Wanting to see the Milan Fair through the eye of a designer, we asked Lucy Marczyk of Nexus Designs to share her personal view on Salone del Mobile, 2015. Here Lucy recounts what was new, what was trending and what were the two exhibition standouts according to the world of Lucy M.
A Milan Fair Mashup by Lucy Marczyk.
As always, Milan 2015 was buzzing. The first days of a European spring and the city was alive – perfect for exploring Milan’s trade fair halls and design districts around town, meeting new friends, catching up with old friends, and absorbing a year of progress in design, and discussing ideas for a year ahead.
Longevity and timelessness in design is important in the context of all that is new. That is what Milan 2015 delivers in spades: The fresh, and the new. I made it my mission to examine the very best and latest for 2015 at the fair which of course included openings, product launches and fabulous evening parties. It’s like Design Zanshin by day, Euro Disco by night.
New: There were lots of new products including chairs, lamps, robes, fragrances, beds, side tables, bedside tables, tall tables, hall tables, and dining tables. We saw tables made out of glass, glasses made of marble, and marble incorporating anything electrical.
Above: Lucy Marczyk seeing through Marble. 5 Senses marble design collection by Stonecycle.
Above: Eileen Grey Adjustable Table E 1027, Black in Black by ClassiCon.
Above: Electronic and crafted marble collection by Clique Editions.
Colour: There was not a lot of bright colours seen this year, rather a lot of beige and neutrals, dark and murky greens and blues, and something black in every range on show. A surprise however, was to see a lot of colour in the new ranges from Danish companies Fritz Hansen, Carl Hansen and Verpan. I always pay attention when companies stray from the ‘pack’. Are the Scandi’s over Scandi style?
Above: Colour on the Verpan stand.
Trends: The use of technology was a standout and evident in many product designs. One example of this could be seen in LED lighting incorporated into automated roller blinds and sun shades while 3D laser printed models also featured heavily. Consistent industry leaders like Kartell are using new technology in their manufacturing processes as could be seen in their revival of the Memphis group’s post modern pieces, that in the past were not possible to produce due to complex costs and manufacturing. British designer Tom Dixon redesigned the traditional construction of his wing back chair to contemporary manufacturing methods in order to make it more affordable.
Above: The Window at Kartell showing the Memphis Collection.
Above: The redefined version of the original Wingback chair by Tom Dixon.
The technology approach to design in my opinion is where we should be in 2015, taking everyday objects and designs and considering how we can improve functional design and how it can contribute to our everyday living, well being and environmental responsibilities rather than token measures.
It wasn’t all gush and glee. There was some gratuitous, superficial design that didn’t quite hit the mark. Top coated ‘consumer hype’ product design, particular in some of the satellite young designer stands. Just more stuff. Amazing creativity by these up and coming creatives, but missing the mark on how they would actually be executed in the market. A very friendly designer from Norway approached me seeking an agent for felted plants in pots. The day I move to the moon will be the day I’m in need of a felt made plant…
I was fortunate enough to have been invited to Castiglioni’s studio for a tour of his work space and it was incredible. Thousands of designs, everyday objects, skilfully using considered materials with wit. The cluttered studio space was filled with models, prototypes and sketches. The light switch which looks good, feels good and sounds good, a lamp with diffused glass etchings to reduce glare to the eye, and table that can collapse. Clever, timeless stuff.
The Fuorisalone was a standout. Nendo’s exhibition at the Museo della Permanente was breathtaking, ‘Glassworks’ 2014 to 2015 was a collection of 100 products designed by Nendo Studio. The exhibition was displayed beautifully over two levels, and this year he designed nine new ranges for Glas Italia which were displayed on the ground floor. These included a series of floating glass cubes with rainbow edged glass furniture which treated the glass with a gradient effect, beautiful shelving units, small tables and use of mirror. Technology was apparent in Nendo’s work too, a dining table that had an etched glass top, which was not visible until a spotlight from above hit the top, projecting the etched pattern onto a surface 100 mm underneath.
It was a knockout show.
The standouts? Castiglioni and Nendo. Two great designers, and although working 50 years apart, the parallels of their considered design approach is obvious.
Above: Nendo ‘Glassworks’ Exhibition