Picture taken on Corso Garibaldi north of Piazza Moscova. The building in the middle is the “Centro Bonsai” – and the tallest building in the block. Italy – great at design, rubbish at artificially restricting vegetative growth.
Posts Tagged ‘Milano’
We must say it is good to get back to the comfort of the Zona Tortona press room and an ice cold cola – although we must report that the focaccia’s sadly seem to be finished :(
The first port of call for our second “off Salone” sojourn today was “Fake it Easy“ Czech design studio Koncern who have produced a range of products with the – alleged – aim that they should be copied.
In the smow(blog) we have often discussed the subject of original and copies and we would loved to have discussed the topic with the designers – sadly they are all in Prague. But watch this space. The idea for the range, however, arose after at least one of the teams designs was stolen and faked. An event which caused the designers to consider what it meant when a design is “stolen” and came to the conclusion that the meaning of the work changes – a bit like when Czechoslovakia “copied” post Warsaw Pact German unification by splitting into two countries. Same idea, just different.
The products themselves are an outrageous and original selection of glass products – we especially liked the water carafe, but als the beer glass with the joystick handle greatly appealed to our sense of design with a purpose.
On a similar subject, what do you get if you take a Wiggle Stool from Frank Gehry and stretch it a little? A Snake by Unusual Designs from Ragusa, Italy. When we first saw Snake we thought “copy”; however, having considered it for a moment or two and having looked at it a couple of times – at the end of the day the designers have taken the concept, but improved it so that one can actually use the space between the folds. Whereas you’d have to try really hard to get a book in the folds of a Wiggle Stool, with a “Snake” you have seat and book holder in one – perfect for the garden or balcony.
We’re now going to leave Tortona and head of little to the North to check out a few more shows…final destination is a cocktail party with some Belgians.
But before we go join us on a walk down Via Tortona … we tried to recreate that grainy, amateur, Super 8 feel, because what with all the retro sunglasses in Milan its as if “House” never happened. Hopefully the film will give an impression of what and where and how.
After 3 days at the Milan exhibition centre we’re giving it a miss today and spending the whole day “off-Salone”
Currently enjoying the splendid hospitality in the Zona Tortona press room and will try to ignore the film crew next to us who are working on “The First Design Movie” – coming to specialist film shop near you in September and try to order our thoughts from the first part of our tour.
We were up and about early, far to early for most designers but that didn’ stop us making a small discovery in the Via Savona – a “book shelf” system from Austrian designer Dejane Kabiljo. And yes the shelves and bookends are made from books. This is the second “book shelf” system we have seen recently, the other being by Not Tom. But what appeals to us about Kabiljo’s system is that it is an infinitely expandable and inter-changaable system. Ideally both designers should allow the use of your own old books to create a truly personal system for your personal library.
Which leads us nicely to our next stop – a library. Sometimes it’s almost as if we plan this. Via Savona 11 is home to Italy’s first design library. In a wonderfully, typically italian backyard the various partners involved have established a wonderful oasis of calm with wide selection of design orientated books and magazines. Although the majority are obviously in Italian there is a good selection of non-italian texts – and a lot of the books are in any case photo based. And so for any one with an interest in design who is planning coming to Milan at any time of the year, the library offers a wonderful opportunity to discover, re-discover. compare and remain updated. And there is a small cafe for a refreshment before you head back out on your tour.
Shortly after leaving the sanctuary of th library we stumbled somewhat unexpectedly on British designer John A. Harris‘s exhibition. Harris is one of those designers whose work we would love to buy – only, large wood furniture is just not our thing and so with the best of intentions we simply can’t justify buying it. But the quality of the craftsmanship is second to none and now that we have finally seen his new Chaise Longue “Mitochondria” we can confirm that it is huge, very well supported and if you are a fan of full wood furniture well worth a look.
Spontono is very stable, but a wafer thin mint in comparison to Harris’s chunky, trucker chocolate furniture.
The film crew have moved on, and so must we. We will keep you updated.
Looks like it could be a new seating system by Ron Arad – it is in fact a safety barrier inside the main exhibition centre.
Milan may be Italy’s second largest city and an important industrial centre … but it also lies close to both Lago di Garda and the Alps. And as this photo from the exhibition centre parking level shows, not matter how stressful the Salone is, serenity is never far away…..
Taking photographs in a moving underground train is not as easy as it looks :)
But we think we just about managed it…
The text on the sign says “C’e la crisi? No, c’e il Salone!”
Which roughly translated means: “Is it a crisis? — no its Salone!” ; the main PR angle of the exhibition organisers being “Crisis…what crisis?”
For us in the (smow)blog team the only crisis at the moment is the length of time we have to que to get coffee here in the press room….
Whereas the main Salone exhibition opened today, Wednesday; a lot of those producers and designers who are exhibiting “off-Salone” opened their doors on Tuesday evening.
Among them dutch producer Moooi who launched their forthcoming selection in the Superstudio Pia on the Supertrendy Via Tortona
And we must admit to being more than little impressed by many – though not all – of the designs.
In particular the Eurolantern, Raimond and Tree Lamp ranges caught our imagintion.
We’ll let the pictures speak for us … all designs will be available from the middle of 2009, and through smow.com
We at (smow)blog make no secret of our admiration for the work of Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec and so were especially delighted to receive confirmation of the “new” projects they will be displaying at the Salone Mobile in Milan.
In addition to their Vegetal Chair for Vitra and Clouds for Kvadrat, both of which we have already mentioned, les frères Bouroullec will also be premiering their Quilt sofa for Established & Sons and Steelwood coat hanger for Magis.
For us the real charm of the four projects is that they wonderfully demonstrate the versatility and capabilities of Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec without being mutually exclusive. The clear, minimalistic Steelwood coat hanger, for example, contrasting with the playful absurdity of the Quilt Sofa.
For a designer there is nothing worse than being pigeon-holed or “typecast”and nothing more fatal than falling into the trap of always repeating the one successful design.
At the end of the day Barbra Cartland is not the perfect role model for a young designer.
Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, however, have once again demonstrated that there is little danger that there work will become predictable and tiresome.
And we can’t wait to take a closer look at the Quilt Sofa.
Among the more interesting events taking place in Milan next week is a design forum on the subject of repairing designer furniture.
Taking Platform 21s “Repair Manifesto” as its starting point the forum sets out to ask if one should repair designer furniture, where are the pros, where are the cons and in how far repairing a piece of furniture alters the owners relationship with the piece.
There is of course repairing and repairing.
As the Manifesto correctly points out designers should create furniture that can be repaired, as is for example the fall with, for example, the aluminium and plastic series by Charles and Ray Eames through Vitra or Alberto Meda’s office chairs. With all these products if a cover, or a spring or a support is broken licensed dealers such as smow can provide spare parts and there are Vitra trained technicians worldwide who are qualified in fitting the new parts. Not a problem
But what do I do when an arm on my Louis ghost chair is broken? Glue it back on. Will that really, as per Article 7, help me discover how my chair works? Or should I just avoid buying works from Phillipe Starck and/or Kartell simply because they are difficult to repair? I don’t think so.
We are also interested by Article 9′s claim that even a fake can become original through being repaired. On the one hand, we’re not sure if such doesn’t encourage the purchasing of fakes; however, on the other we knew that our “new” Moormann Siebenschläfer bed was a “new” original.
In principle we find the idea of recycling designer furniture excellent. A well designed, and well made original should last a lifetime: and simply because it is damaged is no ground to dispose of it. And so we are looking forward to the forum and the discussion.
Only a week to go and then Europe’s most prestigious furniture trade fair opens it doors. The Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan is the meeting point for designers, producers and those who aspire to such.
And for the first time (smow) will also be in the Lombardy capital.
While the (smow)bosses peruse the fair and negotiate with suppliers the (smow)blog team will be scouring the city for the best, the worst, the most curious and the most entertaining stories and photos.
In addition we have a few surprises planned, but more on them later.
In addition to the Salone itself we will also be attending the accompanying international lighting exhibition Euroluce, and SaloneSatellite – the showcase for young, up-and-coming designers.
And as if all that were not enough we will also be sampling the delights of the Public Design Festival, in the words of the organisers “a festival dedicated to public spaces, and to how they are conceived and designed, or, on the contrary, neglected.”
Then there are the fringe events, installations and cocktail parties.
We simply can’t wait.
In addition to regular updates here in the (smow)blog we will also be Twittering like old women. For all the titbits and gossip simply follow smowblog