Milan 2012 Revisited

July 6, 2012

A look back at three of our favourite installations from this year’s Milan Furniture Fair.

 Swell by Christopher Jenner

Launching his furniture and lighting collection, Swell, UK-based designer Christopher Jenner transfixed visitors to the Sala Napolionica, Academia di Brera with his The Looking Glass House installation. Almost camouflaged by the installation’s mirrors and balloons, Jenner’s furniture is a candy-coloured combination of technological and handcrafted processes.

Swell by Christopher Jenner. Photo: Felix Forest (


The Secret Garden: BLU by Paola Navone for Barovier&Tosco

Orto Botanica (Botanical Gardens) was the location of luxury Murano glass company Barovier&Tosco, who again partnered with Paola Navone to present a magnificent display of lighting exhibited inside captivating, private-walled gardens. In contrast to this lyrical installation, the destination also hosted a Zaha Hadid-designed structure that was constructed from inlaid marble by Citco. The gardens, bordered on one side by the Brera Accademia Art Museum and on the other by grandiose homes, successfully hosted this collaboration by two of the most powerful female forces working in design today.

While the Navone-art directed BLU collection for Barovier&Toso was showcased previously at SuperStudio (a stand-out during Salone 2010), it was reprised for Milan 2012 with elaborate pendants and enormous chandeliers secreted inside woven bamboo pods, each coated in the Navone signature shade of blue. Viewing the lights through peepholes treated visitors to a personal engagement with the products, while small Navone-designed lamps dotted pathways, guiding the audience through the gardens. By day the setting was magical, and by night, it was nothing short of inspirational. The Secret Garden was one of those very special Milan experiences that will be impossible to forget.


The Secret Garden: BLU. Images courtesy EVDS Public Relations, Paola Navone and Barovier&Tosco


Established & Sons

Never a brand to disappoint, British design powerhouse Established & Sons took a radical departure from the first memorable seven years of its existence by opting to co-exhibit at Milan 2012 with glass mosaic maestri Bisazza in the Zona Tortona. Standout products from the installation were undoubtedly the extension of the Wrong Woods collection, a collaboration between the artist Richard Woods and Established & Sons creative director Sebastian Wrong. Both Woods and Wrong joined a star-studded line up of designers including, among others, Ingo Maurer, Nendo, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec and Terence Woodgate with John Barnard. Wrong explained to those in attendance that while the move to join Bisazza initially seemed incongruous, given Established & Sons’ self-driven trajectory from zero to hero in the international design stakes, ultimately he conceded the partnership made sound commercial sense and opened up the E&S collections to the established (no pun intended) Bisazza customer base. As Europe remains in the grip of financial uncertainty, it appears that Established & Sons has been successful in taking the giant step from adolescence to maturity, and is now recognised as a mainstay brand at the forefront of design innovation.


Established & Sons installation. Images courtesy Established & Sons.


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