With the Milan Furniture Fair kicking off next week, we look at some of the more eye-catching exhibitions and pieces going on show.
In a separate piece, we’ve also asked a series of experts what they think are the key contemporary trends in furniture design – you can read the thought’s of Sebastian Conran, SCP’s Sheridan Coakley, Fiera Magazine’s Katie Tregiddan and others here.
The big-brand tie-ups
As ever, the big brands have a strong presence at this year’s fair, enlisting a series of prominent international designers to create bespoke works.
For its installation, car brand Lexus is creating a “Journey of the Senses”, working with designer Philippe Nigro and chef Hajime Yoneda. Lexus is promising a complete sensory experience – for the eyes, ears, nose, fingertips and tastebuds.
Fellow car brand Mini meanwhile has brought in Jaime Hayon to create an installation that “conjures up visions of tomorrow’s urban mobility in the form of an imaginary world”.
Hayon has also designed two variants of the Mini Citysurfer – an electric kickscooter – as well as a road made of Carrara marble, shiny brass lamps and a “playful mask” helmet.
Airbnb is working with Fabrica to create Housewarming, an experiential installation that will look at the relationships between guests and hosts.
The installation will be hosted at Palazzo Crespi and feature the work of 19 international designers.
Meanwhile SodaStream says it is set to “disrupt the drinks industry” with its new SodaStream MIX product, designed by Yves Behar. SodaStream says MIX is the first appliance “to carbonate any and all liquids, from pure fruit juices to alcoholic beverages”. It is being presented in Milan at the Alchemy Lounge, a diamond-shaped pop-up bar also designed by Behar.
The Brits abroad
Among the UK designers decamping to Milan for the week will be Barber & Osgerby, who are presenting a new lounge chair for Knoll and glass tables and cabinets for Glasitalia.
As part of Designjunction, Tom Dixon is taking over a 400m2 abandoned theatre within the Casa dell’Opera Nazinalle Balilla, to showcase new works including the Melt lighting globes and the Wingback chairs.
And Lee Broom is set to hold his largest show to date, taking over a street of disused shops on Via Alfredo Cappellini to create the Department store, which will feature more than 20 new products including the Hanging Hoop Chair and the Crescent Light.
Hosted at Casa dell’Opera Nazionale Balilla, designjunction edit Milan will showcase the work of 30 design brands and also features pop-up shops, installations and a café.
Among those showing at designjunction will be Tom Dixon, Modus and Case Furniture, while Jaguar will be showing their latest XE sports saloon model, alongside the aluminium Word Cloud sculpture.
As part of Tortona Design Week, Designersblock will be taking over a space in Ex-Ansaldo, a former industrial space on Via Tortona, where it will be showing furniture, lighting, textiles, surface patterns, illustration, ceramics and accessories.
At the Triennale di Milano, Germano Celant will be curating the Arts & Foods exhibition, which will look at food related design from 1851 to the present day. This will comprise a series of exhibitions and installations across the 7,000m2 Triennale space.
Design Academy Eindhoven certainly has the most striking exhibition title. The academy’s “Eat Shit” show at Ventura Lambrate will delve into the politics of how, where and why we eat and promises “part exhibition, part public laboratory”.
Featured in the show will be Arne Hendricks’ Pigeon Poo Tower, Marloes van Bennekom’s Outdoor Pharmacy and a timeline created by Jason Page showing more than 400 food- or faeces-related graduation project from 1976 onwards.
Be Open is hosting “a journey through the scents” at the Botanical Garden of Brera and is promising “a sophisticated interdisciplinary project with the central theme of perfume”.
And MIT’s self-assembly lab is bringing a prototype of the first self-building table to Milan.
In a collaboration with material manufacturer Wood-Skin, the lab has created a table that can turn from flat-pack to full functionality straight out of the box – without you having to lay a finger on it…