Milan Design Week: Thursday 14 April 2011

The considered and engaging responses of graduate designers to the world around them were some of the highlights of Vogue Living’s Day Four adventures on the ground in Milan, with exhibitions and installations by both emerging and established designers prompting reflections on the nature of perception and the past and future of contemporary design.

MINDCRAFT11, Galleria Alessandro De March, Via Ventura 6

MINDCRAFT, the annual exhibition of Danish craft, has embraced change this year, bringing on board a new curator, designer Cecilie Manz, and joining the steady flow of exhibitors migrating from the Tortona to the Ventura Lambrate district. An immediate drawcard among the exhibits was ‘Drawingmachine’ by Eske Rex, a massive wooden structure that employs pendulums, moveable joints, drawing arms and a ballpoint pen. The pendulums are set in motion by hand triggering the movement of the ball point pen across a large sheet of paper in a series of rhythmic repetitions.

Between art and functionality, Galleria Carla Sozzani, Corso Como 10

Between art and functionality, an exhibition at Galleria Carla Sozzani was the setting for the launch of the ‘Peacock’ pitcher, below left. The pitcher is the newest addition to Georg Jensen’s Masterpiece Collection and was exhibited alongside other iconic items of Georg Jensen tableware by designers including Henning Koppel, Verner Panton, Todd Bracher and Søren Georg Jensen, that exemplified the exhibition’s focus on tableware that expresses the tension in design between the artistic and functional. The Vogue Living team met the pitcher’s designer, Alfredo Häberli, below right, at a breakfast hosted by 10 Corso Como founder and gallery director Carla Sozzani, and Georg Jensen CEO Ulrik Garde Due.

This Way, Design Academy Eindhoven graduate exhibition, Studio Zeta, Via Friuli 26

The Design Academy Eindhoven (DAE) graduate exhibition is an eagerly anticipated part of Milan design week. This year’s exhibition was called ‘This Way’ and was once again curated by British designer Ilse Crawford (coincidentally, the guest editor of the May/June issue of Vogue Living), who is head of the school’s Department of Man and Wellbeing. Projects from over 40 graduates from the school’s 2010 Bachelors and Masters programs were on display.

Some of the work that caught the Vogue Living team’s attention included an anti-landmine device, below, inspired by the Afghan-born designer Massoud Hassani‘s experience growing up in areas littered with minefields. The wind-powered creation takes its shape from miniature models Hassani created as a child and clumps of dandelion seeds, and is designed to roll around a field detonating the mines it encounters. According to the Academy, the Dutch department of Defence is in talks with the designer about using a GPS-linked version of his device.

‘The Wiki Truth’ project by Kyra van Ineveld focused on how collaborative information sources such as Wikipedia demonstrate the slippery nature of perceived truths. In order to track the disputed nature of facts and the slippages that occur in ‘common’ knowledge, van Ineveld identified the five Wikipedia articles that had been amended most often by members of the public. The thousands of pages that made up the various versions of each article were then printed on the designer’s home printer and bound to form five mammoth hard-copy encyclopedias, below, on the highly disputed topics of Barack Obama, the Catholic Church, the war in Gaza, global warming, and ‘race and intelligence’. Each encyclopedia documents what appears to be an infinite number of perspectives on one topic, with the print-outs exploring how one person’s version is written and rewritten, edited and critiqued as its truth is disputed by one person after another.

Yuya Ushida used simple material elements to maximum effect in his ‘XXXX’ bench, below. Inspired by criss-crossing structures of power pylons across the flat Dutch landscape, Ushida assembled his bench using repeated crossings of bamboo sticks, metal rings and coupling pins. While the structure looks fragile, in reality it is hardwearing and flexible, and it’s possible to push the sides in to adjust the bench’s size.

Venini Ninetieth Anniversary 1921-2011, Bagatti Valsecchi Museum, Via Santo Spirito 10

Master Murano glass manufacturer Venini celebrated their 90th anniversary with an exhibition at the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum, a sumptuous 19th-century house used during Milan Design Week 2010 to launch their Studio Job-designed ‘Arnolfini’ chandelier. The large-scale piece was returned to the space for this year’s exhibition, below right, showing alongside historic pieces, such as these vases by Fulvio Bianconi, below left, and new works. Among the new releases for 2011 was the ‘Galata’ lights by Edward van Vliet. The individual mouth-blown glass lamps marked another development in Venini’s history, using matt black and gold; colours the company has never used before.

Paul Cocksedge ‘Sestosenso’ presented by BMW and FLOS, FLOS Professional Space, Corso Monforte 15

Each year, advancements in LED lighting technology provide inspiration for new products and installations presented by designers in Milan. London-based designer Paul Cocksedge, seen below with Vogue Living editor David Clark, drew on innovations that have occurred within the automotive industry to create, ‘Sestosenso’. The installation within the FLOS showroom was inspired by the bright white light and unique design of the Full-LED headlights that operate within the new BMW 6 Series. Cocksedge replicated the way in which the headlights conceal their light source and emit light through a transparent body. Visitors to the space were invited to step within low-hanging conical red and light lamps. Once inside, a video of the BMW 6 Series seemed to miraculously appear on a vast curved wall within the showroom, only remaining visible when seen through the light shade’s transparent body. To coincide with the exhibition, FLOS have also released of 66 handmade and limited edition ‘Sestosenso’ light sculptures designed by Paul Cocksedge Studio.

Enjoy this post? You may also be interested in reading Vogue Living’s highlights from Day One, Day Two and Day Three of the Milan Design Fair 2011.

Producers: David Clark and Zoe Jeffrey
Text: Madeleine Hinchy
Photographer: Paul Barbera

4 Responses to “Milan Design Week: Thursday 14 April 2011”
  1. Dominic says:

    Hi to Vogue Living team in Milan. We haven’t seen too many other Australian companies exhibiting here. It is our first year and we welcome you to visit us if you’re in Pavilion 8 (E51). Dominic, Pacific Green

  2. Amy says:

    Such extraordinary talent! ‘Sestosenso’ is my favourite.

  3. Alberto aristione says:

    Yuya Ushida is amazing love the products. The past week was amazing full of inspiring products, nice performences and nice people. 🙂
    Love to know what best designers are doing in the world, and the new brands that i diden´t ear.
    The DELIGHTFULL brand is amazing and the new product, “Jackson” is beautiful.!/pages/Delightfull/379055705127

    This week was Legen……wait for it……. dary 😀

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  1. […] also be interested in reading Vogue Living’s highlights from Day One, Day Two, Day Three and Day Four of the Milan Design Fair […]

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