Posts tagged with "Milan":

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Milan shows examine design in the face of disaster

The much anticipated Museo del Design Italiano opened its doors to the public in the same week in April as the Salone del Mobile.Milano. Housed in the storied Milan Triennale, this carefully assembled selection of design artifacts is curated by Joseph Grima, who began his tenure as the museum’s first director. This collection, housed in the Italian Design Museum, is a preeminent example, according to the Triennale Foundation’s president Stefano Boeri, of Italy’s rich post-war cultural heritage. Grima’s formula for the permanent exhibition is to parcel the Triennale’s significant archive into limited sets or editions, that he characterizes as “episodes,” with the first episode serving as the premiere event. Episode 1 is a survey of the postwar years between 1948 and 1981 and is housed in the first half of the curved gallery that winds around the ground floor. Each progressive installment will expand deeper into the Triennale’s bowel-like interiors. The ultimate goal for the Design Museum is to expand beyond Giovanni Muzio’s original 1930s architectural masterpiece. The intention, according to Boeri, is for the museum to grow out by dipping below the rear gardens. An international competition for this future wing will soon be in the offing. It should be pointed out, however, that the exhibition on Italian design is concurrent with, if only through a programming coincidence, a major traveling exhibition located on the second floor above: Broken Nature, curated by Paola Antonelli, the highly successful senior curator of architecture and design at MoMA. Subtitled Design Takes on Human Survival (open through September 1, 2019), this detailed survey of critical strategies dealing directly with the plight of the planet and its increasingly fragile ecosystems aims to be the last word on what is possible through human action in the fuzzy realm of the “technosphere,” a term coined by Peter Haff and adopted by Antonelli’s curatorial team. An impressive number of prominent international designers, thinkers, visual artists and craftspeople share the extensive second-floor space in a sprawling display of human invention and earthly ingenuity. The two inadvertently overlapping exhibitions bring up the question of mutual relevancy, precisely because the similarities between these two exhibitions are much more marked than one would first assume. Looking at the two epochs under consideration, one postwar, the other very recent, both shows are reactions to extreme geopolitical contexts. Italy in the immediate postwar period had to overcome severe wartime devastation; while today, we are evidently firsthand witnesses to a ballooning climatic disaster. Why push the comparison? Because Joseph Grima’s vision of the late fifties to the early eighties serendipitously provides us with a collection of object-time-capsules, or packaged narratives, where we come face to face with an Olivetti typewriter, a pair of Moonboots, a miniature Brionvega television set. These items are neatly arranged alongside related prototype wooden models, publications from promotional advertising campaigns, and in some cases original cardboard packaging. True, as Stefano Mirti, the Milanese designer and critic who was one of the earliest to comment on the exhibit over social media, put it, the objects are readied as if for Instagram shots, but Mirti also took great delight in the immediacy and directness with which these objects are allowed to communicate with us. The famed folding clamshell Grillo telephones, designed in 1965 by Marco Zanuso and Richard Sapper, are featured. Pick up the phone, try to remember or guess how to use the dial, and you are connected to the designer’s voice responsible for creating the object in front of you. It’s a pretty direct message, with no middleman. Why is everyone still so mesmerized with this by-now relatively familiar collection of top Italian design objects? The something else that characterizes this permanent collection is the inherent irony, cynicism, and deep criticality that underlies almost each and every one of these impressive designs. What could possibly be the reason we are ensnared by Archizoom’s relatively uncomfortable looking Poltrona Mies chair built by Poltronova in 1969 to take just one example? Most of these pieces, developed with sparse financial support from the manufacturers, represent lengthy developments by trial and error, long personal commitments, and rare commercial successes—at least when they first came on the market. A case in point are the colorful names of these creations, Papillon, Rossocactus, Shanghai, CuccioloTrigger of the SpaceVertebraAtollo, etc. The pieces are much more than merely functional objects; they act as totems for a new society. Behind these designs are a nest of ideological structures that reject standardization, often embrace handcrafts and experimental materials, and evidently abandon the strict tenets of modernist rationalism. The pieces are in turn self-ironic, cynically auto destructive, or perversely inefficient. Enzo Mari is the master of this kind of design game, as so many of his pieces in this collection exemplify, like his Box from 1971 for Anonima Castelli, a chair that is its own carrying case, or his Modelli in scala Serie Proposta per autoprogettazione (Scale models for self-design Proposta series), 1973, for Simon International, conceived to empower the user to rethink one’s own domestic environment. The transition from postwar reconstruction to the threat of nuclear annihilation remains all the while a running subtext among these objects. Looking at Broken Nature, one could only hope that there would be an equivalent level of meta-awareness. To be honest, several of the featured designers and creative thinkers in this exhibit do reach these heights, but they are drowned out by the sheer volume of participants. There are the overarching (or overreaching) categories, including “A Changed Climate,” “Complex Environments,” “Made and Unmade,” “More of the Times,” and “Bridges,” and some truly great projects for sure: beginning with the exhibition’s graphic icons, designed by Anna Kulachek. There are many impressive designs, fluent in the parametric, the biomimetic, the diagram, the transgenderative, the playful, but at the end of the day, what can you take away from all these projects, besides a deeply unrequited experience? This is not to slight the many amazing designs featured in Broken Nature, but it calls to question the primary curatorial position, which attempts to be so all-inclusive that there remains little room for personal absorption or reflection on the part of the viewer. There is no way to digest all this comprehensive information into a personal action, or to urge us on as individuals to become more aware or rebellious. The lack of self-reflection, self-criticism, or even some kind of cynical self-abdication leaves the viewer with simply too much useful information to process. Broken Nature is not the only one among these hugely impressive, uber-intelligent, mega-exhibits to come on the circuit in these recent years. But I fear the effects are ultimately counterproductive. In a way, we become frustrated in our attempts to make sense of these works. Go downstairs, to the Museo del Design Italiano, to experience how irony, satire, and self-deprecation draw your curiosity and fuel your imagination. This is what we need more of today.
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Shigeru Ban brings a modular office to Milan for Louis Vuitton

This year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan saw its fair share of high-tech, hardware-embedded furniture, as well as a glorification of lo-fi representation. Pritzker winner Shigeru Ban utilized both approaches for his collaboration with Louis Vuitton, dropping Paper Temporary Studio in the courtyard of Palazzo Serbelloni during the Objets Nomades exhibition. From April 9 to 14, Ban’s modular mobile office was repurposed as a showcase of nomadic architecture. The bunker-like structure, assembled from recycled cardboard tubes and oriented strand board, was originally designed to act as a satellite office during the construction of the Centre Pompidou Metz in Metz, France, and was originally installed on the top of the original Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2004.
 
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Although Paper Temporary Studio is now 15 years old, it exemplifies Ban’s approach to using low-cost, recycled materials in building easily-assembled structures, especially refugee and disaster housing. This isn’t the first time that Ban and Louis Vuitton have worked together; the fashion house invited Ban to build a dome inspired by its Papillon bag on the roof of La Maison Champs Élysées in Paris. The resulting cupola was erected from paper tubes covered in the iconic Louis Vuitton patterned textile and a white PVC canopy.
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Google creates neuroaesthetic experience for Salone del Mobile

This past week in Milan during Salone del Mobile while designers were showing off their latest furnishings, Google was putting on its own exhibition. Following up on last year’s Softwear exhibition, in which the company teamed up with Li Edelkoort to envision a more comfortable, integrated hardware future, this year the tech giant built out three rooms in the Spazio Maiocchi for a show called A Space for Being. A Space for Being explored the ways qualitative senses could be understood with quantitative metrics. Google collaborated with Susan Magsamen of the International Arts + Mind Lab at Johns Hopkins University's Brain Science Institute to develop a design installation that explored the possibilities of neuroaesthetics, or the brain’s and body's responses to the aesthetic world. Visitors lined up around the block to be adorned with a wristband that collected biometric data while they explored the rooms' various furnishings, colors, lights, music, scents, and textiles by Google’s Ivy Ross, Muuto’s Christian Grosen, and Reddymade’s Suchi Reddy. At the end of their walkthroughs, attendees were given synopses of their bodies’ responses to the various spaces, helping them see in which context they were most at ease. While this kind of data-driven neuroaesthetic approach is still in its nascent stages, one could imagine a future when data-driven design becomes more normal, especially in settings like healthcare. Even for those who might balk at the idea of collecting this kind of information to create something so subjective as an interior, the results show that design has a profound impact on us, our biology, and our wellbeing. For more on the latest in AEC technology and for information about the upcoming TECH+ conference, visit techplusexpo.com/nyc/.
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Paola Antonelli's upcoming Milan Triennale urges designers to tackle climate change

Next year’s XXII Triennale di Milano couldn’t come at a better time. Curated by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)’s Paola Antonelli, the exhibition focuses on the one-of-a-kind ways designers are tackling one of the world’s biggest contemporary problems: climate change. Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival introduces the concept of restorative design and analyzes how humans interact with the natural environment. “A healthy concern for the future of our planet and of our species should come as no surprise," said Antonelli in a statement, "and yet the Broken Nature team feels thankful for the eager and consistent restorative design that is at the core of [this event]...It allows us to keep believing in the power of design to help citizens understand complexity, assess risks, adapt behaviors, and demand change.” Running from March 1 to September 1, 2019, the international showcase will bring together thought-provoking commissions from around the world that sit at the intersection of art, industry, and politics. Special projects will be on view by Formafantasma, Sigil Collective, as well as Neri Oxman and the MIT-based Mediated Matter Group, among others. Scientist Stefano Mancuso will present the immersive exhibition, The Nation of Plants, which will explore the role of botany in helping to solve the world’s vast ecological issues.  It was recently announced that Italian architect Stefano Boeri will lead the global event as its new president. He aims to reinstitute the traditional roots of the 85-year-old Milan Triennale as a collaborative design event that centers on modern day issues. The 2016 event, which was the first Triennale held after a 20-year hiatus, didn’t follow the former format that encouraged such widespread cross-disciplinary collaboration. The Architect’s Newspaper spoke with Antonelli about what it means now that the Triennale is back, and why next year’s thematic exhibition is particularly pertinent for cities in Italy and beyond: AN: Broken Nature is a total revamp of the 2016 Milan Triennale. Can you talk about the ways in which the 2019 event will be different? Paola Antonelli: Hopefully it will exist in the same vein of the ones that happened over 20 years ago. The 2016 event was a loose collection of design innovations while the Triennales held before the 21st century very much connected to what was happening in the world. That’s how I think about Broken Nature. We’re creating the opportunity for architects and designers to participate in a dialogue and contribute to the world’s most urgent crisis: the future of the environment. What makes it different is its attempt to connect a network of efforts. Very often you have these events where the curators know each other, but they make something new and original individually. I believe in originality, of course, but I also believe in collaboration. If we’re talking about emergency as the central focus, we might as well join forces. I would like Broken Nature to become not an umbrella, but an embrace for all these efforts, and for curators to complement each others’ efforts. With this theme of climate change and protecting the environment, we have to join forces in order to be taken seriously. What was the inspiration behind giving science as much of a platform as design? PA: I began this exploration 10 years ago with the MoMA exhibition, Design and the Elastic Mind. We put designers and scientists in conversation to discuss recent changes in tech, science, and social habits, and how people can deal with those changes through thoughtful design. The idea for Broken Nature was birthed in 2013 as a proposal for another exhibition at MoMA that didn’t work out. It never left my mind, because soon after that, new solutions and ways to address change emerged out of this growing urgency to save ourselves and the earth from major environmental threats. For the Milan Triennale, we’re not gathering curators to put together new works necessarily. The National Bureau of Expositions will handle organizing the various pavilions by other countries. I am curating part of the exhibition myself, and we’re asking designers worldwide to share projects that they’ve already been working on for some time. We’re looking for eco-visionaries who have already helped start a dialogue on restorative design and how humans can better connect with nature.
 
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What role has public engagement played in the process of putting together this event? PA: We’ve done public symposia on Broken Nature already, which has helped not only spread awareness but organize our ideas and prepare content. Some of our contributors have already written essays about their projects, which we’ll use toward a book later that sums up our learnings. The symposia have also helped us test out a few ideas to see if they will work out on the national stage. What else should we know going into next year’s 7-month-long triennale? PA: Overall, we’re hoping people will be puzzled and inspired by the exhibition, but we do have three main desired outcomes for it. First, we’re doing this not only for the architecture and design community but for the Milanese citizens because we know they’re interested in design. We’re looking to them as the agent of change to exercise pressure on institutions and change behaviors. We hope citizens will come to the show and leave with a short-term sense of what they can do in their everyday lives to be restorative. Second, we want people to leave the building knowing we live in a complex world, so our actions need to be thoughtful as we move forward in interacting with nature. Third, we want people to have a long-term vision. We tend to always think of our children and our children’s children when it comes to caring for the earth. But beyond that into the third generation of humans, it’s hard to psychologically imagine what it will be like. We hope the exhibition will help people put the far-out future into perspective. Leading the curatorial effort alongside Antonelli for XXII Triennale di Milano are Ala Tannir, Laura Maeran, and Azzurra Muzzonigro. Laura Agnesi will act as lead coordinator for the event, while Marco Sammicheli will handle international relations.
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Bar Basso, the historic heart of Milanese design, gets new birthday lights

On the occasion of Bar Basso’s 51st birthday this October, the designers of Gabriel Scott presented a new lighting installation, the first addition to the famous Milanese watering hole’s interior since 1967. AN Interior contributor Jordan Hruska sat down with the bar's owner, Maurizio Stocchetto. AN Interior: How has the design of Bar Basso changed over the last 51 years? Maurizio Stocchetto: Bar Basso was founded in 1947, but my father, Mirko Stocchetto, took it over in 1967. He kept most of the furniture of the previous owner, including wood paneling, mirrors, chairs, and the iconic neon sign outside. AN: Explain the history of how your father created the infamous Negroni Sbagliato and his overall vision for the bar. MS: In the 1960s, cocktails in Milan were hard to come by. Oddly enough, they were popular in Venice, Cortina, and Florence—mostly in the lounges of the big hotels. My father brought an old-school experience he gained by working at hotel bars to a small street corner in Milan. One day, while making a Negroni, a cocktail traditionally made with Campari, red vermouth, and gin, he substituted sparkling wine for gin, claiming that he picked that bottle by mistake. He finished the drink anyway. I‘ve never known if it was true, but the name Sbagliato, which means “mistaken,” caught on. AN: Why do you think designers were initially attracted to Bar Basso as a place to gather in the 1980s? MS: Bar Basso attracted many creative people starting as far back as the 1960s. I think it’s because of its unpretentious atmosphere. Joe Colombo and many architects from Politecnico, the Milanese University of Architecture, were already regulars in the ’70s, but I was too young to notice them. The first designers that I personally met were James Irvine, Jasper Morrison, Marc Newson, Stefano Giovannoni, and a few others working in the [Ettore] Sottsass studio. This community started to grow spontaneously more or less at the same time as the Salone del Mobile brought more visitors to town. After our first “British Invasion,” we started to attract Scandinavian designers, design journalists, and assorted manufacturers. AN: How has your knowledge of design changed since Bar Basso has become an informal hub for designers? MS: The sheer proximity with designers has given me an awareness of how much effort lies behind any design piece, even for objects that we always take for granted. AN: Thousands of designers around the world have a very intimate connection to Bar Basso. Why did you choose Gabriel Scott to design your new lighting? MS: Gabriel Kakon and Scott Richler, owners of Gabriel Scott, contacted me last March in order to organize an exposition of their lamps during the Salone del Mobile in two of our windows. We hit it off and agreed to develop the bar’s first-ever installation to celebrate our anniversary. AN: How did they develop the lighting installation? MS: Gabriel and Scott proposed installing versions of their Myriad and Welles light fixtures with custom satin copper fixture finishes, which give off an alabaster glow that evokes the color of the Negroni Sbagliato. AN: What are the plans for Bar Basso in the next 51 years? MS: Stay alive and stay in business!
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La Triennale di Milano announces election of Stefano Boeri as president

La Triennale di Milano came back after a 20-year hiatus just two years ago and already it’s getting a revamp. The Triennale, which takes place in the museum of the same name within Milan’s Palazzo dell’Arte, has just elected architect and urban planner Stefano Boeri as its president with a plan to return to the festival's roots that date back 85 years. Boeri’s stated goal is to return the Triennale to its position at the center of the “international dialogue between culture, economics, society, arts, and industry…When governments and political systems are no longer a reference point for progress, we look to other places, such as creative institutions, to facilitate that dialogue." Not limiting these updates to just the theoretical or curatorial realm, the changes are also going to be quite physical—the Giovanni Muzio–designed Palazzo dell’Arte will be restored to its original 1930s rationalist condition. Boeri has previously held positions as the artistic director of MI/ARCH, another international architecture festival in Milan, and as Milan’s Head of Culture, Design, and Fashion, The coming 2019 Triennale is titled Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival and was organized by MoMA curator Paola Antonelli. Broken Nature confronts the relationship between humanity and the environment around us through the lens of “restorative design.”
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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.

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Spotlight on ten designs from Salone del Mobile 2018

From April 17 to 22, all eyes in the design world are on the spectacular exhibitions, installations, pop-ups, and launches by an impressive lineup of designers and brands at Milan Design Week. From the International Bathroom and EuroCucina exhibitions to the satellite shows, here is a sampling of the designs—bravissimi!

Talisman Sconce Apparatus

Articulated by a raised pattern, this jewel-like sconce was inspired by Persian motifs that appear in Achaemenid stone reliefs, metalworking, and sculpture. It is part of a series that was inspired by Creative Director Gabriel Hendifar’s Iranian family heirlooms.

Circe Lounge Chair Ini Archibong for Sé

Swiss designer Ini Archibong collaborated with the London-based furniture maker famous for its 20th century-inspired designs. The work is a nod to Art Moderne, featuring the curving geometric lines of the back and base of the chair, and the round, curvaceous form of the soft, pink cushion.

STRUCTURES Kinnasand

Berlin-based Studio Greiling morphed a series of ottomans, benches, and daybeds into a rug-seating hybrid, exploiting the very often unexplored space in between floor and furniture. By draping rugs on top of colorful metal tubing, the fabric transforms into seating.

DeKauri Bath Credenza Daniel Germani for Cosentino

Spanish surfaces purveyor Cosentino and Italian furniture maker Riva 1920 worked with architect Daniel Germani to create a freestanding bathroom vanity that conceals the sink, lighting, storage, and mirror. Doors crafted out of 50,000-year-old Kauri wood open to a white Dekton by Cosentino sink, a Fantini faucet, and vanity-like lighting by Juniper Design.

Series Y Gensler for Artemide

Gensler designed a Mondrian-inspired fixture that accommodates both soft and bright lighting via two different screen profiles. The branchlike composition allows for configuration of direct or indirect illumination—all from a single power source.

Ratio Dada

Belgian-born architect and designer Vincent Van Duysen took a mix of warm and cold materials—wooden panels juxtaposed with natural stone countertops—and rendered them in modular, metallic grids for this kitchen.

Hawa Beirut Richard Yasmine

This otherworldly furniture collection is a nostalgic reflection of architecture in the designer’s hometown of Beirut, including arch-shaped references to Lebanese architectural elements, window-like glass inserts, slabs of marble, and handmade tassels. Swathed in pastel hues, the series comprises a set of chairs, a hybrid table/decorative screen, and a folding screen.

Drop Lindsey Adelman

With its metal, tubular structural system adorned with poetically placed globes, Drop recalls visual tropes associated with the 20th-century machine age. Administering a hand-applied mixture of salt and ammonia to the surface created the algae-like patina.

Kartell by Laufen Laufen Laufen, the Swiss bathroom outfitter, collaborated with Italian furniture purveyor Kartell on a conceptual collection of colorful washbasins, taps and fittings, storage units, shower bases, bathtubs, lights, and accessories. The result is a study of form and silhouette with brightly saturated accents of translucent acrylic, a material for which Kartell is famous.

Disco Gufram

Recalling the surreal disco balls by Dutch art studio Rotganzen, Gufram’s Charley Vezza envisioned three cabinets and two coffee tables as pedestals for melting mirrored disco balls for the Disco collection. Other items aim to preserve the brand’s iconic history of designing Italian dance clubs. Can you dig it?

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Carlo Ratti unveils four seasons installation at Salone del Mobile

As climate change blurs the typical boundaries between seasons, a forthcoming installation by Carlo Ratti Associati and Studio Römer will take that a step further, by exploring the relationship between nature and living in a piece that combines spring, summer, winter, and autumn under a single roof in the center of Milan's Piazza del Duomo. Titled "Living Nature," the 5,400-square-foot garden pavilion will be open to the public in the city's main square over the course of the Salone del Mobile fair, from April 17 through 15, 2018. With its four natural, climactic microcosms, the piece is ostensibly a study on the relationship between the natural environment and the city surrounding it, but it also goes one step further by experimenting with the latest technology in energy management systems, including photovoltaic cells, accumulators, and heat pumps. “In the 20th century, cities expanded outwards to conquer nature and the countryside," says Carlo Ratti, founding partner at CRA and director of MIT Senseable City Lab. "We believe that today’s challenge is the opposite: How can we bring nature back to the city and in the house?" Citing Bosco Verticale as an example of Milan's leading-edge engagement with biophilic design, Ratti says his firm's new project “continues such a reflection, bridging the domestic dimension closer to today’s most pressing environmental challenges.” As such, the pavilion will be divided into four "rooms," each with its own interior furnishings and plants selected by French botanist Patrick Blanc. Though climate control is often associated with excessive energy consumption, the new project aims to spark a conversation about sustainable design. The structure's Crystal membrane dynamically filters light based on input from light-reactive sensors. PV panels generate the energy to heat the summer area and cool the winter zone, with excess energy generated during peak production times stored in a battery system. With the challenges of climate change in mind, “we need to devise strategies for climate remediation to improve living conditions in our cities, defining a closer alliance between the natural and artificial worlds,” says Antonio Atripaldi, project leader at CRA. “This project offers a radical change of perspective, demonstrating the feasibility of climate control technology that is also sustainable, with vast potential for future applications.”
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Koolhaas and Herzog & de Meuron venture into fashion design for Prada

Prada has thrown its 2018 fall menswear collection back to the 90’s, with a fashion show in Milan that put utilitarian black nylon front and center. Rem Koolhaas, Herzog & de Meuron, French designers Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, and German industrial designer Konstantin Grcic were all invited to interpret the material through an industrial lens to create a unique item for the collection. Fashion designer Miuccia Prada’s rise to fame was built on black nylon in 1984; in weaving nylon, typically used for packaging at the time and not clothing, into the landmark luxury “Vela” bag, Prada transformed the luxury brand into a contemporary clothing company. The same waterproof “Pocone” nylon used in the original Vela bag was on full display yesterday at Prada’s preview of its Autumn Winter 2018 menswear collection in Milan. Instead of flash or color, the focus was on form and usage, and the menswear fashion week show was appropriately staged in an industrial warehouse with a Prada twist. The storage facility in Viale Ortles, Milan, was plastered with throwbacks to Prada’s past and lit with blues, reds and purples by AMO, the research and branding studio of OMA. This isn’t the first time AMO has worked with Prada, as they also designed Prada’s 2017 Spring/Summer venue. OMA founding principal Rem Koolhaas contributed a backwards backpack to the show, designing a black nylon pack meant to be worn on the front of the body. The boxy container is meant to be first and foremost accessible, as Koolhaas notes that the convenience of a backpack is negated by having to take it off to access. “The shape of the backpack has the convenience of flexibility, the location–the back–the huge inconvenience that it is fundamentally inaccessible to the wearer,” Koolhaas told Prada. In the same way the Vela bag advanced the backpack through material, Koolhaas’s pack was meant to be the next step forward in the bag’s shape. Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron chose to focus on the clothing side, designing a shirt patterned with what looks like statements in English, but reveals itself to be gibberish upon closer examination. Calling language useless, Herzog & de Meuron reduced words to nothing more than ornamentation as a commentary on the way untrue information has saturated our daily lives. “It has lost its seductive power. There is nothing new, nothing critical, nothing true in language that cannot be turned into its opposite and claimed to be equally true. Language has become an empty vehicle of information,” reads Herzog & de Meuron’s statement to Prada. OMA and Koolhaas have had a longstanding partnership with Prada, collaborating on everything from a 120,000-square-foot arts complex in Milan, to the Prada “Epicenter” in New York. All of Prada’s 2018 Autumn/Winter menswear collection can be found here.
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You can see entire landscapes in this recently released furniture series

Powdered glass, dyed sand, silica, coffee—these are the materials designer Fernando Mastrangelo used to craft his latest furniture series, dubbed "Escape." As exotic as those materials may seem, they're just the tip of the iceberg for New York–based Mastrangelo. His studio has experimented extensively with unusual castings, using salt, sugar, corn, salt, cement, sprinkles, metal beads, and more, in its sculptures and furniture. Mastrangelo recently collaborated with SHoP Architects to cast entire walls in Thakoon, a newly-minted Soho boutique clothing store (look for it the most recent edition of AN Interior!). "Escape," which recently made its debut in Milan, finds fresh inspiration in the natural world. The series "is inspired by the perfect compositions of landscapes and horizons, which are at once harsh and geometric, yet soft and gentle," Mastrangelo told The Architect's Newspaper. "I wanted to create objects that capture that language, and the profound sense of calm and contemplation that stems from a connection to nature. This is the first time we’ve cast powdered glass, which has a unique luminous quality that really makes the pieces feel alive." The new collection is now on view at the Maison Gerard (53 East 10th Street, New York) from April 13th to May 5th.