Milan Design Week: Day One


It’s that time of year again when members of the design community around the world begin their annual pilgrimage to Milan for the Salone del Mobile. Our editor-in-chief, Victoria Carey, reports on day one of the fair.


Celebrating a legendary friendship with Erwin Olaf is the title of  Moooi’s installation in a vast space on the via Savona. Moooi founder Marcel Wanders asked his friend Erwin Olaf, the Dutch photographer famed for his daring and provocative work, to collaborate on his Milan installation. At 4.5 metres high — so big, joked Olaf, that he had to ring Wanders to check the order — the images form a powerful backdrop to an assortment of interior environments.




“We both live in our own worlds and sometimes our worlds, they touch, and when they touch I have to say its always a fantastic thing. There is no plan… and when I reach the studio it starts a kind of chemistry between us. I never understand what he’s saying because he’s quite poetic but we have an idea and then we have a picture and sometimes they are astonishing,” Olaf said of the collaboration at the Moooi press preview.



The new pieces appeared on a ‘catwalk’ on one side before moving into settings containing older items from the collection. The ‘Cloud’ sofa by Wanders and Studio Job’s ‘Bucket’ lamp were standouts.


Australian architect Craig Bassam and creative director Scott Fellows made their first journey to Salone de Mobile in 2003 to launch the prototypes of their first collection for their design company BassamFellows.


“I think we were both really surprised because we did it as an experiment to be honest with you. We had this idea and concept so we formed a small capsule collection and thought, ‘Let’s make a small exhibition just to see what happens.’ We had no real long-term plan and it was more like, ‘Let’s see how people react to the pieces’… so it was very surprising that we had so much recognition,” explains Fellows.



Ten years later those original designs, including the ‘Tractor’ stool (available in Australia at Living Edge), have proved beyond doubt that they are heirloom pieces. Today, they have been joined by new products stamped with the same non-expiry date, and all with the hallmark of artisan luxury: the elegant ‘Spindle’ chair, inspired by a visit to architect Louis Kahn’s library, and the ‘Spoke’ side table, created after a brief from Australian firm BVN Architecture and so new that it didn’t make the catalogue for the Salone.




We had the couches, the armchairs and now we have the beds by the Campana brothers, Fernando and Humberto. There are five beds in the collection — the ‘Corallo’ which is a wild weave of golden wire; the timber ‘Favela’ with its deliberately positioned (though appearing haphazard) array of small slats; the aptly named ‘Cabana’ with a hula skirt fringe of raffia hanging from four posters; ‘Grinza’ covered in wrinkles of leather; and the teddy bear-esque ‘Cipria’ in palest pink fur. Tables next?


Words: Victoria Carey
Photography: Paul Barbera

One Response to “Milan Design Week: Day One”
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  1. […] Olaf ha lavorato con l’azienda olandese Moooi nel corso degli anni, ma quest’anno il fondatore e direttore artistico, Marcel Wanders, ha […]

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