Milan Design Week: Day Two

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Salone del Mobile is as action-packed as ever, with almost innumerable exhibitions, installations and innovations to cast our eyes (and lenses) over. Our editor-in-chief, Victoria Carey, shares her thoughts on day two of the fair.

linebreakTOM DIXON: ‘ROUGH AND SMOOTH’ AND ADIDAS COLLABORATION

Tom Dixon Rough and Smooth

A pop-up teahouse was a stroke of genius when Tom Dixon planned his display at the Museum of Science and Technology (MOST) for Milan Design Week. Here, those on the whirlwind trail that is Salone del Mobile can take a much-needed rest and enjoy cucumber sandwiches, accompanied by the ‘Form’ six-piece tea set from the new Eclectic by Tom Dixon collection, Rough and Smooth.

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Dixon has created a theatre of sorts: the exhibition entrance is through a mock warehouse, complete with forklift truck, and then moves on past the teahouse and into a ‘shop’ space. “Smooth” refers to the extreme polished surfaces seen in the pieces, such as the ‘Spun’ tables and the surprising champagne bucket, which is more than what it seems at first glance. And what of the “rough”? According to the catalogue, it is because this season the designers “have worked on even more textural honesty, more material weight and more primitive personality in our output”.linebreak

dixonportrait

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At the rear of the exhibition, in the museum’s train pavilion, Dixon’s first capsule collection (of four over the next two years) for German sporting brand adidas is displayed on a production line. The 20 items – with the premise of “everything you can pack neatly in a bag for a week away” — includes an overcoat that becomes a sleeping bag, a boiler suit that transforms into a trench coat, a shirt-jacket and a skirt.

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Tom Dixon adidas collaboration

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Overall, the golden touch is what is shining through.

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GLASS IS TOMORROW

Take the steps to the floor below Tom Dixon’s exhibition space at MOST and you’ll be greeted by a long table filled with the most beautiful glass at the Glass is Tomorrow exhibition. Each is credited to its respective designer and glassblower, which is the crux of what this display is about: connecting and creating a relationship between the designer and the maker.

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glasstable

Funded by the culture program of the European Union, the prototypes are the result of three workshops held in the traditional glassblowing areas of Nuutajärviin in Finland, Nový Bor in Czech Republic, and Meisenthal in France.

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moreglass

Its success can be measured by the resulting glassware, as well as the reaction from the design community: “I was able to design my first glass more than a decade ago, but during the workshop, I learned more in a few days than in those past years. It is a great moment when our work finally comes out of the oven,” says designer Alfredo Häberli.

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babushka

My favourite? The ‘Babushka’ glassware designed by Heikki Viinikainen and blown by Sara Hulkkonen and the Iittala blowers.

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CASSINA: OUR UNIVERSE

As times change, so too does design. This collection of seven prototypes by Cassina is a response to how digital technology, which has already transformed our working and social lives, will impact the design of our furniture.

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mywing

Cassina and Carlo Ratti Associati have focused on three areas in the Our Universe collection: changing production methods led by new technology, investigating the ways we use our digital devices, and shaping how technology can be integrated into our furniture to provide new and more effective functions.

‘My Wing (freestanding)’ is a modular coffee table created using digital fabrication: its custom-built hinges give the structure maximum flexibility, allowing the table to be configured for a multitude of purposes, so we can use our devices and technology whenever we may need. ‘My Wing (built in)’ is its smaller relative, which can be used as a coffee table and be adapted into an armrest for a sofa.linebreak

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Times certainly do change and these clever pieces will make the journey easier.
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THE WOOL LAB INTERIORS
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wool bench

One of Adam Goodrum’s earliest memories of wool is watching his mother spinning and helping her to comb the fleece. So when the award-winning Australian industrial designer — who has designed for Cappellini, Normann Copenhagen and Made by Tait — was asked to create a piece for The Wool Lab Interiors, he was already well versed in what it is possible to do with the versatile fibre.

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felt-shoes

The Woolmark Company, who has a reputation for creative ways of educating the world about wool, commissioned eight architects and designers to create pieces for a display during Milan Design Week. The results ranged from Mexican designer Héctor Esrawe’s felt bench to a curtain by UK designer Simon Heijdens. Goodrum made two pairs of felt shoes — partly because the shoes were something he could bring to Milan in his hand luggage!

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felt-shoes2

Words: Victoria Carey
Photography: Paul Barbera

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