Highlights from Salone del Mobile 2012
An international fair like Salone del Mobile is a bit of a maze. Navigating from main events to satellite venues, trying to ascertain on the fly which exhibit to see and which to pass up, all in a new city where you don’t even speak the local language is both eye-opening and exhilarating. Sifting through it all is a bit of a challenge.
With all eyes on Milan this week, MINI Space was there to bring you some highlights. We tore the city apart looking for the gems and after hundreds of booths, a few wrong turns, and countless espressos, we found impressively creative solutions to everyday products. Some decadent, some fun, and others just sumptuously sleek.
The spotlight may have shone predominantly on the official events, but during design week Milan is packed with creative entrepreneurs that are not to be missed. The pop-up boutique phenomenon is where young talent can take risks and get their name out. While the big acts are at the massive exhibition halls on the outskirts of the city, these temporary spaces are found along cobblestoned stradas next to the neighborhood café or gelato shops. Two in particular caught our eye.
Descending a skinny, ancient brick stairway into a cool cellar with low vaulted ceilings, we discovered a collection of customized lamps built entirely of specially-selected cardboard and paper materials. Sliced, folded and woven, the young team of Milan-based designers who make up Kiro Kolektif wanted to ask where the boundary was between model and final piece. Interestingly, Scholten & Baijings of the COLOUR One for MINI noted similar ideas, describing their project as being akin to a “3D sketch.” As an additional twist, some pieces were assembled with precision and care right on site, allowing visitors to observe the creative process from messy inception to elegant final display. With visually striking results, these relatively low-budget works were examples of the nimble, exploratory activity that thrives in this city. Very “Creative Use of Space” and proof that it’s not all polished marble and stainless steel in Milan.
Another favorite of ours from these unofficial Salone exhibits was THE FRONT ROOM: COLOUR AND GEOMETRY, a temporary installation that sought to reinvent the living room with fresh takes on classic furniture. Among the designers was Oskar Peet and Sophie Mensen of OS & OOS (during our conversation with Oskar, we learned that by coincident he also helped with the COLOUR One for MINI project). The SYZYGY lamp series imitates the aesthetics of “syzygy” — a term NASA coined to describe the alignment of three celestial bodies (more about this). Solar and lunar eclipses occur during syzygy, as do phenomena called “transit” and “occultation.” In this series, the designers took the function of a lamp as a light emitting tool and played with effects of blocking or manipulating the light with special discs and LEDs. Gently turn one of the discs, and the lamp produces a dramatic array of tones and brightness levels. With its conceptual motivations and obvious cool-factor, this was a highlight for MINI Space while in Milan.
After the frequent cloud cover of cigar smoke, incessant chatter of innumerable languages, combined with a steady drip of adrenaline infused with Italian espresso, all set in front of the backdrop of some of the world’s most refined products, the MINI Space Team is more than a little tuckered out. Sadly, the designer sofas we came across that promised an endless supply of divine naps just weren’t in our budget. But after all the impressive furniture and some sage advice from the pros, we’re also left plenty inspired, so we might just break out the pad and paper, sewing machine, and hammer and nails.
Designer Double-Take: COLOUR ONE for MINI by Scholten & Baijings hits Salone del Mobile 2012
Words of the Wise: MINI Space Talks with the Pros at Salone del Mobile
OS & OOS
THE FRONT ROOM: COLOUR AND GEOMETRY
Salone del Mobile
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