Milan Design Week 2016 12-17 April 2016
By Dieneke Ferguson and Manuel Ruiz-Adame
This is one of a series of articles about our visit to Milan for the Milan Design Week in 2016 and to visit the Salone del Mobile and Salone Satelite. You can see the other articles here:
Visiting Milan 2016: Salone del Mobile, Salone Satelite, Bright Potato
Visiting Milan 2016: Airbnb, Makers and Bakers, Dossofiorito, Piet Hein Eek
Visiting Milan 2016: Zona Tortona, Moooi, Soklara, Lee Broom
Visiting Milan 2016: SO KLARA
Visiting Milan: Kukka shows Spectra
Visiting Milan: Airbnb presents Makers and Bakers
We didn’t have long in Milan. Manuel and myself arrived on Tuesday 12 April in the evening and flew back on Saturday 16 April. We are always struggling with time as our list of what we would like to see never works within the limited time available.
This year we were pleased that 4 of the designers that are selling on the Hidden Art E-Shop were exhibiting in different places across Milan. We have written about their shows alongside other designers whose shows we really liked. They are Bright Potato, Curvalinea, Kukka and SO KLARA.
There was a lot to see this year in Milan and it takes time to digest it all back at home. But some of the trends we spotted were:
- The eclectic nature of the shows – with a myriad of inspirations
- Indirect focus on Brasil and the Rio 2016 Olympics. Jungle plants and design; bright and bold colours
- Focus on materials, its uses and sustainability
- Food and design
- The craftsmanship behind the design
Friday 15 April 2016
Up until now we had really savoured the shows we saw and tried not to rush too much, although of course it is inevitable with so much to see. So on Friday we had a busy programme, but Manuel suggested that we walk, as distances were not too far and it looked worse with tubes than what it actually was.
The German lighting designer Ingo Maurer exhibited his work at the San Paolo Converso, a former church on Piazza Sant’Eufemia 2. The church was the ideal setting for the’poet of light’ to show new and existing work alongside installations designed especially for the event.
It included the new table lamps by Keep Balance and Ku Ru Ru that encapsulates balance in poetical expressions.
With religious icons as a backdrop the side chapels showed other of his installations such as the 1000 Karat Blau with lampshades in gold leaf and glass that reflect and scatter light.
There was also a piece reflecting the Disney Cartoon world
and the Johnny B Butterfly a result of a collaboration with Graham Owen.
The Restaurant by Caesarstone and Tom Dixon
Tom Dixon showcased new designs in a unique temporary restaurant which was created in a late baroque deconsecrated church.
Four radical dining halls collided with four futuristic caesarstone kitchens. A collection of recipes were curated by Italian food design studio Arabeschi di Latte based on the four natural elements: Water, Fire, Earth and Ai. Cooking life from the kitchens a multi-sensory dining experience was created that incorporated rare element-inspired cooking techniques with fresh and unique ingredients.
Each course was prepared and served in one of the four Tom Dixon designed Caesarstone kitchens and dining halls.
The Earth kitchen, inspired by the ancient Roman aqueducts incorporated earthy brown tones of selected Caesarstone designs. The food was prepared by adopting an ancient European vegetable cooking method that utilizes hay to enhance the natural flavours of the products.
The FIRE kitchen is inspired by charred wood and smoke, using blackened beams and hints of gold in combination with Caesarstone’s dramatic blacks and dark greys. The food was smoked, seared and burned.
The WATER kitchen reflected the jagged edges of frozen ice and has been interpreted using a spectrum of Caesarstone grey and white tonalities. Varying from steaming to freezing, the kitchen experimented with the material by subjecting it to extreme temperatures.
The AIR kitchen was inspired by urban architecture and was created with thin, vertically-placed Caesarstone slabs and cut-outs that serve as cooking counters. This was the dessert bar.
Products from Dixon’s new Materiality range, including a geometric light named Curve and teardrop-shaped lamps called Fade, were also being shown for the first time as part of the installation.
The layout is designed to encourage visitors to move between the kitchens to try different courses that together make up a full meal.
Kukka, Installation ‘Spectra’
Kukka launched its ‘Spectra’ Installation at the Frame Exhibition ‘What’s the Matter? Design for a Phygital World’ at la Posteria.
Spectra uses Dichroic finished glass as a dominant material to help express the significant conditions affected by light and time, reflection and refraction. Glass is a modern material that has recently seen a come back and that has been used since the Roman empire, which has its own structural and solid properties. The Dichroid glass, made by Prinz Optics in Germany is transparent, reflecting and retracting. It is combined with Quartz slabs made by Caesarstone which is solid, absorbent and repellent.
On show were the ABCD table and the O Table, occasional side tables which were composed of two pieces and made from two different materials, Quartz and Glass. The reflections of the table show how the environment can influence the design object.
The colour of the glass changes depending on the angle it is viewed from.
“What’s the Matter? Design for a Phygital World”.
Frame envisions a material future in which the physical and digital realms are in constant conversations, so inherently intertwined that it’s difficult to distinguish one from the other. With the lines between digital matter and physical design blurring, how can objects suggest the aesthetic of a phygital future.
Serpentine Galleries in Milan: A Search Behind Appearances
This is a collaboration between designer Hella Jongerius and theorist Louise Schouwenberg for la Rinascente department store in Milan. Commissioned by the Serpentine Galleries. A special installation was created for la Rinacenta’s 8 front windows. A Search Behind Appearances reflects on the state of affairs in design and prompts a consideration of the meanings that hide behind appearances. Questions are evoked and means are offered for ‘reading’ a design’s true value. It encourages the spectator to meditate on the world of design in all its forms, dismantle and lay them bare for all to see.
The Ventura Lambrate cluster started in 2010 and was founded, curated and produced by the Dutch company Organisation in Design in collaboration with the architect Mariano Pichler. The idea was to use the impressive industrial spaces for exhibitions during the Milan Design Week. It is a popular venue for universities and colleges from Holland as well as other countries. This includes the Eindhoven Design Academy.
Curvalinea, whose side tables are available on the Hidden Art E-Shop exhibited at the Din Metal Industrial building with a sample of her tables. Her elegant tables come in four shapes.
And unfortunately that is all we had time for. There is too much to see and not enough time so it is always about making choices. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the Triennale this year.