Each year the scope of Salone del Mobile in Milan expands, making it not only the largest contemporary lifestyle fair on the planet, but now, the event is so large it’s impossible to cover the entire program. Even scratching the surface is no mean feat!!
Highlights from the Press Preview Day included – Established & Sons, who this year, in a radical departure from the first 7 years of the young brand’s existence, opted to co-exihit with iconic Italian ceramic brand Bizazza¬†in Zona Tortona.
Standouts of the installation were undoubtedly the extension of the WRONG WOODS collection, the collaboration between the artist RICHARD WOODS & Established&Sons Creative Director Sebastian Wrong.¬†¬† Sebastian explained to us the move to join Bisazza, whilst at first, to him, co-exhibiting with the Italian tile monolith seemed incongruous given the brand’s ‘indy’ style, self-driven trajectory from zero to hero in international design stakes – makes sound commercial sense – opening up the collections to the enormous, and established (no pun!) Bisazza customer base. Smart Move.
The newest destination on the design block is the Tom Dixon-driven collective MOST.¬† Housed in the National Museum of Science & Technology.¬† The most apparent trend, or in fashionista-speak – the ‘new black’ in design¬† is clearly the ‘experience’, & MOST delivers ‘experience’ in spades!!
With a plethora of brand installations pickled among the Museum’s permanent exhibits, visitors move past World War 2 fighter jets, a hall full of stream trains, & a cavernous space filled with a variety of full scale sea craft – the word ‘experience’ comes to life in the most literal sense. One must be there to comprehend the installations, as MOST doesn’t fare well in the re-telling, a photograph or video. Like Dixon himself – the location is industrial to the core.
On entry, moving past Cartier‘s new watch installation, visitors venture through Dixon’s own strong collection of furniture & lighting, the visit topped by the excellent accessory brand extension Tom Dixon ECLECTIC – Dixon’s object and accessory line than launched in Paris at Maison Objet. Outstanding. Jack Light or Brogue shoe paper weights, & Factory money box the clear highlights – the products ready for sale in September during London Design Festival, are not expensive & the materiality consistently industrial per the Dixon design ethos.
Brit stylist come Creative Director Faye Toogood of Studio Toogood presented an actual ‘experience’ for skincare brand NIVEA. Visitors must pre-book a seat for the 20 minute performance that runs every hour. A darkened, tented, space-within-a-spacee houses 20 or so chairs (designed by Toogood), & androgynous, bandaged performers theatrically present gusets with a small treat, then a tray with doe, & ultimately the inevitable NIVEA infused hand towel to clean up. On the stage the performers mold doe into objects and the audience become part of the installation – the culmination of the ‘experience’ being the objects molded by the viewers being collected and added to the central platform or stage. Once seen, the ‘experience’ is not easily forgotten – a clever move by NIVEA, successfully entering the design arena by partnering with Toogood.
Final stop of the day was Spazio Rossana Orlandi -¬† yet to officially open to visitors – every small space was throbbing with installers, removalists, & exhibiting designers scrambling to complete their displays – and whilst the opportunity to catch the ‘next breaking designer’ seems almost too good to miss – reconnecting with Rossana herself is as entertaining as it is enlightening! Cheeky to the core, she shuns photographers who tardily ask to take her picture (poking her tongue out & laughint ‘I am terrible, bad luck’!), & yet generously pauses to share her own highlights to more seasoned enquirers. But more on this later.
Standout clearly was global-forecaster Li Edelkoort‘s curated installation with Rubelli – the ribboned- taxidermy birds, Maartin Baas burnt chairs upholstered in Rubelli, & an an ORIGINAL Gio Ponti armchair
So as now we enter the official day one – enjoy some of our highlights from yesterday!!