15 Apr 2014 • Adrian Madlener
Milan: Final Days
As the world’s main design event winds down – with a ripple effect that will be felt for many months to come – there is much debate about such a large endeavor's true purpose. Many defend the importance of simply being present during these few crucial days while others work hard at sourcing inspiration. Between Salone del Mobile, Zona Tortona, Brera, Ventura Lambrate and a few outlying venues, Milan Design Week manages to track the machines pushing the industry forward but also fresh talents questioning their every move.
Back again in Ventura Lambrate – the most condensed and talked about district this past week – a few poignant exhibitions deserve close attention. Among the slew of collective or school-based showcases, Supermodels is an unexpected and pleasant surprise. As a full survey of the Netherlands' rich design and architecture history – hundreds of 3D-printed chairs from designers as wide ranging as Berlage, Hutten and Baas join scale models of emblematic modern or post-modern homes. The doll house concept continues with a series of pre-designed interiors - developed by contemporary studios like Scholten and Baijings or Krux Amsterdam. As a traveling exhibition, different packages will hit the market soon – adding a touch of technological integration with elements developed by designers like Daan Roosengaarde.
Towards the beginning of Via Ventura, Tilburg-based +31(0)13 presents We Made It – a colourful scenography combining fashion with textile, product and furniture design. Exemplifying how design studios continue to take on interdisciplinary roles, this collective – comprised of designers Lucas & Lucas, artist Sigrid Calon, fashion designer Sanne Jansen and producers Kowbeadaux – takes this opportunity to debut a new series of interior accessories that follow a similar or corresponding aesthetic. Calon’s Neon-outlined and geometric Wall Objects join Lucas & Lucas wood- and mirror-clad Reflection chair, light and ladder.
Disfunzione Mediterranea – one of the only exhibitions revealing new Italian design in Ventura Lambrate – looks at how objects can reflect our psychological, emotional and physical disfunction, an attribute we actually come to appreciate in each individual we meet. In fact, this healthy and imperfect existence fosters creativity and challenges tradition. Among a dozen projects by small studios, Corredo by Ghigos Ideas explores the normally intangible form created between two solid shapes. In doing so, the skeleton-like object reflects memory but also cultural, conceptual and physical legacies.
Wood-Skin is a new material developed by Gianluca Lo Presti, Susanna Todeschini, Giulio Masotti and Stefano Baruffaldi – exploring the potential of flexible wood. Based on different mitre-edged structures, the team has developed temporary facades, geodesic pavilions and are now testing their methodology on other staple materials like concrete. To their own amazement, the new technique removes the need for hinges and opens the door to entirely new modular applications.
Rounding off this selection is FH Mainz University of Applied Science’s Interactive Objects exhibition – a series of playful objects redefining daily life without heavy influence from virtual or augmented reality. These simple solutions – an illuminated clock integrates into a mirror to indicate the right amount of time necessary to brush ones teeth while a wall of flipping cubes illuminate. Light Up the Wood by Sophia Bischoping and Laura Pausinger comprises a grid of pressurized cubes with integrated LEDs that get brighter as people come closer.
Photos by Adrian Madlener