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Above: Trent Jansen’s Briggs Family Tea Service, image courtesy Trent Jansen/Broached Commissions.
Acclaimed designer Trent Jansen visited Milan as part of the exhibition New Craft, showcasing the use of advanced digital manufacturing tools from within a converted tram factory. New Craft will be taking place at Fabbrica del Vapore, Via Procaccini 4, until September 12.
Jansen’s Briggs Family Tea Service design was on display in Milan as part of the XX1 Triennale International Exhibition 2016. As one of Australia’s leading figures in design, Jansen shares his Milan insights with ADR.
What is your main objective going into Design Week?
Going to see my Briggs Family Tea Service at XX1T, International Exhibition, curated by the Triennale Di Milano. I am also very keen to meet with some old friends at Edra and Moooi to see whether we might be able to collaborate on some projects in the coming years.
Who are the standout personalities that have inspired you at Milan?
When I first graduated from university I was an intern for Marcel Wanders, so I can’t help but be influenced by his personality. I will definitely be going to visit him at the Moooi stand. I am also very fond of Valerio Mazzei and Leonardo Volpi from Edra. I was a resident at Edra a few years ago and got to know these guys very well. They are very lovely people, and I have always felt like part of the family there.
In your view, which designers or design houses have continually raised the bar at Milan?
I feel like it has been a few years since we have seen anything truly compelling in Milan. Maarten Baas is always one to watch, and I feel that Forma Fantasma is very much worth keeping an eye on.
Which innovative exhibitions or products made an impression on you this year?
I feel that we are in a very conservative cycle of design. The last year of innovation for me was the 2008 salone, the last one before the Global Financial Crisis. Ever since, it seems that even the most avant guard brands have been playing it safe, trying to survive in tough financial times. And who can blame them. Before the fair, there was some talk of this year being the year that we begin to see the end of this cycle, but from what I saw, conservatism was still the theme. Moooi showed some signs of coming out of this phase, with a risky piece by Paul Cocksedge, and the Italian government funded the first Triannale Di Milano International Exhibition in 21 years, a big risk using public funds. I hope that this is a sign of things to come for next year.
Which key themes or ideas did you observe at this year’s Salone del Mobile?
I see a continued conservative approach to design. There are fewer and fewer companies with the courage to exhibit avant-guard work that challenges the status quo. It feels that many companies are being overly cautious and this is disappointing.
You can’t leave Milan without doing/visiting/seeing:
A visit to Rosanna Orlandi is crucial. It is also very important to have a pizza at Fabrica in Porta Genova – I am gluten intolerant, so this is a very guilty pleasure. Of course a Negroni at Bar Basso is also a must, but maybe on Sunday night after the crowds have died down a little.
Working with Edra from the start, Italian designer Francesco Binfaré has produced some of the brand's classics, including the recent Pack and Chiara sofa.