Milan Design Week introduced not only innovation but also Japanese esthetics and furniture made using traditional handicraft methods. The events of Fuorisalone were spread over the historic center of Milan – discover the Finnish Design Shop team's favorite exhibitions and new products!
&Tradition – The Preview
Danish design brand &Tradition gave a taste of their future collection. Finnish Design Shop team's favorite was Jaime Hayón's sympathetic Setago table lamp, which was presented in three color combinations. The light is cordless, has a dimmer switch and can be moved anywhere, making it also suitable for outdoor use. Its name is derived from the Spanish word seta, which stands for mushroom.
Hayón's Elefy chair selection was also presented—we liked its upholstered versions in particular. &Tradition has introduced classics into its collection by the Hvidt & Mølgaard designer duo, and the products were displayed in The Preview exhibition. The furniture will enter production later.
The Marimekko home was decorated with products from the spring and summer home collection and Artek's design classics.
Marimekko had created a cozy space together with Artek right in the heart of Milan. The warm two-room apartment was decorated with Marimekko's spring and summer home collection products and Artek's classic furniture and lamps. The Oiva tableware collection, launched ten years ago, was also used. Marimekko presented in Milan a new kind of comprehensive method of buying, with not only individual products but also entire interior decoration sets made available in the online shop.
Artek – FIN/JPN Friendship Collection
Artek presented the products of the new FIN/JPN friendship collection in a space created in central Milan by designer Linda Bergroth. The collection, created to commemorate a century of diplomatic relations between Finland and Japan, combines the countries' artisan skills with both cultures' contemporary design and classics.
We particularly liked the Secrets of Finland ceramic objects by Finnish-Korean COMPANY, which tell seasonal stories of Finnish culture. We also enjoyed Akira Minagawa's beautifully laid out Pieces of Aalto book and Alvar Aalto furniture with colorful wooden surfaces created with Jo Nagasaka's ColoRing technique. The discreet Japanese esthetics was one of the main trends of the Milan fair, represented in the collections of many manufacturers.
JOIN, an exhibition by young Norwegian designers, was one of the high points of the Milan fair.
JOIN by Norwegian Presence
JOIN, an exhibition by young Norwegian designers, on the Zona Tortona was one of the high points of the Milan fair. JOIN was curated by the Norwegian-Italian duo Kråkvik&D’Orazio, that is, Jannicke Kråkvik and Alessandro D’Orazio, and the exhibition, laid over three rooms, was designed by Kristine Bjaadal and Hallgeir Homstvedt.
“Norway doesn’t have the same design traditions as the other Scandinavian countries, and Norwegian designers are generally very free in their approach,” says Kråkvik. The exhibition consisted of prototypes and products by 21 designers and artists. Our favorites were Elementa's Klorofyll planters and Silent sideboard, and Noidoi Design's Spenn lamp. The additional material for the JOIN exhibition, such as the brochures and photos, were beautifully made.
Magis showroom – Plato
The downtown showroom of Italian Magis had Jasper Morrison's Plato aluminum chair as its centerpiece. The display was designed by Note Design Studio, with which Magis has been working together for a long time. Plato, which is suitable for indoor and outdoor use, is light in terms of the material and airy design and available in several colors.
The Perfect Darkness exhibition was the joint effort of Danish Creative Director Josephine Akvama Hoffmeyer and Italian architect Elisa Ossino. The apartment in downtown Milan on Via Solferino was decorated with Menu, Frama, and House of Finn Juhl furniture and Astep lamps.
The apartment featured not only Danish design but also skillful use of colors and tile surfaces, which Ossino has used with a fresh approach in each room.
Muuto was responsible for the smart interior design of the 'A Space for Being' exhibition.
Google Design Studio and Muuto – A Space for Being
Google Design Studio and Muuto's A Space for Being exhibition examined through means of modern technology, how furniture, interior decoration, art, fragrances, and lighting, for example, affect exhibition visitors. Each visitor received a specially made wristband that measured specific physical and physiological responses.
The clever interior decoration was by Muuto, whose furniture and lamps were used in the exhibition rooms of Spazio Maiocchi. The 1000 square meter space for art, design and fashion was founded by Carhartt WIP and Slam Jam clothes brands in 2017.
Formations by Tarkett
The main focus of interest in the Formations by Tarkett exhibition was the iQ Surface flooring material designed by Note Design Studio. An imposing installation had been built in the main room of the Circolo Filologico Milanese, consisting of 24 pillars of various sizes covered with iQ Surface, with balls, cubes, and cylinders balanced on top of them.
Normann Copenhagen, celebrating its 20th anniversary, presented its latest pieces in a joint exhibition with Superstudio, visited within a week by 80,000 design lovers. The Normann Copenhagen stand, bright with a tropical color palette, was created with the inspiration of the Brazilian artist and landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx. The latest items by the Danish brand included the Pad lounge chair, Silo poufs and new designs in the My Chair collection.
Karimoku New Standard – Home & Garden
The Japanese Karimoku New Standard had decorated an apartment in downtown Milan, in which the new pieces were presented in a home-like setting and courtyard garden. The 10-year-old brand is known especially for its wooden furniture, designed by Scholten & Baijings, Geckeler Michels and Christian Haas, among others.
Typologie – The wine bottle and the cork stopper
The exhibition curated jointly by Collections Typologie and Anniina Koivu focused on two common yet inconspicuous items: wine bottle and cork stopper. The exhibit focused on the history and manufacturing methods of both elements. A glass wine bottle is one of the oldest industrially manufactured products, its serial production starting hand in hand with bottled champagne in the 17th century.
“The wine bottle and cork stopper tell the history of industrial design in a nutshell. They are examples of the beginning of industrial manufacturing and standardization. They illustrate how conservation and transportation ultimately define the shape, size and use of objects. Their design is rational, logical, and coherent, without superfluous additions or redundancies. The beauty of these archetypal objects lies in their lack of design,” says Anniina Koivu.
The American designer Paul McCobb's elegant furniture and lamps are available again.
Reissues of the American Paul McCobb's (1917–1969) lamps and furniture were presented in downtown Milan in a private home, with some of McCobb's vintage furniture also included. Also, a book by McCobb on the subject was launched. McCobb, who was very popular in America in the 1950s and 60s, died at the age of 52, and was, especially outside America, overshadowed by his contemporaries Charles and Ray Eames. Now his smooth pieces of furniture are included in the selections of De Padova, Fritz Hansen and Karakter.
Made By Choice – Kolho
The Finnish company Made by Choice launched in Milan the Kolho furniture range by the American artist Matthew Day Jackson. The seats of the chairs and the table tops are made with Moon laminate, designed by Jackson and made by Formica, with patterns of moon surfaces. The eye-catching furniture is made from beginning to end in Halikko, Finland.
Nilufar Depot – FAR
The Milan Design Week was also visible at the Nilufar Depot art gallery, presenting two exhibitions: FAR and New Sculptural Presence. The FAR exhibition consisted of pieces by 10 artists, while New Sculptural Presence those of three artists, curated by Libby Sellers. The exhibition architecture was by Studio Urquiola.
Salvatori – Lost Stones
The Italian company Salvatori, established in 1946, which specializes in natural stones, had a showroom containing the Lost Stones table collection, designed by architect Piero Lissoni. The collection consists of tables whose old stone tops were found in a Salvatori storeroom. The cracked tops were repaired using the Japanese kintsugi method, which is usually applied to mend china: the cracks and fractures were filled in with gold.
The history of these rare pieces of stone is fascinating. The terracotta stone was quarried from the same place as the stones for the Notre Dame; the forest green was Mies van der Rohe's favorite, which he used in the Barcelona Pavilion and the Seagram Building in New York; while the black stone is the same that was used in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.
Text: Mikko Vaija Images: Manufacturers