Design’s Biggest Week: Salone del Mobile Days 1 and 2

Copper, brass, marble, perforated metals, pottery, textiles, wood and wicker—designers at this year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan continued to play with their materials with great delight and to alternate between risk-taking, bold forms, and expressions of vulnerability (furniture made with slender slabs of concrete!). As economic challenges continued around the globe, multitasking and convertible furniture was emphasized, heavy glass lampshades balanced atop their bases on a single (seemingly tenuous) point, coat racks leaned sturdily into walls instead of standing alone, and designers took to architecting… jewelry. Here’s what we saw of note on the first two days.

All photos by  Shonquis Moreno.

RGB by Carnovsky

Carnovsky’s RGB tapestries, screens, illustrations and carpets were represented by what may be the most enchanted exhibition at the fair this year: Carnovsky’s Silvia Quintanilla (Colombia) and Francesco Rugi (Italy) filled an entire room with their RGB tapestry. The wall-covering’s patterns shifted as the light in the room changed from red – revealing architectural scenes – to blue – showing classical vignettes emphasizing the human body –  to green – nature. Under white light all three layers of patterns were visible in a baroque filigree of conflated illustrations.

Apollo Floor Light

Made from glass and white Carrara or black Marquina marbles, the Apollo floor lamps by Dan Yeffet & Lucie Koldova were on show in the Brera space of year-old boutique French design label La Chance.

Vulcain Table Light

Also for La Chance, this small table light by French studio Pool nonetheless has a robust form and a strong mix of materials: Carrara marble is combined with a perforated brass shade that casts a filigreed light across surrounding walls.

Michael Anastassiades

Following on Ron Gilad’s ribbon-like marble bench for Salvatori last year, lighting wunderkind Michael Anastassiades created a series of curling supert-hin wafers of white marble for Wallpaper magazine’s “Handmade” exhibition.

Philip Michael Wolfson

At the Design Gallery Milano in Ventura Lambrate, this wall-mounted mirror and credenza pair take the gratifyingly asymmetrical geo-organic form common to much of Philip Michael Wolfson’s furniture.

Noe Duchaufour Lawrance for Gaia & Gino

Duchaufour-Lawrance did a series of small, almost candle-like, table lights and three larger, marble-based ovoid glass lanterns for Turkish label Gaia & Gino, which also launched a new label with Czech glassmaker, called Verreum, specializing in silvered, double-walled objects (plant pots, vases, lamps) for its inaugural collection.

Wallpaper by AMT

Oddly quiet by day but more like spring-break-in-Tampa by night, visitors must dig through Zona Tortona to find its gems: below street level in a former parking garage, New York-based Alissia Melka-Teichroew’s scribbled Ballpoint Pen wall-covering frames a series of other new products and is a perfect illustration of the consumer’s craving for the handmade today.

Stampiet Kaas & Drop

Highlighting the fact that food has become a creative medium of importance following the uninterrupted success of Amsterdam and Rotterdam-based eating designer Marije Vogelzang’s Proef, furniture designer and creative chef Piet Bergman’s Stampiet Kaas & Drop was one of the design stars of the Ventura Lambrate neighborhood. The bucolic Dutch café served traditional dishes that, like the space itself, were humbly served but artfully garnished.

Art Installation in Ventura Lambrate

A poetic installation of tensile threads by Khanittha Nualtaranee was installed among the university displays in Ventura Lambrate.

Lee Broom’s Crystal Light Bulb Shop Milan

Lee Broom’s Crystal Bulb Shop in the Brera Design District sold one thing and one thing only: a gratifying elevation of the humble light bulb in cut crystal.

Patricia Urquiola for Kvadrat and Moroso

Patricia Urquiola created a kinetic installation of Kvadrat textiles in the Moroso showroom framing a cornucopia of spring at its center—as it rained outside.

Nendo at Dilmos

Oki Sato of Nendo is ubiquitous at this year’s fair. He showed prototypes in candy colors and smoke grays at the Dilmos gallery.

Campana Brothers for Baccarat

The Campana Brothers bring bamboo and a little Sao Paulo to the usually rarified French brand Baccarat in the form of table lights, a pendant lamp and a chandelier.

Brodie Neill’s Made in Ratio

A colorful display of simple, voluptuous pieces by British designer Neville Brody filled the Zonca e Zonca gallery in Brera.

Ron Gilad at Ferragamo

At Ferragamo, Israeli designer Ron Gilad showed shelving for Molteni and, for Flos, a delicate refinement of the old banker’s lamp called, appropriately enough, Goldman.

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