- Article by Online Editor
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New kid on the design block Moustache, from France, launched last year in Milan. This year they return with new products including a chic enamelled ceramic clock by Inga Sempé (the only prototype of which was stolen on the second day of the exhibition at the second Superstudio location) and our must have product for the week, the very squeezable coat hooks ‘Micro’, designed by Swiss designers Big Game. Made of blue-flocked foam and ash, they are inspired by well, the microphone.
The Great Outdoors
Theres outdoor living and then theres REAL outdoor living. Probably the first diving board to ever be launched in Milan, Dutch label Weltevree unveiled ‘Divewood’ designed by Floris Schoonderbeek (best known for his Dutchtub). Its constructed from boards of oak that are stacked to create a natural spring. Also new to the collection this year is industrial tailor Dick van Hoffs ‘Outdooroven’, made from Corten. Reminiscent of old freestanding fireplaces, the burning compartment below heats the oven, above which is the stove. Comes complete with its own cookbook.
The Dutch are always everywhere in Milan. One Dutch designer this year whos passionate about material innovation has launched products with five big-name manufacturers. The modest and ever elusive Bertjan Pot worked with knitting techniques for chairs. For Established & Sons, the upholstery for his ‘Jumper’ chair is totally seamless; its knitted first in one big whole piece (he calls it a sweater with six arms) and shrunk in the wash so that the loose knit becomes compacted into felt. He used a flexible knitted 3D mesh for his ‘Network’ chair for Arco (normally used in mattress construction), which eliminates the need for foam in between the seating. Metallic fabrics used in his ‘Fold Up’ lights for Moustache, resemble those found in photography umbrellas.
New Design Classics
At the fair itself, Spanish label BD Barcelona launched two chairs that are sure to become tomorrows design classics: the slim, foldable ‘B Chair’ designed by Konstantin Grcic which is made of timber engineered with an aluminium structure and the more whimsical ‘Lounger’ wing chair by Jaime Hayon. The retro ‘Lampalumina’ by the Bouroullec brothers for Bitossi Ceramiche is fashioned from a high-tech form of ceramics (Ceramica alumina) normally used in the aerospace industry. Used for the first time in this context the material here has a thin finish instead of its usual block or sheet form.
The Beauty of LEDs
Visitors this year were challenged to think twice about the quality and capabilities of LEDs, beyond their function as energy saving lighting. The ability for LEDs to be integrated into architecture, and its subtle, uniformity of light could be seen in two installations in Zona Tortona: the stained-glass window ‘Lucernario’ by Ron Gilad for Italian lighting giant Floss presentation Soft Architecture (theres also a coloured version with a stained glass pattern composed of thousands of LEDs), and Toshiba commissioned Japanese architect Makoto Tanijiri to create an evocative ceiling-mounted sky of LEDs and swirling mist called ‘Lucèste’ which floods the room in colour to change the mood of the space.
Two lights stood out for their innovation in manufacture. French designer Patrick Jouins ‘Bloom’ lamp for Belgium-based 3D rapid prototyping specialists and ‘MGX’ by Materialise, which is printed as a closed bud and blooms just slide the stamen to become an open lamp.
For Wästberg, Swedish celebrity architects Claesson Koivisto Rune designed the LED task light ‘W101’ made from sandwiched sheets of compressed paper pulp and starch (DuraPulp). The cabling is integrated within the sheets while the form is being pressed, and when switched on, the wires appear as veins of the lamp. Beyond its aesthetic quality, the folded geometry stabilises the structure of the lamp, which is grounded by a cast-iron base.
Drainage is often the forgotten workhorse of the building and design function. Yet drainage maintains a simple albeit vital purpose.