for a closer look.
Dutch Pieces, by Jurgen Bey
Architettura Romantica, by
Robert Stadlers three-dimensional
Sky, by Matali Crasset for
Swarovskis Crystal Palace
The following pages highlight introductions
from this years Milan Furniture Fair, which took place
from April 14 to 19 in venues throughout the city. In sharp
contrast to many of the conceptual or extravagant designs
on display in off-site exhibits, manufacturers this year offered
products that represented a back-to-basics approach
focusing on fundamental themes of structure, scale, transparency,
and ornament. Seating furniture featured structures that were
either completely exposed or nonexistent and were offered
in a greater variety of sizes to accommodate a larger
audience. In addition, forgotten classics were reintroduced
alongside products from a talented new crop of designers.
Milans Salone del Mobile is unlike any other furniture
fair youre likely to attend. For an entire week every
April, this energized city is transformed into a haven for
design afficionados from across the globeand its
not just furniture lovers who come to take part in the spectacle.
From retailers and architects to fashion designers and car
makers, attendees come in growing numbers (190,000 this year)
to view the countless product offerings and exhibits. On this
occasion, the event was redubbed Milan Design Week to reflect
its far-reaching appeal.
According to Paola Antonelli, curator in the Department of
Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art in New
York and veteran visitor of the Salone, the fairgrounds
are where it all started, but the city has taken over and
turned this fair into a very different kind of event.
Antonelli notes the Italians flair for scenography
as a main draw, but also acknowledges that the event is an
ideal opportunity to meet up with colleagues and other professionals
passionate about design.
Fairground displays and off-site exhibits ranged from minimal
to stunning. Swarovskis Crystal Palace show was once
again a highlight as it presented chandeliers from a new roster
of designers, while Morosos Happy Ever After exhibit
by Dutch designer Tord Boontje (see this months Profile
on page 240) drew lots of attention, as well. Smaller displays
dotted the city, so walking the streets of Milan during Design
Week meant stumbling upon an unexpected array of objects and
installations, including works by veritable masters of design
like Ettore Sottsass and Andrea Branzi to contemporary luminaries,
as in the Vanishing Point show featuring work by Robert Stadler,
Konstantin Grcic, and Jurgen Bey.
A host of student exhibitions were on display, as well.
Galleries, stores, fashion houses, and even eateries throughout
the city took part in the festivities this year. In addition
to the major furniture showrooms like B&B Italia and DePadova,
such prestigious brands as Dolce & Gabbana, Missoni, and
Acqua di Parma staged presentations of their own, making Design
Week in Milan an event for the entire city to enjoy.