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Salone del Mobile

In review - Salone del Mobile Milano


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The 2018 Milan Furniture Fair was held from 17-22 April, and attracted more people than ever before, with 430,000 visitors over the six days – up by a quarter from last year. CLAD looks back on 18 of the most exciting products revealed during the busiest week in the 2018 design calendar

Lasvit’s monsters take over 19th century puppet theatre

Czech glassmaking and design company Lasvit filled a neoclassical puppet theatre in Milan with glass monsters created by designers from around the world.

The Monster Cabaret exhibition took place at the recently restored Teatro Gerolamo, and featured burlesque dancers, a dynamic lighting show and a collection of creatures by designers including Yabu Pushelberg, Daniel Libeskind and Nendo.

Lasvit described the installation, which won the Milano Design Award at Salone del Mobile, as ‘a show full of beasts, antiheroes, vicious genius minds, egos, outcasts, and fantastical creatures.’

Dancing Dog by Raja Schwahn Reichmann
Dancing Dog by Raja Schwahn Reichmann

Patricia Urquiola showcases diverse products

Patricia Urquiola
Patricia Urquiola

A huge range of Patricia Urquiola-designed products were on show throughout the fair. These included a range of rugs designed in collaboration with cc-tapis; baskets designed as part of a collaboration with Louis Vuitton for its new Objet Nomades collection; and two new garden furniture pieces for GAN Rugs.

Other products launched at the fair included new additions to the Lilo seating collection (right), referencing the Modernist Scandinavian designers of the 1950s.

A new addition to the Lilo seating range / Photo: © Marco Craig
A new addition to the Lilo seating range Photo: © Marco Craig

ZHD continue collaboration with Italian stone ompany Citco

Zaha Hadid Design launched the Malea Coffee Table and Volta Bench for Italian stone company Citco at the Salone.

The Volta Bench (above) is carved from a single block of granite and is described by ZHD as an intertwined loop “articulated through a smooth transition between hard-edged surfaces and soft, fluid, lines describing the item’s function while ensuring stability to the overall design”.

The Malea Coffee Table combines two interlocking elements carved from a block of onyx, with a design that references “the spiralling motif of seashells”.

BassamFellows inspired by Modernist greats for latest product line

Scott Fellows and Craig Bassam
Scott Fellows and Craig Bassam

For this year’s Salone, Craig Bassam and Scott Fellows have taken inspiration from one of their favourite historical moments in Modernist art and design: the installation of the Café Samt & Seide at a textile fair in Berlin in 1927 by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and his lover and creative partner Lilly Reich – a series of connected spaces marked out by hanging velvets and silks.

“Our theme, called Subtle Deluxe, focuses on what comfort means to us today and how we crave it,” they said. “We focus on the beauty of simple, minimal lines and the sensation offered by fabrics and skins.”

The brand’s distinctive use of walnut, bronze and leather remains, but these are now used alongside a pared-back spectrum of colours inspired by Le Corbusier. New pieces include a bicorn side chair and table designed in collaboration with Isay Weinfeld for the update on the Four Seasons restaurant he is designing in New York, and a Wedge side dining chair supported by a pair of back legs that lean at 70 degrees.

Bicorn side chair / Photo: Marco Favalli
Bicorn side chair Photo: Marco Favalli

Artemide excites with latest collection

Alejandro Aravena
Alejandro Aravena

null,Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Herzog and de Meuron, Neri & Hu, MAD Architects and Elemental, the firm of Pritzker winner Alejandro Aravena, are among the star names who have collaborated with Italian lighting specialist Artemide for its latest collection.

Aravena’s team created two products for the range – an outdoor light called ‘O’ and an electronic ‘celestial LED sphere’ called ‘Huara’. Explaining the former, a motion-tracking disc-shaped light, the architect said: “This is an attempt to reconcile the needs of the natural and the urban environment.”

Among the other products revealed were BIG’s flexible curves ‘Alphabet of Light System’, and MAD Architects’ ‘Pingtan’, which takes its shape from the studio’s design for an unbuilt island/museum hybrid of the same name. MAD founder Ma Yansong said: “Pingtan brings the experience of nature indoors, like an outdoor landscape entering a room.”

Elemental’s ‘O’ light
Elemental’s ‘O’ light

Olivari collaborates with Rem Koolhaas

Rem Koolhaas
Rem Koolhaas

Historic Italian handle manufacturer Olivari returned to the Salone to present three new door handles designed by important figures in the world of international architecture and design: Rem Koolhaas, Piero Lissoni, and Vincent Van Duysen.

The first, “based on the simplicity of a square section, named ABC,”comes in a variety of textures and can support 3D performations. The second, called Plume, is described as “slender, quintessential and light as a feather”. Van Duysen’s work, Icona, meanwhile, has a minimal, neutral aesthetic, with a great deal of attention given to ergonomics.

The trio of new designs was showcased alongside some of Olivari’s past collaborations, including creations by the likes of Patricia Urquiola, Marcel Wanders, Ben van Berkel, Daniel Libeskind, Jean Nouvel and MAD Architects.

Christophe Pillet embraces simplicity with latest furniture

Christophe Pillet
Christophe Pillet

null,The French designer, who has worked with brands, hotels and celebrities including the likes of Lacoste, Christofle, Givenchy, Accor and Helen Hunt, launched several new pieces of furniture for different manufacturers, each united by “clarity of expression and the search for simplicity.”

These include The High Time for Cappelini, a sofa system described as “a modern and timeless silhouette”; Memory Lane for Tacchini , “a universal chair, radically simplified in its design which seeks to exalt a sensual expression of comfort”; and Grand Life for Ethimo, a lounge and dining collection “that reinterprets contemporary outdoor spaces to conjure images of natural vistas and timeless beauty.”

The High Time for Cappelini sofa system
The High Time for Cappelini sofa system

Technogym reveals the art of exercise

Antonio Citterio
Antonio Citterio

Fitness supplier Technogym had a strong presence at this year’s Salone, demonstrating why its offerings belong at a show dedicated to design. Renowned furniture designer and architect Antonio Citterio has created many of the company’s products, and this year there was a particular focus on promoting the Personal Line he has dreamt up for the brand, made using refined materials and top-level craftsmanship, and built for places where people live “in total harmony with the Wellness Lifestyle.”

Of particular interest was the Kinesis Personal, described by Technogym as “an eloquent expression and original piece of design” and “a work of art”. Designed as a luxury addition to a home, health club, hotel, spa or office, the machine, which comes in a range of textures, offers 200 exercise possibilities in less than one square metre and is used to improve strength, coordination, flexibility, posture and breathing control.

Hansgrohe introduces PowerRain experience

Hansgrohe was on hand to reveal its new PowderRain spray and Hansgrohe Raindance range of showers, which uses micro-sized-droplet technology to create sprays that are much finer than normal. Rather than just one spray aperture per nozzle, PowderRain uses six. “When you’re taking a shower, the water belongs on your body – and nowhere else,” said Jan Heisterhagen, vice president of Product Management. “The PowderRain spray produces many small beads of water, allowing us to achieve the effect of surrounding the body with a warm, protective blanket.”

The company believes that the technology, which uses less water than conventional showers and is 20 per cent quieter, will be popular with hotels, spas and health club, as well as in homes, because of its precision.

Paola Lenti inspired by alphabet for latest collection

Paola Lenti
Paola Lenti

The company of Italian furniture and rug designer Paola Lenti took over an industrial complex near the city centre to present its new collections for indoors and outdoors, each loosely inspired by the letters of the alphabet as the foundation of language.

Several products from designer Francesco Rota were among those released, including Passepartout, a varnished stainless steel side table with removable round top that also serves as a tray; Giravolta, a divider for public spaces formed of a series of rotating panels arranged according to a geometric sequence; and Oasi, an configurable outdoor steel seating system, with seats covered by Diade panels, a signature moulded plastic material, recyclable and available in several colours.

Paola Lenti described its creative path as “a vital impulse that recomposes minimum fragments to transform them into inimitable objects, completed forms, weaves and colour,” in order to “enhance living spaces with rhythm, style, and balance.”

The Passpartout side table
The Passpartout side table

Diabla releases quirky outdoor furniture

Mikiya Kobayashi
Mikiya Kobayashi

Diabla, the new brand of outdoor furniture from Spanish firm Gandiablasco, launched a number of products at this year’s Salone. It collaborated with Japanese designer Mikiya Kobayashi to create Donut, a weather-proof, ring-shaped outdoor stool that comes in vivid colours, including red, pink and mustard, and “can be used as a feature piece to bring a dash of colour to highlight a bar or eating area.”

Meanwhile, designer Alejandra Gandía-Blasco Lloret has invented a new type of configurable furniture called Valentina Outdoor.

Two large cushions can be fixed together in different ways, using a practically invisible lightweight structure of steel rods, to create a double sofa or a lounger. They can also be used as individual raised or floor-level armchairs.

The Donut stool comes in a range of colours
The Donut stool comes in a range of colours

Lee Broom launches ‘stellar-inspired’ lighting products

British designer Lee Broom showed his new collection of ’stellar-inspired’ lights in a Grade II listed building in Milan’s Brera Design District.

Seven lighting products from four new collections were launched as part of the Observatory exhibition in Milan, featuring LED lighting systems and bulbs custom-designed and developed in-house by Broom, and ‘new interpretations of materials used in past collections’. These included the Orion Pendant Set, the Eclipse wall light, and table lamp, and the Aurora Chandelier.

Further Lee Broom products will be launched as part of the Observatory exhibition at NYCxDesign in New York in May and the London Design Festival in September.

Danese Milano

Carlotta de Bevilacqua
Carlotta de Bevilacqua

Danese Milano, led by architect Carlotta de Bevilacqua, celebrated a “contemporary interpretation” of its historic brand by unveiling several products from designers Ron Gilad, Michele De Lucchi and Richard Hutten. The new collection includes playful but practical frames, trays, bowls and sculptural vases.

 / Photo: Pierpaolo Ferrari
Photo: Pierpaolo Ferrari

Knoll celebrates 80th birthday with look to the past

To celebrates its 80th anniversary, Knoll released a special edition update of its Butterfly chair, created in 1938, and showcased the furniture it has produced over the decades from the creative minds of Florence Knoll, Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia and Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, among others.

Meanwhile, new products revealed included Red Baron, a modular bookcase designed by Piero Lissoni; and a cantilevering aluminium chair by Marc Newson.

The products were showcased within a special pavilion designed by OMA, which took its cue from the minimalist design Marcel Breuer applied to the original Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in 1966 – including a replica of the modular suspended ceiling he designed for the museum.

Knoll’s Butterfly chair
Knoll’s Butterfly chair

Jean Nouvel teams up with Nemo

 Jean Nouvel
Jean Nouvel

French architect Jean Nouvel created the On Lines lamp in partnership with Italian lighting company Nemo.

Consisting of a series of brightly coloured squares and rectangles, the lamp was inspired by the coloured lights of city skylines, according to Nouvel.

Speaking about the collaboration with Nouvel, Nemo CEO Federico Palazzari said: “It’s exciting for Nemo to be the interpreter for such a distinctly personal and sentimental gesture that, in our opinion, represents a new paradigm in the way we perceive the light.”

Dornbracht debuts Rainmoon wellness shower concept

Dornbracht, a German-based luxury bathroom specialist, launched an innovative new shower experience, Rainmoon, at Salone.

Slated as the next generation of the company’s LifeSpa concept, Rainmoon is a multi-sensory wellness experience designed to revitalise and reinvigorate the user. Water falls from a built in dome in the ceiling which is designed to seamlessly integrate into its surroundings. It features integrated mood lighting which creates a soft moonlit ambience, and two newly developed shower sprays, Tempest and Aqua Circle.

Bolon showcases potential of woven vinyl flooring

Rossana Hu
Rossana Hu

Occupying a mini showroom designed by Neri&Hu, Bolon, the Scandinavian manufacturer of woven vinyl flooring, was on hand to showcase its latest collections, including the nature-inspired Elements, and the ‘architectural’ collection designed last year by Jean Nouvel.

The installation by Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu included numerous suspended sculptures, “fused Scandinavian functionality and Asian simplicity” and emphasised the minimalist ideas that are often expressed in Bolon’s products.

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