Naked grey mannequins against a tasteful grey backdrop filled the windows of The Department Store, an installation by British design star Lee Broom. Taking over a row of disused shops, Broom conjured his own surreal version of a Hat Room, Perfumery, Ladies Accessories, Gents Fitting Room, Book Store and Haberdashery, and filled with it with 20 of his latest designs.
Dust Free Friends
Maniera, Dust Free Friends — Solo Chair © Sven Laurent
At the Christie’s Milan base in Palazzo Clerici, five Belgian artists and architects came together as the collective Maniera. A highlight was Dust Free Friends, a collection of simple plywood tables, privacy screens and stools by 6a architects. The firm is known for its crafty, ‘maker’ approach and the collection references William Morris (his wallpaper appears on some of the pieces) and Italian designer Enzo Mari, whose famous 1974 manual Autoprogettazione is a paean to self assemble furniture.
Left: Phillip Rahm, Spectral Light. Right: Marcel Wanders for Moooi, Lighting Space-Frame Small
One year it’s kitchens, the next it’s lighting. This year, at the main fairground in Rho, it was the latter’s turn. All over Milan, lighting was big and bold. Philippe Rahm’s Spectral Lights lit up Artemide’s city centre showroom; at Nilufar Depot, Lindsey Adelman’s creations crossed walls and corners, and at Dutch brand Moooi, the Space-Frame lamp by Marcel Wanders and Heracleum lights by Bertjan Pot showed that a single bulb just doesn’t cut it.
Sawaya & Moroni
David Adjaye, One Series — Multipurpose unit, 2015
Directional showroom Sawaya & Moroni has been a must-stop for design art lovers since 1978. This year, David Adjaye was star designer. His ‘One Series’ is an all-in-one system combining desk, sofa and daybed within a continuous aluminium frame. Ever since Joe Colombo launched his Total Furnishing Unit in 1972, which condensed bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and storage space into one unit, micro-architecture and solutions for compact living have been an ongoing preoccupation for designers.
Nina Yashar is Milan’s leading design maven and for nearly two decades her gallery Nilufar has been the go-to spot for mid-century gems and limited edition, modern pieces. Now she’s opened up her warehouse, Nilufar Depot, to the public. Featuring more than 3,000 pieces, amassed over 30 years, it’s a treasure trove of glorious vintage finds and creations by designers that Yashar has nurtured.
Left: Floris Wubben’s Gradient. Right: Floris Wubben’s Hammered machine
After years in the wilderness, cacti and cheeseplants are back and there was no shortage of sculptural planters on offer. London designer Philippe Malouin created chiseled geometric prototypes from Caesarstone, engineered quartz, while Dutch designers Floris Wubben and Olivier Van Herpt have both devised machines to conjure one-off ceramics. Wubben’s makes abstract pots in clay on his ‘pressing machine’ and Van Herpt has invented his own 3D ceramics printer, which controls the clay more rigorously than a regular one would.
Ettore Sottsass for Kartell, Sottsass Group
There’s always a trace of Memphis in the air during Salone, (the Post Modern movement began in Milan in 1981) but Kartell’s tribute to its master, Ettore Sottsass, was a full-blown affair. Vases, stools and a lamp, designed by Sottsass for Kartell from 2004 to 2005, but never produced due to technological constraints — finally made it to the showroom floor. Vintage fabric from Memphis members Nathalie du Pasquier and George Sowden upholstered on to Kartell classics completed the tribute.
Massimiliano Locatelli in the 16th century Chiesa San Poalo Converso
Massimiliano Locatelli’s tables are no ordinary tables. With tops made in glass, coral, enamel — even snakeskin — they fit together like body parts. Eager to open up his new studio, a modern metal box within the 16th century Chiesa San Poalo Converso, Locatelli displayed his latest pieces in front of the altar. They follow his Laghi d’Italia tables, based on the shapes of Italy’s famous lakes and made specifically for Nilufar. He also renovated the gallery’s 1500-square metre depot.
Objets Nomades by Louis Vuitton
More grand palazzos than ever opened their doors for Salone this year, and participation by fashion houses was at an all time high. Louis Vuitton took up residence in the 19th century Palazzo Bocconi to exhibit additions to its Objets Nomades collection. What started in 2012 as a collection of ‘portable’ furniture, inspired by the house’s rich history of luggage design, has grown into 16 pieces by the leading names in design. New additions for Milan include the Concertina chairs by Raw Edges and a portable ‘Beach’ chair by Maarten Baas.
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