Posts tagged with "Milan Design Week":

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10 great architectural moments of Milan Design Week

With the opening of OMA’s Torre for Fondazione Prada, tours of midcentury Villa Borsani, and (a few days late to the Design Week party and thus not included here) the completion of Zaha Hadid Architects’ Generali Tower, Milan Design Week 2018 was exceptionally steeped in architecture. There was the usual abundance of collaborations with architects, such as Alejandro Aravena for Artemide, John Pawson for Swarovski, and David Rockwell’s The Diner with Cosentino and Design Within Reach, but it was the host of architectural installations and interventions that took it over the top. Here are ten memorable architectural moments of Milan Design Week 2018. Garage Traversi The rationalist 1938 Garage Traversi in Milan’s Montenapoleone District received a facade makeover by Studio Job for Milan Design Week. The Pop Art mural comes in advance of the building’s renovation into a “luxury hub” by British private equity fund Hayrish. The reinforced concrete building, originally designed by architect Giacomo de Min, sits on an odd lot, leading to it being built like a fan and resulting in its popularity. The iconic building has been unused for 15 years, but has retained its reputation as a cultural and architectural landmark. U-JOINT PlusDesign Gallery hosted an immensely satisfying architectural exhibition on joints. The group show offered joints of all sizes, materials, and shapes to demonstrate its importance in objects and buildings alike. Over 50 designers, studios, and research institutes, including Alvar Aalto, Aldo Bakker, Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby, Konstantin Grcic, Jonathan Nesci, Cecilie Manz, Self-Assembly Lab MIT, and Jonathan Olivares, displayed prototypes and products. My Dream Home by Piero Lissoni “My Dream Home,” an installation by Piero Lissoni, stacks twelve shipping containers vertically to host an exhibition by photographers Elisabetta Illy and Stefano Guindani of photos taken in Haiti alongside drawings by Haitian children of their dream homes. Lissoni chose to build with containers as an inexpensive, sustainable option that could potentially be used for multi- and single-family homes in Haiti. Altered States Snarkitecture is no stranger to Milan Design Week installations. For its most recent, the firm partnered with Caesarstone to create “Altered States” inside the 19th-century Palazzo dell'Ufficio Elettorale di Porta Romana. The installation examined water in its three forms (ice, liquid, steam/vapor) and the way it appears in nature (glacier, river, geyser) through a collection of kitchen islands made from Caesarstone’s quartz surface material. Villa Borsani In advance of an exhibition curated by Norman Foster and Osvaldo Borsani’s grandson, the Villa Borsani opened to visitors after being newly decorated by curator Ambra Medda, who collaborated with various artists to bring in floral arrangements, scents, and a playlist that enliven the midcentury villa. James Wines X Foscarini James Wines/SITE collaborated with Foscarini to make the “Reverse Room,” a slanting black box that houses a limited edition set of lights called "The Lightbulb Series." Wines relied on his research on subconscious spatial expectations to keep visitors constantly surprised. “This series comes from the idea of disrupting the classic design of incandescent light bulbs,” Wines said in a statement. “An idea that suggests a critical reflection on the absolutely non-iconic forms of modern LED lamps. The concept, implemented by Foscarini, stems from research on the spontaneous way people identify with forms and functions of everyday objects. In this case, the light bulbs merge crack, shatter, and burn out, overturning any expectations.” Fondazione Prada On April 18, the Fondazione Prada completed the latest, and last, building in its 200,000-square-foot Milan complex. Torre, designed by Rem Koolhaas, Chris van Duijn, and Federico Pompignoli of OMA, is wrapped in white concrete and nearly 197 feet tall. This form offers a two-fold experience: From the exterior, the spare, modern block contrasts with the more ornate buildings of the campus (the Italianate-style entry building, gold-painted tower, and the mirror-clad theater, among others) and from the interior, sweeping views of the surrounding industrial neighborhood. At the back of the building, an exterior elevator core is intersected by a diagonal form that connects the Torre to the adjacent Deposito gallery. The elevator's interior is painted an electrifying hot pink, framing the panorama of the campus in madcap fashion. The gallery's floors, currently occupied by the exhibition Atlas, are similarly eclectic. Floor plans alternate between trapezoidal and rectangular and the ceiling heights increase from about 9 feet on the first floor to 26 feet on the top floor, with glowing pink staircases in between. Even so, the space complements rather than competes with massive, immersive installations from heavy-hitting artists such as Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons. (Although the maze-like entrance to Carsten Höller's Upside Down Mushroom is so dark, this writer ran into a wall.) 3D Housing 05 Massimiliano Locatelli | CLS Architetti collaborated with Arup, Italcementi, and Cybe to 3-D print a 1,076-square-foot house on-site. The house, located in front of the Piazza Cesare Beccaria, demonstrated that 3-D printing could be used as a sustainable and feasible construction method. The house was 3-D printed from a recycled concrete that, in the event the house is destroyed, could be reused to make a new structure. Lexus Design Award This year marked two firsts for the 2018 Lexus Design Award (LDA) Grand Prix Winner: It was the first time an American design team took home the prize, and the first time a workshop, rather than a product, won. New York design research studio, Extrapolation Factory, “studies the future” and helps communities create and experience their cities’ futures through workshops and activities. “We all have a vested interest in the future. But how many people have taken a class in futures?” asked Extrapolation Factory cofounder Elliott P. Montgomery. “We’ve had classes in history, math, science, but we are never taught how to think about the future. And this seems like a glaring omission in our country’s education.” Montgomery and his cofounder Christopher Woebken conducted a workshop at the Queens Museum and presented a video alongside a few props as their LDA presentation. The unusual urban planning project garnered praise for its focus on community and its exploration of society, technology, and environment. “It’s completely different than the other participants because it isn’t product-based. It is about education and using design as a way to engage with people, and given the context of the theme, CO-, we felt that was incredibly important,” said Simone Farresin of Formafantasma, who mentored the Extrapolation Factory for the LDA. MINI Living House London-based architecture firm Studiomama created four modular co-living spaces for MINI. Each module had its own color and built-in furniture “totems” that distinguish the space’s personality. The four units share communal spaces, including a kitchen (shown above), a dining area, a gym, and home theater space.
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The best of AN’s videos from Milan Design Week 2018

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, a video, or, if you will, a moving image, is at least double that. And so The Architect's Newspaper (AN) brings you video highlights from Milan Design Week filmed by our editors onsite at Salone del Mobile, the EuroCucina circuit, and other satellite shows. From interviews with designers to panning views of in situ installations to product install shots, we hope this roundup gives a taste of what it’s like to see and experience it all in person. Laufen’s booth installation Onsite at the fairgrounds of Salone del Mobile, our editors enjoyed this bidet toilet fountain installation by the Swiss-bathroom brand Laufen. Floating mobiles at Rossana Orlandi Watch Martens and Visser’s kinetic sculptures spin and float like bubbles at Rossana Orlandi. AN talks to Studio OEO about their new accessories collection for Mutina Thomas Lykke and Anne-Marie Buemann of Danish architectural firm OEO Studio speak about their collaboration with Mutina, a new collection of home accessories that integrate as a system with Italian manufacturer’s ceramic tiles. Hay at Palazzo Clerichi Hay introduced several new products by the Bouroullec brothers, Stefan Diez, GamFratesi, Shane Schneider, and many repeat offenders. The exhibition showcases designs for everyday living as well as everyday working in the ornate ambiance of Palazzo Clerichi. Bellissimo! AN talks to Hella Jongerius about her tapestry collage for Vitra The Dutch industrial designer talks about the new sofa she developed for Vitra. The installation highlights the textiles she created for “textile nerds.” Apparatus’ ACT III The New York-based design studio debuted their new collection, ACT III, in their Milan showroom. The launch featured a series of alabaster and fluted brass lighting that references Berber jewelry. AN talks to Brussels-based designer Alain Gilles about his acoustic lighting designs Alain Gilles discusses his new acoustic lighting collection for BuzziSpace in the Brera district for Milan Design week. Gufram’s club-inspired furniture collection Disco Gufram is an electronic soundscape outfitted with furniture inspired by original 1970s designs by the studio. Loosely interpreted based on the found archival images, the series features sofas, coffee tables, and cabinets complete with Dali-esque melting disco balls based on their predecessors at disco clubs in the 70s. AN talks to Berlin-based Studio 7.5 about their new seating series for Herman Miller Burkhard Schmitz and Roland Zwick of Studio 7.5 talk about their new seating collection “For You Everyone” at the Herman Miller Showroom in Milan. The exhibition showcased the Cosm series, inviting visitors to sit back and recline. Nendo’s exhibition: Forms of Movement Nendo’s self-exploratory exhibition, Forms of Movement, surveys materials and technologies in 10 conceptual iterations of an object’s function, material, or production process. Here we see a series of furnishings articulated by different shapes and formations of plasticized fabric. AN talks to Space Copenhagen about their collection for Stellar Works Danish design duo Signe  Bindslev Henriksen and Peter  Bundgaard Rützou of Space Copenhagen detail the inspiration behind the new series and how similarities in Asian and Scandinavian cultures transpire in their designs. A 1929 tram by Christina Celestino renovated as a traveling saloon AN rode the Corallo tram with designer Christina Celestino to hear about her inspiration behind the exhibition on wheels. Traveling to-and-fro between three stops in the Brera design district, the interior is reminiscent of 1920s art moderne interiors, specifically the cinema and screening rooms. AN talks to Icelandic designer Hlynur V. Atlason about his commercial series for Ercol Icelandic designer Hlynur V. Atlason details his collection of modular furnishings for Ercol, their first venture in commercial design. He explains this new take and his inspiration point that departed from the English brand’s seminal reference, the traditional Windsor chair. The Diner by Rockwell Group The design world crowds into the American-style diner installation inside a railway arch designed by The New York-based firm. Rockwell Group teamed up with Surface magazine, design consultancy 2x4, and Design Within Reach on the American-inspired establishment located beneath the tracks that lead to Milan's Centrale railway station. See more videos and photos on our Instagram @archpaper
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What we saw at Salone del Mobile 2018

Last week, AN visited the Italian design capital to see the newest releases by brands and designers. We highlight a few more of our favorites finds from Salone del Mobile and its EuroCucina exhibition, as well as a few satellite shows, below.  Filigrana Light Established & Sons Sebastian Wrong’s Filigrana Light for Established & Sons recalls glass making traditions from the 16th century. The orb is made by highly skilled artisans who spiral filigree stripes, continuously rotating the glass to and blowing it to make the final shape. Von Ercol Icelandic designer Hlynur V. Atlason designed Ercol’s first commercial collection of modular furnishings. The series presents a whimsy, colorful new take on the British brand’s hardwood furniture aesthetic based on the Windsor chair. Comprising a chair, an armchair, a work chair outfitted with a student-like arm-desk, a bench/coffee table hybrid, and a magazine table, each piece can be combined for various working environments. SHAPE Poliform Debuting at EuroCucina, this new kitchen model was shown in four configurations to showcase the five new finishes in oak,  glass, extra dark marble, metallic brushed lacquer, and Dekton Calacatta. The series includes a modular stainless steel and glass island system, two snack tables, stools designed by Jean-Marie Massaud, customizable backsplash/wall unit storage, extra-tall to-the-ceiling cabinetry, an extractible steel shelf/work surface, and a range of sliding worktop accessories. Kengo Kuma Alpi Japanese architect Kengo Kuma worked with the Italian wood surfaces outfitter to create a collection that accentuates the woodgrains of maritime pine and Japanese cedar. The grain itself becomes a stylized trope of aesthetic articulations of the material. The Japanese cedar is adorned with smooth, vertical texturing; meanwhile, the pine is characterized by the bark-like shapes split between deep cracks. Vision Snaidero Soft curves form human-centered, ergonomic base units for islands and peninsulas in this kitchen. The LED-lit structural framework outlines fluid surfaces integrated throughout, highlighting the integrated spaces that blur the boundaries between cooking, storage, and entertaining. Sculptural Glass Vases By Paul Surridge for Roberto Cavalli Home Inspired by the fashion house’s infamous animal patterns, the swirling configuration laced around the vessels emulates leopard, zebra, giraffe, and snake motifs abstracted as tactile, textured cladding. The series of ten sculptural glass vases were handmade by Tuscan glass masters and then produced by Arnolfo di Cambio, the glass manufactured established in Colle Val d’Elsa in 1945. Don't miss last week's Milan Design Week highlights! Click here
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Prada’s OMA-designed Torre is unveiled during Milan Design Week

A new profile rises almost 200 feet above the tangled web of railroad tracks cutting across southern Milan, dominating the otherwise flat skyline. Following the white concrete nine-story beacon to its source will land you in the OMA-designed Prada Foundation, officially inaugurated in 2015 (the tower was originally scheduled to open at this time). As the final notch in the Prada family’s campus–which boasts a pastel-soaked Wes Anderson-designed cafe-bar, a mirrored cinema, and a gold-leaf-encrusted “Haunted House” amid the century-old refurbished warehouses–Torre, the long-delayed tower is an appropriately startling final act for a foundation that intends to “activate and challenge the senses,” according to its Press Officer Nicolo Scialanga. “It’s not a passive building,” OMA’s Federico Pompignoli says simply of the tower. Working with Rem Koolhaas and Chris van Duijn, Pompignoli has overseen every conceivable aspect of the Foundation’s design since the start of the firm’s collaboration with the Prada family, even moving to the Italian city in 2013 to be closer to the construction. “Instead, every single space becomes a special occasion, an opportunity to curate oneself.” We are sitting on the cantilevering terrace outside the sixth-floor restaurant on perfect Milanese afternoon. The furniture flanks the glassy wall, which retreats to the original alignments of the building while exposing the bar inside. As the triangular terrace narrows, it meets the glass wall at what Pompignoli refers to as the “total convergence point” of the building. It’s among his favorite details in the zig-zagging tower. “We are not fans of the white cube,” admits Pompignoli. “So when Miuccia Prada gave us a brief to develop a building responding to this display condition, we responded with a series of vertical variations that test the architecture as well as the art.” But to merely call the building idiosyncratic would be to ignore the calculated irregularity of the building, which plays out through three main conditions. The floor shape, height, and orientation are used “as axonometrics” to develop nine floors that are “completely different” from each other, suggests Pompignoli. The result is sort of like an architectural Rubik’s Cube, where each floor’s unique style can play out independently and in unexpected ways while remaining rooted to the others through the building’s concrete core. “It’s an attempt at the white cube defying its own boringness,” says Pompignoli. The result is a space that not only stretches vertically, but somehow also through all directions at once. The windows start at under nine feet tall on the first floor and expand to nearly three times this height by the top level. This plasticity creates a sense of mounting anticipation (perhaps a more fitting name here than their recent Parisian project) through not just expanding space but also ever-increasing light. Ascending the tower, the grassy abandon of the railway tracks is replaced by Milan’s receding skyscrapers to the north, which ultimately yield to the brilliant blue sky by the time you hit the restaurant on the sixth floor. Cool light washes over the kitsch interiors of the restaurant, featuring ceramic pieces by Lucio Fontana; it’s more bourgeois Italian Grandma than bleak white cube minimalism. “Like the Prada Foundation at large, the tower is a vertical sequence of surprises and challenges,” suggests Pompignioli. This sensation is magnified by the dynamic floorplan and orientation of the six floors of gallery space, which alternates the glass side from north to east on each floor while maintaining the same silhouette. As you linger in the galleries to take in the art–a sampling of Miuccia Prada’s contemporary collection, ranging from impaled cadillacs by Walter De Maria to Carsten Höller’s magic twirling mushrooms–each level of the tower feels like a new space, without requiring (or justifying) an explanation. Thankfully, OMA seems less than interested in revealing the logic behind their magic tricks of space and light, preferring, like the tower, to leave much up in the air. This motif plays out in another of the architect’s favorite spots: the “ghost” scissored staircase backlit with two-tone millennial pink fluorescence, and where a sheet of glass separates two sets of public and emergency stairs–one white, the other gray– that never meet. In addition to the vertical expansion, OMA’s surprises also lie in the details: like the bathrooms on the second and eighth floors. I start to protest about the cladding detail in the first-floor bathrooms, where individual mirrored stalls open into a trippy black and lime green gridded washroom that conceals the door leading to the toilets. His response is just about as close as you can get to a riddle without telling one: “It could be true that we should make the handles a bit more clear, but it is also true that if you find yourself in a toilet, somewhere there should be a door.” Ultimately, the tower is a space where the curious and the wanderers will be rewarded. In this sense, it is a decisive contrast to the standard operating logic of the white cube. There’s also plenty of moments for second glances–like the view from the staircase between the sixth and seventh floors, which gives a spectacular view down to the tower’s burly support beam that anchors into the rooftop of a century-old distillery warehouse–and for serendipitous encounter, like an apparent dead-end that leads into the second floor’s gallery space (where Jeff Koons’ bouquet of candy-colored steel tulips is presented like a reward). Above all, there’s a feeling of triumph that hits when you stumble out onto the restaurant terrace–out of breath and disoriented from the climb up the staircase–and you are rewarded with a panoramic view of Milan’s skyline. “The rooftop terrace is the last surprise of this tower,” explains Pompignioli. “For us, it’s another opportunity for public programming, a place to go that’s not necessarily linked to the art.” A closer look at the surface of terrace reveals the exact same type of brick used on to pave Prada Foundation’s outdoor campus some 60 meters below: a public space that can be accessed without buying a ticket to the exhibitions. With its own entrance directly from the street, the restaurant connects the Foundation to the rest of the city in unprecedented ways. “Here, we are inviting the city to see itself from an entirely new perspective.”
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An inside look at Villa Borsani for Milan Design Week

On May 15, Milan’s Triennale Design Museum will open a retrospective of Italian designer-architect Osvaldo Borsani curated by Norman Foster and Tommaso Fantoni (the grandson of Borsani). In advance of the exhibition, designer and curator Ambra Medda created Villa Borsani: Casa Libera! to offer a rare glimpse into Villa Borsani, the house Osvaldo built for his twin brother Fulgenzio in 1953. The two brothers founded the Italian furniture company Tecno, which is famous for its designs such as the D70 Sofa (1954), P40 Chaise Longue (1955), and its office systems. Located outside Milan, Villa Borsani houses the Borsani archives, which date back to the 1930s and include drawings, paintings, and photographs of Tecno furniture and other projects. Villa Borsani: Casa Libera! opened in tandem with Milan Design Week.

Although it has been unoccupied as a residence for over a decade, Medda brought the villa to life with floral arrangements, archival furniture, and a signature scent in collaboration with artist Harry Were, florist Sophie Wolanski, and stylist Katie Lockhart. The exhibition also includes a music selection by Alexander Francis, making it a total sensory experience. Visitors are encouraged to explore the gardens and archives as well (which AN definitely endorses). Villa Borsani: Casa Libera! will be on view until September 15.