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Seen in Milano 2024

New era style

Trends seem to capture the zeitgeist in designs that touch on today’s developments: different, more sustainable, use of materials. Attention to acoustics and tactility. But also a focus on our senses, light, sound and the sense-making of artificial intelligence.

That magical moment when the sun appears between heaven and earth and enchants the sky with a splendour of interwoven hues. Mandalaki captures this sensation in the lighting design ‘Halo Sunrise’. A lamp that not only provides light, but also atmosphere in (public) spaces.

Italian architect Jacopo Gonzato is captivated by the power of geometric shapes and their sounds. He makes pure wooden sculptures in geometric shapes. Via the pedestal they stand on, he plays music into the form. The vibrations create a surprising translation from the geometry in the music to that in the form.

Axel Schindlbeck was asked to design a chair for an outdoor cinema in New York. This inspired him to design the ‘Undine’ lounge chair made of canvas and steel. But also to the clickable music system that transmits vibrations through the canvas. The effect is an almost tangible sound experience.

New Fashion Factory
She has been working with the potential of mycelium, the fungal threads of mushrooms, for ten years. Aniela Hoitink turned it into Mycotex, and thanks to the 3D making technique Neffa (New Fashion Factory) developed by her company, the material is now suitable for quick and clean production of materials, such as these acoustic wall panels.

Conch light
Dutch designer Marc van der Voorn went to work with Mycotex and Neffa to show what is possible. His ‘Conch light’ captures the light in a wall fixture made of Mycotex. When lit, the light shines through, revealing the rich texture.

Textile art
Textile designer Francesca Mueller draws inspiration from the possibilities of artificial intelligence. She generated designs using AI, which she translated into fabrics and rugs. She then left it to an AI tool to create an exhibition image with them.

Village on the floor
With ‘Fra Fra Tapestry’ by Spanish studio Alvara Catalàn de Ocón, you get a whole village over your head. Using a drone, Catalàn flew over the Fra Fra family’s village in Ghana, exposing the pattern of huts. On a scale of one in six, he translated this into a rug that holds the social structures and stories of the community.

Simple but so appealing. Instead of dragging a whole set of high-tech-looking devices with us, Robert Bronwasser comes up with ‘Replay’, with a nod to the oldskool portable TVs of yesteryear. Replay is a universal player that can stream anything for you – photos, music, series or games, but most of all it looks delicious.

Poetic paper
The custom-made room divider ‘Metamorphosis’ by Dutch design duo Nienke + Alissa consists of stainless steel strands with shapes of Japanese laminated shoji paper that can move. That movement activates, stimulates your senses and encourages concentration and focus.

Bold & Blue

Pronounced in form and gesture, so are many pieces of furniture and design. Pront and round, unreserved. And so is the use of colour: bright and expressive, with a starring role for royal blue.

Polish designer Nikodem Szpunar’s work is THE example of design you can’t ignore. For his ‘Big Scale Rugs’ for Dutch design label Moooi, he seems to use rugs as a canvas for enormous brushstrokes.

For outdoor use
Thomas Heatherwick’s ‘Inside’ chair for Italian Magis is (also) for outdoors. Above all, it is a signpost for creative experimentation and innovative technology. This creates a seating unit that reveals at a glance its equally generous shape and colourful inside.

Round and soft
Eero Aarnio’s puppies for Italian Magis have been around for 20 years. Now, all sizes – from XL to mini XS – come in velvet versions and exciting and expressive colours: in neon and in a descending hue. Spicy and pront.

A perfect place for a day nap, that’s how Italian Miniforms describes the ‘Nebulona’ armchair in its new collection. Round and inviting, like an arm that wraps around you, finished in Dedar’s already iconic ‘Tiger beats’ fabric.

Like building with blocks, that’s the idea behind ‘Canto’, a modular system by design studio Mut for Sancal. The different seating sections and tables, with a playful combination of angular and rounded, can be used as armchairs, sofas or seating islands.

Sturdy columns stacked of colourful and shiny ribbed ceramic. That’s the ‘Torsi’ series by Objects of Common Interest for Italy’s Bitossi Ceramiche. The columns graced the steps of Villa Bagatti Valsecchi during the Alcova exhibition in Milan.

Round view
Mirror ‘Coque’ by Alain Cilles plays with contrasts: a round ceramic bowl with a matt finish and a glossy inside, for extra shine. In the Miniforms collection, the mirror is as functional as it is decorative.

Cushions round as boulders combined with gossamer steel creates a nice contrast in the chair ‘Plasma’ by Nigel Coates at Italian Poltronova. The brand – which publishes purely design classics – was back on the Milan show floor for the first time in 30 years. And with a presentation that could rightly be called ‘bold & blue’.

Blue sand
Johan Wilén created the extraordinary console table ‘Contourage’ for Sweden’s Tooj Studio. The question is which stands out the most: the organic 3D print, the finish with rough Quartz sand or the almost luminous cobalt blue colour. A statement in every respect.

Medieval Mood

That going back to the Middle Ages is not always backward, brands and makers in Milan prove. From artisan carvings, to flickering candlelight – whether or not based on the latest LED technology. A touch of castle romance anno today.

Soft seating
Konstantin Grcic collaborated with Dutch designer Hella Jongerius for his armchair ‘Twain’ for Italian brand Magis. The result is a timeless eco-friendly produced chair constructed from wood, leather and textiles designed by Jongerius.

Forever flickering
Monks’ work, that was the development of ‘My Candle Flame’ by Studio Waldemeyer. It took no less than ten years to implement the timeless flicker of a candle in the latest LED technology. Beautiful as a single candle or as a chandelier.

Opportunity Cabinet
That goes for the ‘Lucky Dice Cabinet’ by Dutch designer Diederik Schneemann. Only those dice with which he managed to roll a ‘six’ got the chance to be part of one of the seven pieces of furniture in the ‘Lucky Dice’ series. On view at Galerie Rossana Orlandi.

Balcony pieces
For centuries, ceramic heads – ‘Testa di Moro’ have adorned the corners of balconies in Sicily. French architect Berenice Curt translates that historical tradition into her ‘la Testa di Marmi’, stylised marble heads that adorned the garden of Villa Borsani in Milan in the Alcova exhibition.

Button candlestick
Buttons represent wealth, is Korean tradition. South Korean WKND Lab is keen to honour traditions and crafts with its designs. With their ‘Depth of a Line’, seen at Alcova, they combine knotting techniques with candlelight.

In particular, the jugs ‘Amphora’ by Andrea Tsang, who moved to Stockholm from Shanghai, exude the atmosphere of long-forgotten centuries. Her ceramics are characterised by timeless allure, in which past and present seem to converge.

Gothic mirror
The artist Kiko Lopez is known for his artisanal way of making mirrors, still like the old days with a layer of real silver behind a glass plate. The ‘Gothic Mirror’ in six parts, on display at Rossana Orlandi, further refers to the (church) architecture of the Middle Ages.

Looking with your eyes
The crafted wooden stools and tables are precisely what you want to touch, but their visual tactility alone is “tactile”, the Russian-origin duo Alexander Kanygin and Anna Druzhinina would like to say. The pair collected wood from nature: naturally weathered and handcrafted.

At the table
The handmade silver cutlery ‘Jardín’ seems to have escaped from a fairy tale. The table jewellery comes from a collaboration between Argentinian artist Connie Vallese and Danish jewellery brand House of Elhanati.

Stone, paper, scissors

Stone, paper, scissors: 3 elements that recur in interiors, sometimes in unexpected places or appearances. Keeping one, as in the old children’s game, is fortunately not necessary. The most beautiful solutions in paper, stone and with ‘the scissors’ go well together.

Minimalist, peeled down to furniture simplicity. This is what Rachel Heritage wanted to achieve with the chairs in her Solid Series, made from used cardboard round plywood. She calls her paper furniture with strong geometry functional art or practical sculptures.

Penalty bench
Taking a seat on Australian Tom Fereday’s ‘Mazer’ chairs is by no means a medieval practice. Thanks to organically shaped hollows in the porous stone travertine, the chairs are surprisingly comfortable.

It is nice to see how far brands go to scrutinise their bestsellers and bring them up to the most durable version. Catifa has been a classic in Arper’s collection since 2001. The new Carta version, composed of 29 layers of paper mixed with a natural binder.

Terracotta is here to stay, and seen in many collections and appearances, from traditional planter to innovative building blocks. Or – as here at Miniforms – as a side table and earthy tone for interiors in the form of stool ‘Tototò’.

Martin Rodriguez has thrown himself into the constructive and conceptual power of the reused cardboard tube. An artist, designer and architect, Rodriguez uses all his insights and experiences in his. The cardboard chair – which can actually be sat on – is part of the Adorable Formidable series, on show at Salone Satellite – the design fair’s up-and-coming talent section.

Ceramic cladding is making a comeback in architecture. Rotterdam-based IOUS Studio comes up with an enticing range of 3D-printed clay cladding for facades in glossy finishes and all kinds of colours. On show at Salone Satellite, the part of the fair that has hosted start-up designers for 25 years.

The two designers from Canada’s Marrimor bring their garment series Draft to Alcova’s exhibition at Villa Bagatti Valsecchi. The 3D-effect rugs made of crumpled paper were there in a room with lifelike crumpled paper, ‘drafts’ or sketches in the design process.

Paper vase
South Korean design duo WKND Lab presents the Paper Stratum No. 1 and No. 2 vases, with a nod to the material they are made of. Stacks of Harper’s Bazaar magazine and paper bags from the L’Occitane brand have been turned into vases, usable and waterproof thanks to a coating.

Stone on the wall
Italy’s Florim comes up with new collections in their Cedit series of ceramic wallcoverings. Matteo Nunziati and Federico Peri’s stone wall ‘Tesori & Compatta’ depicts a landscape with references to ancient earthen walls, a horizon and even a sun.