Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Milan 2013: Beyond Rho

It's always a cheap thrill to see a first timers reaction to the Fair. They knew it was going to be big, but THIS big??? Then they realise they've barely scratched the surface. There's a lot more to see and do (and a lot more walking) in the city.

The consensus this year is that the city was a little subdued, and we'd have to agree. There didn't seem to be that persistent urge to keep going, going because you were going to miss something. This was partly to do with the fact there were less installations and satellite shows but also because they seem slightly more organised in geographical clusters than ever before. Brera, Tortona and the increasingly commercial Lambrate areas seemed to contain the vast majority of the action, saving on shoe leather.

In Brera, designjunction presented EDIT in the impressive Pelota space. A collection that could (mostly) be summed up as "Brits Abroad" it proved designjunction is a serious player and not just in the London design scene. A shot across the bow for their LDF rivals, and a taster of what's to come at The Sorting Office in September, EDIT was a relaxed atmosphere with a diverse group of exhibitors.

Around the corner, Dilmos gallery presented Glassworks by Nendo. Thoughtful and as minimal as you would expect from the prolific design studio, the exhibition presented Nendo products for brands such as Glas Italia, Baccarat and Lasvit alongside custom glass vessels.      

Woomin Park presented the Memphis-referencing Haze Series in the basement at Spazio Rossana Orlandi, while outside in the courtyard Bergaform from Sweden presented their new direction with products by Claesson Koivisto Rune, Nendo, Luca Nichetto and Relay favourite Jonas Wagell.

MOST conceived and anchored by Tom Dixon returned to the museum of Science and Technology for the second time. Brands including Lensvelt, Resident from New Zealand ans Sander Mulder spread out across this sprawling campus and found their own niches amongst the steam trains and ships. A hugely impressive space, it stole the show with Lensvelt with Studio Job the only exhibitor to stage a presentation capable of competing with the space. 
Job Office by Lensvelt and Studio Job at MOST. Image taken from Lensvelt with thanks
Finally to Lambrate, which was conceived a few short years ago as a mix of experimental young designers, design schools and young brands and now suddenly there are also more established companies hoping the cool would rub off on them. Rumours that young designers are already being priced out of the area are worrying. Where is left for them to go? 

Studio WM from Rotterdam presented Reflecting In Colour, a series of lights and tables with soft subtle colour gradients. In the same location, Lex Pott presented new versions of his renowned True Colours copper work and Earnest Studio presented All Of A Piece, a collaboration with Dana Cannam Design - an interchangeable table top collection in walnut, marble and granite (all of these materials were in abundance in Milan this year).
Earnest Studio
Lex Pott
Japanese manufacturer Karimoku New Standard collaborated with Italian "food designer collective" Arabeschi di Latte to present Kitchen Library, an experimental kitchen mixing an artisanal approach with technology and a research library.

COS collaborated with Bonsoir Paris to create a concept store which was more about the space than the product (but you could still buy the product if something caught your eye)

And finally, to the stunning Villa Necchi and Belvedere, an exhibition organised by Fabrica. 10 designers were dispatched to 10 "of the most stunning locations in Italy" and each produced an object using materials found in that area. Below is the space divider by Charlotte Juillard which reproduces the windows of the San Fruttuoso Abbey in Liguria from three distinct phases in it's history. 
And, that's all folks for our Milan 2013 roundup. See you same time, same place next year!