Milan Design Week: Wednesday 13 April 2011

Day three of Milan Design Week saw the Vogue Living team encounter two very different districts and two diverse Fuorisalone experiences. First off was a visit to the Brera Design District, a highly concentrated zone of design showrooms and galleries in the historic centre of Milan and part of the established guard of the Salone experience. The team then headed north-east to the up and coming Ventura Lambrate design district. Now in its second year, this carefully curated display of experimental, independent and emerging design has doubled in size with 45 exhi webits on show that including The Other Hemisphere, the first independent group show of Australian design.

Hermès Maison, La Pelota, Via Palermo 10

Hermès unveiled several pieces from their new contemporary furniture line at Paris’s Maison et Objet show in January but the complete collection is showing this week in their Milan showroom. Created by its artistic director, Pierre-Alexis Dumas, in collaboration with top international designers including Enzo Mari, Antonio Citterio, Denis Montel and Eric Benqué, the collection included what is so far the Vogue Living’s most coveted item of the week. The ‘Inverted U’ nesting tables in shagreen (stingray skin), below, were first released by Hermès in 1924. The tables are one part of a series of furniture designs by the influential French designer Jean-Michel Frank that are being reeditioned by Hermès for the Maison collection.

The elegance of the Enzo Mari designs were offset in details such as a quirky compartment concealed within a small side table, below.

The Other Hemisphere, Collective Location, Via Massimiano 6

There has been a consistent Australian presence at the last several Milan design week’s with Australian designers such as Adam Goodrum, Trent Jansen, Nick Rennie and Helen Kontouris leading the Aussie push showing pieces designed for international manufacturers. However, until now there hasn’t been a group show of Australian independent design. That changed this year with eight Australian designers and design practices banding together for The Other Hemisphere, below, an exhibition curated by designer and artist Sarah K and proudly supported by Vogue Living that featured Ben McCarthy, Blakebrough+King, Daniel Emma, Elliat Rich, Emma Elizabeth, Flynn Talbot, Plastic Fantastic and Mark Vaarwerk.

King asked each of the designers in the show to create work that responded to the concept of ‘the other hemisphere’. The response was highly varied with some designers concentrating on the idea of looking into another realm, experience, or fragmented reality while others using the spherical shape as a starting point.

Australian brand Aesop collaborated with The Other Hemisphere curator and artist Sarah K on a range of 3D printed bottles created specifically for the exhibition, below left. Meanwhile, Flynn Talbot, below right, demonstrated to the team how to control and vary the luminosity and colour of his X&Y light through touching and rolling the glass sphere.

Plastic Fantastic, a collaboration between Liane Rossler and Sarah K, produced ‘Plastic Bag Cups’, below, a delicate range of vessels made from re-purposed plastic bags.

The Other Hemisphere opening event with Cape Mentelle Shiraz.

Talking Textiles, an exhibition curated by Lidewij Edelkoort. Via Ventura 6 and Spazio Gianfranco Ferré, Via Pontaccio 21.

A highlight of the day three, and the fair so far, was the Talking Textiles exhibition. Curated by influential design forecaster Lidewij “Li” Edelkoort, the two-part exhibition put textile design front and centre with the objective of starting a conversation about what Edelkoort perceives as being the ‘endangered’ status of contemporary textiles. Designers who are inspired to reinstate age-old traditions and those who are pursuing new and dynamic technologies in textiles were chosen to participate.

Part one of the exhibition took place within the dynamic Ventura Lambrate district and was in keeping with that area’s concerted focus on emerging design talent. Co-curated by Australian Philip Fimmano, a trend analyst working within Edelkoort’s Trend Union, the exhibition featured a selection of recent graduates from European art and design schools, whose work focuses on expanding perceptions of where textiles can take us.

At Spazio Gianfranco Ferré, a who’s-who of notable contemporary designers including Maarten Baas, Fernando and Humberto Campana, Nacho Carbonell, Kiki van Eijk, Studio Job, Hella Jongerius and Scholten & Baijings, exhibited their latest textile-based work. A number of creative collaborations were on show including this sofa, below, the result of a surprising partnership between film director David Lynch and French designer Raphael Navot.

The ‘Kawakubo’ chairs, below left, and ‘Rei’ chair, below right, by Brazilian designer Rodrigo Almeida were inspired by the work of Japanese fashion designers Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo.

This textile by Studio Job, below, was produced in collaboration with the Audax Textielmuseum Tilburg. While it looks like a cheery spotted pattern from afar, up close it is revealed depict macabre splotches of blood.

Laikingland: FUNction, Via Ventura 6

FUNction, an lighthearted exhibition of kinetic works created by Dutch-British company Laikingland in collaboration with Tord Boontje, Atelier Ted Noten and Atelier NL, illicited a playful response from visitors.

It was the VL team’s first encounter with Laikingland, a creative collaboration between artist Martin Smith and engineer Nick Regan. The duo work with artists and designers to produce limited edition kinetic objects such as ‘Storm in a Tea Cup’, above, an object that pays homage, in a very literal sense, to the famous idiom. When the handle on the Royal Delft teacup is turned the small golden boat within begins to ride the mechanical waves while up above the storm clouds periodically reveal a shining bolt of lightning. Watch the petite drama in action in the video.

Edizioni 2011, Plusdesign, Via Ventura 6

Plusdesign, a Ventura Lambrate gallery that specialises in contemporary design presented their latest limited edition projects including Emmanuel Babled’s luminous ‘Anywhere Else’, a corner lamp made of curved neon tubes. The VL team couldn’t help but be captivated all over again by one of Babled’s earlier pieces. First shown in 2009, we believe the plexiglass ‘Quark Plexy’ table for Metea, below, has enduring appeal.

Twilight: Tokujin Yoshioka, Moroso showroom, via Pontaccio

The Moroso showroom was transformed into a celestial space by Tokujin Yoshioka. The Japanese designer flooded the all-white space with infinite rays of soft light to recreate the effect of moonbeams, below left. This otherworldly space provided the perfect backdrop Yoshioka’s ‘Moon’ chairs, below right, which embodied a particularly Japanese beauty and simplicity.

Producers: David Clark and Zoe Jeffrey
Words: Madeleine Hinchy
Photos: Paul Barbera

3 Responses to “Milan Design Week: Wednesday 13 April 2011”
  1. You, at Vogue Living, are doing a great Milan Design Week cover. Your selection of brands and objects is simply perfect and your photos, videos and articles are amazing.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] You may also be interested in reading Vogue Living’s highlights from Day One, Day Two and Day Three of the Milan Design Fair […]

  2. […] days after being wowed by the Tokujin Yoshioka designed ‘Twilight’ installation and ‘Moon’ chairs, which were on show at the manufacturer’s showroom in central Milan, the Vogue Living team […]

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