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Feature> Powers of 50
Our picks for the most usefully intriguing objects from the International Furniture Fair in Milan.
Mutated Panels by Richard Meier with Italcementi and Styl-Comp Group.
Courtesy Respective Manufacturers

I Saloni, the annual orgy of furnishings, celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. And along with the expected round-up of avant-garde teasers, sumptuous stunners, and thoughtfully recyclable ingenuities, there was a full spectrum of highly-sophisticated lighting designs that transformed LED solutions from dreary requisites to exciting options.

With over 2,500 exhibitors, every one of the 321,320 visitors who pile into the swoopy 2.2 million-square-foot exhibition hall—or track down the hundreds of other displays sequestered in fresco-flaking palazzi, chic courtyards, retooled factories, and drafty warehouses around the city—can find their own selection of favorites. We decided to spotlight a solid 50, basing our choice on our own quixotic standards: technical interest, elegance without fuss, knowing wit, and ecological smarts. We tore through the halls and pounded the pavement until our heels broke in hopes of bringing back some lasting winners.

Julie V. Iovine

Click to enlarge.

by Daniel R. Whiteneck

Exhibited at
Spazio Rossana Orlandi
A surreal table with hand-cast iron hooves, laminated plywood legs, and coated foam upper torso.

Flip Flop Story
by Diederik Schneemann

Studio Schneemann
Used flip flops wash up by the thousands on East African shores and are collected by the Uniqueco Foundation. Dutch designer Schneemann makes lamps and objects out of them.

by David Chipperfield

Smartly engineered, multi-colored folding chair made of polypropylene with glass fibre in many colors.

by Yuya Ushida

Assembled without tools from eight recycled plastic units (pipes, rings
and studs), this two- or three-seater sofa expands, concertina-style.

Click to enlarge.

Domus chair
by Ilmari Tapiovaara

From a collection designed by the Finnish master in the 1940s and now reintroduced.

by Frederic Gooris

Part of a new collection of seven LED bulbs with a lot of personality.

by Raphael Navot

It’s table, bench, and sculpture in wood by a new designer to watch.

Ren by Nemo
by Yasutoshi Mifune

Cassina Lighting
Three cones support stacked wooden discs that can be adjusted for different lighting effects.

Click to enlarge.

by Francesco Binfarè

It looks loose as a shar-pei puppy, feels like a cloud. Available in a range of suede, leather, and tapestry fabrics.

Armchair 4801
by Joe Colombo

A reissue of the iconic Colombo piece first designed in the Sixties. Then the curves were in wood, now it’s all plastic.

by Fernando &
Humberto Campana

Klein Karoo
Malleable ostrich leather covers a small foldable stool that also comes
in acid green and pink.

Sellier Chair
by Denis Montel

As is their custom, Hermes turns exquisitely crafted leather into high-luxe furnishings.

Click to enlarge.

by Benjamin Hubert

De Vorm
Easy to assemble and ship, a seating collection of chairs and stools with oak legs and pebble-smooth recycled plastic seats.

Pavo Real
by Patricia Urquiola

Outdoor rattan furniture exotic in scale, detail and craftsmanship.

Tubo LED

A borosilicate glass tube reveals and celebrates finned heat sink of anodized metal. Available in 1, 2, or 3-tube versions.

Lounger Round
by Christophe Pillet

Long lines and deep molding express the essence of outdoor comfort in a black or white chaise.

Click to enlarge,

Kelvin LED Green
by Antonio Citterio with Toan Nguyen

A desk lamp with a green sensor. A brush of the hand and it detects ambient light, adjusting accordingly.

by Ionna Vautrin

With the Japanese name and shape of a traditional bamboo lantern, now made of opaque lacquered blown glass in olive, burnt orange or grey.

by William Sawaya

Sawaya & Moroni
Indoors or outdoors, kitchen or reception area, this steel bench is meant to conjure Pierre Chareau.

Tool Boxes

Line Depping
Danish design from 1978, a stack of drawers made of solid ash within a lacquered steel frame.

Click to enlarge,

by Zaha Hadid

It’s a bookcase and shelf any way you arrange it; but not free standing.

Jean-Michel Frank Collection

The classic armchair comes in leather, of course, but natural sheepskin speaks more to the name.

Brick Plan
by Rock Wang with Pei-ze Chen

The marriage of Taiwan craft and design brings forth an improbably delicate concrete and brick vase and bowl collection.

by Lakiya Weavers of the Negev

Hand-woven area rugs by Bedouin artisans using the wool of desert sheep through an initiative by the non-profit organization, Sidreh.

Click to enlarge.

Mutated Panels
Richard Meier with Italcementi and Styl-Comp Group

Interni Mutant Architecture & Design
An installation beautifully expressing the plasticity of this self-cleaning high-tech cement that now can be made an even whiter white.

by Christian Lacroix

The fashion designer went for opulence galore in a collection inspired by Byzantine mosaics.

B2_Light Fields LED

An LED light series noted for its uniform intensity and glare control presented in a discreet aluminum-frame panel.

by Valerie Dekeyser

Exhbited at
Spazio Rossana Orlandi

A series of steel pendant lights lined with high texture materials, including peacock pelts, horsehair, and iron dust “sable.”

Click to enlarge.

by Tom Dixon

Flash Factory
Geodesic-inspired pendant of etched brass plates is digitally manufactured in a process borrowed from electronic production.

LED Biolite
by Makio Hasuike

Extreme flexibility in arm and head, this sculptural desk lamp is made of extruded aluminum.

by Roberto Lazzeroni

Poltrona Frau
Elegantly-detailed desk with saddle leather top and solid ash frame.

by Jean Nouvel

A modular collection originally designed for the Sofitel Hotel in Vienna; available in leather, suede and 100% “scuba” black from Kvadrat.

Click to enlarge.

Tip Ton
by Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby

Ingeniously designed to tick forward to an ergonomic position for desk work or tock back to relax, the chair is also made of 100 percent recyclable material.

Rothko Terra
by Carlotta de Bevilacqua

Triangular in plan, a light column offering a full chromatic scale of 40W LED to match any Rothko-esque mood.

by Arik Levy

Acoustic panels made of foam not fabric that come in two sizes and depths to be layered in a pattern.

Adhoc Storage
by Bruno Fattorini & Partners

Flexible storage units made of light sheet metal with open compartments in red, yellow, or anthracite and closed sections with discreet folding doors.

Petite Gigue
by François Azambourg

Constructed with the efficiency of a boat with beveled edge and hollow legs. In natural oak, red or black lacquered oak.

Click to enlarge.

by Rodolfo Dordoni

Molteni & C
A modular system that can extend vertically or horizontally in matt lacquer, wood, and steel aluminum.

Story Vase
by Lobolile Ximba, Kishwepi Sitole, Beauty Ndlovu with Front

Editions in Craft
Made in collaboration with South African craftspeople beading their stories into hand-blown Swedish glass by Front.

By Jason Miller

Roll & Hill
Modular lighting system made of white glass sections with metal bracing in straight and bent components.

Haiku Sofa

Gam Fratesi
Danish design from 1975, a small sofa with a hard exterior enclosing soft inner upholstery.

Click to enlarge.

by Franco Albini

Bookcase designed by Albini for his home in 1939 and an instant icon of Italian design once it dressed the cover of Domus in 1941.

by Leon Krier

Door handle made of brass with chrome or satin chrome finish.

by Francisco Gomez Paz

The Argentinean designer’s translation of the atomic leap rendered in luminous polycarbonate configurations.

111 Navy Chair

The famous metal chair now comes in colorful plastic; each made from 111 plastic recycled bottles. A joint venture with Coca Cola.

Click to enlarge.

by Philippe Starck with Quitlet

With a seat made of hemp and legs from corn husks, this chair prototype is said to be still too fragile for use.

3M Sunlight Delivery System
by 3M Architectural Markets Department

A newly developed system that tracks, catches and delivers full spectrum daylight throughout interior spaces.

by Jeffrey Bernett

B & B Italia
A classic chaise introduced with a rocking base, with Kvadrat coverings.

by Massimilliano Adami

Refin Studio
Porcelain stoneware tile with structural interest and material texture.

Magic Hole
by Philippe Starck with Eugeni Quitllet

Made for outdoors and available as an armchair or two-seater with contrasting “pocket” colors.


Julie V. Iovine