how the drop of water falling on a surface informed the shape of the Google watch and its sphere. The simplicity yet sophistication was mind-blowing. Water evokes a feeling of familiarity and timelessness when used in design. We also had a look at the new Nest Wifi pro. Left: Google Watch; Right: a water-filled container.

Highlights Milan Design Week 2023-Google Design-©Eclectic Trends

The flower table in front gave us a color palette that would be translated into a product line at the back. This type of setup is typical for a CMF presentation. One of the hardware designers explained when I asked him about CMF insights that the hardware designers and CMF designers ( a department of 80 people) would work closely together. Sometimes the hardware team starts an idea and asks for a CMF proposal to match. Still, it could also be vice-versa, beginning with a color, materials and finish concept and eventually turning into a design.

Highlights Milan Design Week 2023-Google Design-©Eclectic Trends

Highlights Milan Design Week 2023-Google Design-©Eclectic Trends

Highlights Milan Design Week 2023-Google Design-©Eclectic Trends

Highlights Milan Design Week 2023-Google Design-©Eclectic Trends

Highlights Milan Design Week 2023-Google Design-©Eclectic Trends

Highlights Milan Design Week 2023-Google Design-©Eclectic Trends

 

Why is this project on our Top 3 highlight list?

Google Design made each visitor feel special. On a mass event, this is quite an accomplishment. Not only did it feel amazing to lie down and rest for 10 minutes, but the coherent approach of ‘we share with you our journey’ was also reflected in the intimate setting of the product line. I thought of being in their design labour where they would share a secret design process with me.

 


3. Living inside-out – Missoni

The fine line between fashion, textiles art and design

Fashion brands flex their muscle during Milan Design Week every year to venture into furniture and object design. The Missoni showroom hosted a collaboration with Jannelli&Volpi with a fantasy landscape of unusual and ironic shapes such as doughnuts, panettones, and soft fabric creatures. Also on display was a crystal-covered swivel stool in collaboration with Swarovski.

All elements are flexible to use, move around in your home and use for different situations; we can’t think of a more versatile home accessory than a pouff.

As a novelty, this year, a “wish desk” on the ground floor allowed visitors to buy and take home the most resonated items. Pieces like cushions, soft toys, mugs, and candles were connected to the display setup by a fil rouge.

Highlights Milan Design Week 2023-Missoni-©Eclectic Trends

 


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Highlights Milan Design Week 2023-Missoni-©Eclectic Trends

Highlights Milan Design Week 2023-Missoni-©Eclectic Trends

 

Why is this project on our Top 3 highlight list?

The installation was colourful, joyful and meant to cheer up spirits. The light-filled space allowed us to sit in the doughnuts (a short relief:) and get light sprinkled by disco balls. It was pure joy, and this is what I loved about it. There was no hidden message, fingerpointing or serious food for thought, and it gave you a break to enjoy yourself.

 

These three selected projects combined raising sustainability awareness, mindfulness and joyful flexibility; translated, these are the three Macro Trends we always work with, which are Nature, Well-being and Urbanisation.

How about some extra inspiration?

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