Milano Special 04.2008

Milan - love with a bitter aftertaste
Salone del Mobile 2008
There's no doubt that Milan's Salone Internazionale del Mobile is the major forum for the international design scene - and we adore it! However, in spite of this we can't deny that it has left a bitter aftertaste: the feeling that in the single week of the exhibition we missed more than we were able to see.
It is a nice utopia: just one single mega design fair per year where we give everything, take everything and then work on it in a concentrated manner for the rest of the year. As efficient as such a process would be, it remains an illusion. In comparison to the mass market, the niche of the premium segment is a diminutive one, but even so it is not possible to cover the world of top design with at least 250 relevant exhibitors at the fair and many more in the city - either for specialist dealers or for architects and design enthusiasts.
A couple of hours spent in the hopelessly packed underground railway and in the middle of huge crowds of people surging from one event to the next is enough to convince you that in Milan the critical mass has already been exceeded. And in spite of this the fair still has a waiting list of more than 400 manufacturers who wish to acquire a stand. They can perhaps take heart from rumours about a new design hall, but we can't help asking how such masses of information and contacts can be digested within a single week. After all, there is one unit of time which even Milan can't overcome - the fact that a business discussion between two to four people can be neither accelerated or reproduced at will.
Our enthusiasm for Milan is unchanged - nowhere else do you meet so many interesting and relevant people from the worlds of design, retailing, industry and architecture as during a single week in Milan. But at the same time we're happy to have such indispensable local fairs with varying focal points as those in Stockholm, Kortrijk and Cologne, Paris or London; they are playing an increasingly important role parallel to and because of Milan.

  Milan - love with a bitter aftertaste
An initial selection
Preview of new products for 2008
Few exhibitors risk coming to Milan without some new products to show off. And even if not all of these new creations make it all the way to the production stage, they are still a thermometer for trends, vitality and differentiation within the industry. Our editors are working their way through hundreds of pictures and have already put together a few samples for you. This outline is neither complete nor representative - it's simply a preview of the special issue which we will be presenting to you soon and which will contain our full selection of new products seen in Milan.

  An initial selection  
Alias, Riccardo Blumer with Matteo Borghi | Artek, Alvar Aalto | Baleri Italia, Xavier Lust
B&B Italia, Jean-Marie Massaud | Cappellini, Barber+Osgerby | Cassina, Konstantin Grcic
Classicon, Barber+Osgerby | De Padova, Patricia Urquiola | Desalto, Marco Acerbis
Flexform, Antonio Citterio | Glas Italia, Antonio Citterio | Lapalma, Alfredo Häberli
Magis, Naoto Fukasawa | MDF Italia, Neuland Industriedesign | Mobles 114, Martin Azúa
Modus, Christophe Pillet | Pastoe, Maarten van Severen | Moroso, Patricia Urquiola
Plank, Konstantin Grcic | spHaus, Alain Berteau | Porro, Nick Rennie
Vitra, Jasper Morrison | Wogg, Frédéric Dedelley | Zanotta, Emaf Progetti
Young & good
Impressions of the Salone Satellite and Milan Design Week
This year the Salone Satellite was once more on show in its own pavilion. Set a little apart from the general hustle of the fair, it welcomed visitors with a very pleasant, airy atmosphere - which of course can't be compared with the grandeur of the hall on the old fair site. At least this year's slogan of 'Go green!' was in line with the simple temporary architecture. The official press release spoke of a greenhouse in which 'budding designers can blossom' and 'an explosion of green' is unfolded. Has the influence of Stockholm's 'Greenhouse' perhaps spread this far south?
Regardless of the slogan, the eleventh Satellite left an inspiring and positive impression. Many international designers came up with daringly staged presentations which were a joy to behold. This year it was the Finnish designers who made the greatest impression, and the products they presented demonstrated a corresponding level of quality and potential.

  Young & good  
Stand of Kokoomo, Finland
Stand of VOW, Finland

During the Milan Design Week the Satellite is of course not the only place where young and good talent can be discovered. Other platforms such as 'Designersblock' UK, 'Tuttobene' NL and a range of additional events kept the trend scouts on their toes. There will be more to see in our section 'News & Trends' soon.

Location of Designersblock, Piscina Argelati
'Inflatable Cinema' of Lambert Kamp at Designersblock
'Crystal Virus', Pieke Bergmans, Droog 'A Touch of Green'
'Simply Concrete' by Stephan Schulz, Germany
The Architecture of Presentation
Inspiring fair stands discovered
Because our attention is fully focussed on new products and old acquaintances we frequently overlook the architecture of the stands themselves, which is often of high quality and great elaboration. In order to provide the right setting for their brand and their new products, many exhibitors seem to spare no costs when it comes to creating an inspiring space for their presentation. Accordingly we have collected some impressions for you of new materials and atmospheric settings.
  The Architecture of Presentation
Urban design event
Exhibitions and installations in the city
The exhibitions and events which take place during the fair in the whole of the inner city of Milan attract not only trade visitors but also masses of private design enthusiasts. For six days Milan is transformed into an urban design event for the international scene by discriminatingly curated exhibitions such as those in the Triennale and the annual increase in events held both in the Zona Tortona and in the showrooms of many retailers.
We have put together a few impressions for you.

'Spiral Islands', David Trubridge, New Zealand
Grand Danois - 'Next Generation Danish Design'
Alias Showroom, series of prototypes, design: Riccardo Blumer and Matteo Borghi
Moroso Showroom, 'A little Garden of Love', Tord Bootje
Marcio Kogan for Block Exhibition: 'Turkish Marble Meets Design'
Flos Showroom with Lunar ceiling light, Design: Konstantin Grcic
'Lightblubs', Royal Leerdam Crystal, The Netherlands
Hästens show at San Paolo Converso
It's not just because of its dominant architecture - the Palazzo dell'Arte was designed early in the Thirties by Giovanni Muzio- but also because of its historic past that the Triennale has, for many years, been an especially popular location for exclusive design and architectural exhibitions. In 1933 it became the location for the Triennale di Milano, the exhibition of decorative arts, and then in the Fifties the home of the Compasso d'Oro, Italy's most prestigious design award which was initiated by Gio Ponti.

This year the Triennale celebrated the 80-year existence of Cassina with an extensive "Made in Cassina" retrospective.
With skilfully and lovingly arranged installations Plank presented the history of the development of the Myto chair by Konstantin Grcic. Numerous prototypes, models and test structures gave visitors the feeling of being in a workshop, an impression which was supported by the typical noises of the factory floor. The entire "Making of" this chair with its perfect form has been captured in a successful book designed by Mike Mieré.

BASF and Plank exhibition of Konstantin Grcic's Myto Chair at the Triennale
VIA, 'Vanet Light', Jean Louis Frechin
Picture of the extensive Cassina retrospective "Made in Cassina": Cassina Showroom 1968
More articles of "News & Trends"
Nordic Novelties
  More articles of "News & Trends"

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