Getting details of furniture to be launched at Milan is like getting blood out of a stone. Getting photographs is even harder. The impression is that, two weeks ahead of the event, everything is still in the factory and not even the names of new lines have been finalised. Such is show business.
What is clear is that the Cologne Fair in January was more of a launchpad this year, not just for German manufacturers (DW 5 February). Many of the images available in advance of Milan, even for Italian companies such as Ycami and Segis, are for products that made their debut there, though we can expect to see some new lines or refinements to earlier prototypes at the Milan fairground.
The Oxo seating range by Nigel Coates will be shown by Hitch Mylius, for example – this time with a twist, we’re promised – at Nigel Coates Now, an event hosted by Italian manufacturer Arredaesse Produzioni at the Museo Minguzzi, 11 Via Palermo. The show will also feature furniture by Coates for Arradaesse and UK manufacturer Lloyd Loom.
Danish furniture giant Fritz Hansen, meanwhile, is planning to show the VicoSolo chair – the third in a collection by Italian master Vico Magistretti – at the MC Selvini showroom at 3 Via C Poerio. VicoSolo was first seen at Cologne and has since had a London viewing.
The Brits look set to do well again, though. Quite apart from Matthew Hilton’s latest works, Jasper Morrison will be shown by Cappellini at 4 Via St Cecilia with an exhibition called Homework. The Italian manufacturer/retailer will meanwhile show more of its wares at Spazio Cappellini, 12 Via Statuto.
London manufacturer SCP will again feature work by the likes of Terence Woodgate, Andrew Stafford and Michael Marriott, as well as fabrics from Bute, on its stand at the main fair. Launches there will include Terence Woodgate’s first bed, named REM with a sprung soft headboard, solid ash frame and stainless steel legs, and Croquet shelving by Marriott.
Woodgate is also showing a bar stool, called Detour “because the legs do just that on their way to the ground, and, by doing so, provide a footrest”, says Woodgate. “It came about when I was bored and unfolded a paper clip,” he adds. “It’s amazing how boredom can be productive.”
Italian company Driade is continuing to fÃªte British design on a stand at the Milan fair. Hilton, Ross Lovegrove and Pentagram partner Daniel Weil will all have projects there, along with French star Philippe Starck. Driade’s kitchen designs, created in-house by Antonia Astori, can be seen at its shop at 30 Via Manzoni.
Cassina, whose showroom in Via Durini is always worth a visit, still has its launches under wraps. But Swiss/German rival Vitra is bolder in its pre-show promotions. On a stand that is likely to set a benchmark for design quality at the fair, it is planning to show new Vitra Standards, including work by Brits Ron Arad and Morrison, as well as Emilio Ambasz, Denis Santachiara and Maarten Van Severen. Much of it will be familiar to regular fair followers – Arad’s Tom Vac chair, for example. Such is the way with furniture and its many incarnations in prototype form. But Vitra rarely disappoints and is always worth a visit.
There will, of course, be much worth seeing outside the fair. Top of that list has to be the Arad collaboration with Ingo Maurer at Krizia, 21 Via Manin; work by Swedish group Snowcrash at 5 Via Palermo; and the show by Dutch innovator Droog Design at Spazio La Posteria, 5-7 Via G Sacchi, which focuses on three commissioned projects. All three groups manage to blend art with technical development that delights and excites. That surely is the essence of Milan.