Rather audaciously, organisers declare, ‘Milan, and Milan alone dictates the trends!’
Whether or not this is wholly true, the city is certainly hosting a huge range of forward-thinking exhibitions and events.
More than 2,500 exhibitors will be showcasing their wares inside the fair’s main space, the Milan Fairgrounds Pavilions, with a huge number of satellite events flanking the central hub.
To help navigate around the design behemoth of Milan, consultancy A-Marks Factory has created the Globetrotting Design website, which allows visitors to create customised itineraries for products and events. People can set agendas to view the products they’re most interested in by criteria such as location, category, materials, company reputation and launch date of the product.
Following its debut at last year’s Milan Furniture Fair, the MOST design destination is returning with what looks to be a very visually and conceptually exciting display of renowned brands and designers and emerging talent.
Housed in the Museum of Science and Technology, this year’s MOST channels the idea of ‘disrupting design’, whether through new innovations in technology or forward thinking, ‘disruptive’ ideas. MOST says, ‘Events, exhibitions and installations will challenge existing models of routes to market, industry norms and the position of the designer in the supply chain.’
The space will also cater to thirsty, homesick Brits with Tom Dixon’s Grand British Tea House, situated in the shop space of his Rough and Smooth exhibit. Dixon’s new Eclectic collection will be used to serve quintessentially British treats such as cucumber sandwiches, Ploughman’s and freshly baked scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam.
For MOST Dixon has also teamed up with lighting specialists Megaman, who work solely with LEDs. Megaman’s lighting will be used throughout MOST, illuminating exhibitions including two-year old brand Stellar Works, which alongside making its own pieces, will present reissues from the likes of Italian designer Carlo Forcolini and Danish architects Børge Mogensen, Vilhelm Wohlert and Mogens Andersen.
In the Olivetan monastery cloisters area of the museum, final year students from Central Saint Martins’ Textile Futures course will go all Madonna on us, looking to ‘re-think the future of the material world’, according to MOST.
Another futuristic offering comes in the tasty shape of the School of Form show Let’s Cook The Future. In a project led by second year students from the Industrial Design Dept, a robot called KUKA will prepare a meal in front of visitors – who can taste it afterwards.
Supervised by MOST exhibitor Oskar Zięta and sociologist Agata Nowotny, Let’s Cook The Future ‘aims to help students expand their knowledge of robotics and seek design inspirations to create a completely different approach to food design’.
Be Open, the people behind the Sound Portal unveiled at last year’s London Design Festival, are also looking to food and robotics in their Food Theatre at the Moroso showroom. Be Open’s House of the Senses installation, created by architect and designer Christophe Pillet, is described as a ‘contemplative pavilion’, staging talks about the ‘sensory future’, according to Be Open, from speakers including ‘creatives, sociologists and entrepreneurs’.
Among the new launches at the main spce are Fritz Hansen’s Ro™ easy chair by Jaime Hayon; Portuguese furniture brand Boco Do Lobo’s opulent green and gold emerald sideboard.
Meanwhile FLOS will be launching a special re-edition of some gorgeous pieces designed by Gino Sarfatti for Arteluce in the 1950s and 1960s, as well as new lights by Paul Cocksedge, Michael Anastassiades and Ron Gilad among others.
We’re rather impressed with the look of Danish design house Gubi’s installation, Danish Chromatism, designed by Signe Byrdal Terenziani & GamFratesi. The designers created the immersive space drawing inspiration from artist Josef Albers’ explorations of how colours interact with different special levels.
The Designersblock area will be housed within the Officine Creative Ansaldo, on via Tortona, and will feature a plethora of installations, projects, product launches collaborations, workshops, presentations and interactions.
Among the pieces on show at Designersblock are this unusual, curving web mirror, created by Constanze Schweda as part of the Kirigram range. Schweda says the design is an homage to Art Nouveau with its ‘organic and exuberant shapes’, which overlay to create a double-depth effect.
This year’s fair sees Designjunction present 25 international brands at its specially-curated Edit event. Literally bringing a taste of Britain to proceedings is the London Transport Canteen Tea Trolley, which will serve tea in Falcon Enamelware cups for the duration of Edit. The tea trolley was created in a collaboration between TFK and designer Rupert Blanchard.
No strangers to collaboration, fabric company Kvadrat is teaming up with Edit for the La Pelota installation, which will feature more than 150 vertical drops of its Time fabric ‘hung from a great height to create a dramatic and visually striking display’, says Kvadrat. The piece marks the launch of a number of new Time colours, which the brand says are inspired by pebbles collected around the coastlines of Scandinavia.
Edit will also be hosting a space devoted to Polish design, with a range of pieces from the 1950s to the present day on display. Ones to watch out for are the RM58 armchair, one of the earliest Polish designs of polyester-glass laminate furniture designed and prototyped independently by Roman Modzelewski in 1958, and Aleksandra Gaca’s series of futuristic sound absorbing textiles, Architextiles.
London Design Store 19 Greek Street will be presenting a collaboration between designer Nina Tolstrup and fashion brand Marc Jacobs. Entitled Ricreare: Life After Catwalk, the series focuses on craft and the idea of ‘up-cycling.’
Over in the Brera Design District, Lee Broom will be showing his Crystal Bulb Shop at Spazio Pontaccio. For Milan, Broom will create immersive environment based on a traditional general store ‘with a surrealist twist’, to showcase three new products based on the Crystal Bulb ( a bulb cut with a classic crystal pattern inspired by those found on traditional whiskey glasses). These include a table light, chandelier and frosted version of the bulb.
Elsewhere in the Spazio Pontaccio, Brazilian brand Bold_a design company, will launch its first self-produced line, Combine – a portable and reusable set table, made from ecological Bambootube, a mixture of biodegradable bamboo fibers and rice hulls. The result looks like bamboo, but feels more like ceramics, according to Bold_a.
Those looking to party could do worse than to visit Heineken;s Magazzini, space, housing ‘a showcase of design talent and educational workshops by day and a design-led party space at night.’ The ‘experimental hub ‘will bring together Designersblock, PechaKucha, publication Cool Hunting, digital remix designer Joshua Davis and multidisciplinary artist Matt W Moore.