Thursday, 29 April 2010

Milan 2010 - Our Highlights

Overall, it wasn't a classic year for Milan and the volcano managed to distract people from the lack of innovation. Manufacturers were understandably cautious about investing in potentially expensive new techniques as the global markets slowly recover, and on the whole, true innovation was sidelined in favour of "tweaks" and extensions to existing product families.

Milan 2010 will probably go down in history as The Year of the Volcano, but that's not to say it didn't have it's highlights......

Established & Sons: Jumper Chair by Bertjan Pot and Lighthouse by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec in collaboration with the venerable Italian glass company Venini.

Cappellini: Alodia Stool by Todd Bracher

Swarovski Crystal Palace: Amplify by Yves Behar. Once again, the Swarovski Crystal Palace was one of the big draws at Zona Tortona with people queuing outside at all times of day.

One of the busiest designers this year was definitely Luca Nichetto with a host of new designs for a variety of manufacturers, including Skitsch, Tacchini and Established & Sons. Of his three new pieces for Skitsch, our favourite was the Shogun sofa.

And finally.......a mention for the fun and cosy Valdemar by Martin & Christian for Normann Copenhagen. The lounge chair as private hide away has been around for a while now, but Valdemar's exaggerated scale and personality gives it an edge.

For more of our Milan highlights, please visit our Twitter page.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Zeitraum in Milan

Zeitraum had an exceptionally busy time at the recent Salone del Mobile in Milan. Their luxurious 2010 collection, complete with 3 brand new families certainly drew the crowds. Products launched in Köln in January (see our earlier post here) were given a second outing in different finishes but the result was the same; People loved them! Morph Bar, Secret and Plank all got the thumbs up from the design cognoscenti.

Add to that the totally new products in the shape of Mellow, Twist and Apu and visitors were spoiled for choice.

Mellow is the latest collaboration in a long and successful relationship between Zeitraum and design house Formstelle. A slim frame with delicate detailing gives it a certain lightness and the leather strapping to support the soft leather cushions rather than a solid headboard continues the light and airy theme. Superleggera was once again in evidence at this years Salone, and despite being a physically large piece of furniture, Mellow was the perfect embodiment of the Superleggera style.
The leather pillows are down filled around a foam core to give a soft welcome while providing support and maintaining their shape.

Twist is a new family of dining and low tables. Continuing in the Superleggera style, the sharp angles of the refined base amply support the elegantly profiled top. The contrast between the twists and turns of the base and the gentle slope of the top profile is sublime.

Apu means “Help” in Finnish. Help because they are always on hand to help. The designer Hanna Ehler is half-Finnish and likes to use Finnish names for her designs. Part table, part vase, part tray, in crisp white ceramic and solid wood, Apu is the perfect addition to the Zeitraum family – pure materials in a pure form and a new aesthetic.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Salone Satellite

Tucked away behind the impressive bathroom stands of Hall 24, Salone Satellite provided some of the most interesting designs of the show. Young designers were one of the first to suffer the effects of the downturn and that was reflected in the relatively poor showing in 2009. However, we are glad to report the show was bigger, brighter and stronger this year. We are also glad to report that UK designers had a major part to play in the success.

London designers Gemma Fabbri and Chris Ager of Scene showed Doris, a side table in powder-coated aluminium which can be combined with her younger sisters Bridget and Ruth to provide a contemporary nest. Scene also presented Time shelves, inspired by time and motion with the frame reminiscent of an old fashioned egg-timer.

Corinna Warm presented her Circus pendant lamps in a range of colours and sizes (below).

Having recently moved from the UK to Barcelona, Lime Studio presented a series of new products including the Marina bench for outdoor use, Pivot table and Ghost light.

Other highlights included Petter Skogstads floating Disco light, the beautiful Bambi and Platypus from Studio Ju Ju and Outofstock's delicious Boya table light.

We're looking forward to seeing more of these pieces and these young designers.

White is the new white

Last year we told you white is the new black, and this year we have been proved right, so that makes white the new white.

Perhaps it was a sense of new beginnings following the uncertainty of the last couple of years, or perhaps it was budget constraints but pure white was everywhere this year. Accented in the main with black and grey, it did feel a little like walking through a Charlie Chaplin film. When colour was used, it was strong and bright and used sparingly.

If you don't believe us, take a look at the evidence......

With few exceptions, Porro presented an almost entirely white stand. Shadow Light and Balancing Boxes both by Front (and previewed by us back in January) took centre stage along side Jade lounge chair and Shahan low table by Christophe Pillet (above).

Pixel Rug by Cristian Zuzunaga for Nanimarquina (above).

Moroso, normally a riot of colour and fun, tempered their palette and set their designs against an intricate stand design made entirely of polystyrene.

See also MDF Italia, e15 and Zanotta (below).

Salone del Mobile 2010 - Escape From Milan

Once we'd finished feeling sorry for ourselves after our extended journey home from this years Salone, we started to feel sorry for the manufacturers who had spent a small fortune to exhibit there - one day in and suddenly the only topic of conversation was a bizarrely improbable volcanic ash cloud! Coming from Iceland of all places! Surely a joke? Once everyone realised it wasn't a joke, conversation quickly turned to escape routes. All flights grounded, trains booked up were we to get home?

Social networking really came into it's own during The Cloud, with people taking to Twitter and Facebook to spread the latest news and possible routes home. Special commendation should go to Marcus Fairs of Dezeen, who posted a phenomenal number of Tweets to help stranded travellers, and landed himself with a massive phone bill in the process. Surely an OBE for Services to Design(ers Stuck in Milan) is in order?