Monday, May 7, 2012

Milano’12: Things in the city

The Milan Salone was way more than just the Fairgrounds. Fuorisalone (literally meaning outside of the fair) happened all around the city, including Zona Tortona, Brera, and the Triennale Museum, to name a few.

The Triennale di Milano mounted their annual Design Week exhibition series for the occasion. French brand Blackbody put up a show titled Wonderoled to explore the potential of OLED technology. Italian designer Alessandro Ciffo presented his Iperbolica series silicon armchairs. With no substructure, these mushy hyperbolic chairs take their final shapes from gravity, consistency of the cast, and the air volume trapped inside.

Blackbody’s Wonderoled exhibition with I.Rain by Thierry Gaugain on the left
Blossoms by CibicWorkshop
Alessandro Ciffo’s Iperbolica

Spazio Rossana Orlandi organized its exhibits around a former tie factory in the Magenta Neighborhood. Things on show here included Italian sculptor Benedetta Mori Ubaldini’s wire mesh (chicken net) objects and Slovenian designer Nika Zupanc’s Summertime lamps that look like huge bubbles. In the courtyard, there was Bocci’s 38 Series by Vancouver-based architect Omer Arbel. These blown glass lamps are well integrated with plants and a mechanical conveyor system.
Spazio Rossana Orlandi
Benedetta Mori Ubaldini’s wire mesh objects
Summertime by Nika Zupanc
Bocci’s 38 Series by Omer Arbel

After the stunning display at Design Miami/Basel last year, Nacho Carbonell continued to be a major feature at Rossana Orlandi. Just upon arrival, one could see the Soft LED Lightbulb Carbonell developed for the Dutch brand Booo, using rubber to contrast the conventional concept of fragile and cold glass bulbs. In the courtyard, the bronze chair Auditorium was sitting quietly. In the staircase, fragments of Silent Wall were hung on the wall – samples for an entire wall made of small soft pieces of pigmented polyurethane foam in the restaurant next door.
Soft LED Lightbulb by Nacho Carbonell for Booo
Silent Wall fragments

Carbonell’s work was also seen in other locations in Milan. At the Tom Dixon curated MOST show, Memoralia stood outside of an exhibition shed. At the Legacy show organized by INTERNI, Carbonell’s Bush of Iron chair had a stunning presence by a staircase.
Memoralia by Nacho Carbonell at MOST
Bush of Iron by Nacho Carbonell at INTERNI Legacy

Ingo Maurer, the German designer responsible for my favorite installation at the INTERNI show last year, presented several new works at his solo show at Spazio Krizia. The most eye-catching was an acoustical wall installation called Biotope, featuring green sponge and LED butterfly. Other impressive pieces included Candle in the Wind, a chandelier with flickering digital candle flames, and prototypes of a single LED candle in front of the LED Wallpaper.
Biotope acoustical wall installation by Ingo Maurer
Candle in the Wind by Ingo Maurer
LED Wallpaper by Ingo Maurer

Zona Tortona kept up with its cool and hip buzz this year. Temporary museum, special showrooms, pop-up stores, and of course, street bars and eateries. I spotted this stunning wood casting by Hilla Shamia. Aluminum flows into the cracks of a tree trunk, leaving dark burnt edges that mark the heated synthesis of the two materials.
Wood casting by Hilla Shamia

Bisazza and Established & Sons occupied Area 56 on via Savona. With bright light stripes wrapping around, Established & Sons’ show featured the Aqua Table by Zaha Hadid, the Iris series by BarberOsgerby, Quilt by the Bouroullec brothers, the Cape sofa by Konstantin Grcic, and the soft PVC dipped polymer lamps called Touch Light by Sylvain Willenz. Bisazza launched new bathroom furniture lines designed by Nendo and Marcel Wanders. The Wanders Collection combined the aesthetic of new antiques with the clean shape of a bar soap.
Iris series by BarberOsgerby (left) and Aqua Table by Zaha Hadid (right)
Quilt (middle) by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec
Cape sofa by Konstantin Grcic
Touch Light by Sylvain Willenz
Marcel Wanders for Bisazza Bagno

Marcel Wanders’s own company Moooi had a showroom a few blocks away. Moooi presented their new collection with the new campaign concept “Inside the Box,” portraying a product almost humanly wrapped by a naked person inside a (gift) box.
Moooi Showroom
Heracleum II LED lamp by Bertjan Pot
Altdeutsche Cupboard by Studio Job

In Brera, Salvatori presented their new finishes and furnishing complements at their showroom. The most impressive was Ron Gilad’s Soft Marble collection. Just around the corner, Dilmos put up a Ron Gilad show for a second year in a row. As implied in the titled “The Line, the Arch, the Circle & the Square,” the exhibition returned to the basic parts a designer deals with. I found it very intriguing to see the small Michael Thonet chairs holding the “56” Day Bed and the “56” Cabinet.
Soft Marble collection by Ron Gilad for Salvatori
“56” Day Bed
“56” Cabinet
Void stools and one of the “IX Mirrors”

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