Salone del Mobile (Milan Design Week) is generally considered a barometer for measuring the attentions and moods of the design world. And this year experimentation and innovation was high on the agenda. As the city gears up to host the World Expo from May, Salone del Mobile more than proved that the city is still a world leader in creativity. Here's our pick of the best of the week...
1. Hyundai helio curve sculpture in motion 2.0
California based artist Reuben Margolin unveiled his collaboration with motor company Hyandai for the second part of their 'sculpture in motion' project. Showcasing the company's tribute to natural form and the designs of the automotive world was a 'fluidic sculpture' whereby the design process is constantly moving, expressing the interconnectivity of natural movement.
Hyundai helio curve Sculputure in Motion 2.0 © Hyundai
Ever eager and ready to transform the mundane or sparse living space with inspirational designs and concepts, Moooi once again did not disappoint. Offering a selection of surreal and sublime interiors, futuristic light solutions, and iconic pieces, just about considerable in an ordinary home, the main focus was on turning the ordinary extraordinary: lights, chairs and textiles were given a new verve and space and dimension played with. Also set for a thousand imitations in the year to come is the new carpet collection, made up of various mixed-media prints for every taste and décor. Once again Moooi is the 'haute couture' of Salone del Mobile.
3. Do it your way
In an event that encourages guests to use their creativity, 'Do it your way', curated by Polish designers, Ewa Solarz, Megi Malinowska, Filip Ludka and Tomek Kempa, wanted to break down the barriers between exhibition and visitor. Selecting the most iconic pieces from traditional Polish furniture, the items could be assembled and dissembled in multiple ways, highlighting the diversity of creativity and human imagination. The most intriguing of these was the vase chandelier. Taking the concept of floristry to a whole new level, quite literally, the chandelier allows you to create your own flower display using tiny glass vials in which you put a single stem.
© Do it your way
The brainchild of creators Claudio Larcher, Philip Protasoni and Simone Simonelli, Clique represents the union of two distant worlds: traditional furniture and modern technology. Materials such as Carrara marble and wood were used to create beautiful antique looking knickknacks that also house clocks, speakers and phone chargers. Each piece's hidden functions add to the stark simplicity of the collection, signalling a move toward a greater integration between design and technology.
COULISSE by Filippo Protasoni, speaker in marble © Clique
5. Bella Figura
Designed by British/German Engineer Moritz Waldemeyer, Bella Figura is a light installation by car manufacturer Audi celebrating the joys of driving. Waldemeyer, who has been working with Audio for four years, created the installation with the view to 'trace time through a night-time drive', seeking to find the perfect moment. The exhibition, made up of over 200 LED lights and a series of long exposure images, offers interplay between front and rear views of an Audi as it passes by an urban skyline.
6. BE OPEN The Garden of Wonders
For their current investigation 'Made in...' creative think tank BE OPEN explored the relationship between design and small producers. They chose the Botanical Garden of Brera as the background to the central theme of perfume. Educational, historical and interpretive, the exhibition was 'A Journey Through Scent'. Using designs from across the world, each space was an interpretation of a long-forgotten perfume creator's homeland. A sensory exploration, light, sound and touch were also used to extend the impact of each scent.
© BE OPEN
7. United Nude: Reinventing Shoes
Leading footwear brand United Nude and 3D printing brand 3D Systems joined forces last week for a collection that honoured Milan's extensive design and fashion history. Designers Ben Van Berkel, Zaha Hadid, Michael Young, Fernando Romero and Ilabo Ross were inspired by architecture, functionality, aesthetics and technology, as well as the highest quality of 3D printing to create a collection of shoes that are part optical illusion, part geometric style and part sculpture.
Ilabo by Ross Lovegrove © United Nude
© Zaha Hadid for United Nude © United Nude
8. Louis Vuitton for Objets Nomads
Paying homage to Louis Vuitton's iconic pieces of the past, this presentation on the Palazzo Bocconi included 16 pieces that were either limited edition or prototypes. Blending luxury and functionality, the beds, chairs, tables and stools were displayed within an environment to highlight their attentions to craftsmanship and aestheticism.
© Louis Vuitton
9. Interni: Energy for creativity
Now in its 18th year, magazine and event organiser Interni partnered this design week with Expo2015 for have their annual exhibition in the courtyard of the Università degli Studi di Milano. Installations, of various scales, were models, prototypes, micro-architecture and light systems created architects who were asked to fashion temporary pieces that were subjective to their interpretation of Energy for Life – one of themes of the Expo.
10. IKEA: The Concept Kitchen
After more than a year of development with 50 Swedish and Dutch design students, Ikea and Ideo presented their prototypes of futuristic kitchen designs, aimed at envisaging our culinary habits in 2025. As resources and personal space grow scarcer, our dependence on functionality and eco living will increase. Two examples of their solutions are the 'Drought friendly sink', whereby a traditional sink has two plug holes: one for reusable water to feed plants and clean the house and a chemical plug that disposes of water tainted with toxins or too dirty for reuse.
Naturally what to do with waste has a new conception: a more compact recyclables sorter is offered, materials are vacuum packed and sent away, as well as filed, noting what we dispose of and potential future uses for items we don't need to throw away. Full prototypes and student projects are here.