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We dig into the theme of this year’s Salone del Mobile which splits into three categories: classic, design and timeless luxury.
Last week, the city that holds the global title of de facto design capital was once again hit by storm, with the 57th edition of Salone Internazionale del Mobile. Held April 17-22 in Milan, the 2018 fair drew some 300,000 visitors from over 165 countries – all keen to soak up the vast array of new contemporary furnishings. This year, more than 2,000 exhibitors showcased their wares at Fiera Milano, Rho—while above-average temperatures brought a taste of premature Summer. ArchiExpo e-Magazine was live on the scene, gleaning the hottest launches from all the show’s offerings. Here are a few of our favorite finds.
Classic: Tradition in the Future
Brushing the dust off long-forgotten designs continues with great success. In many cases, traditional craftsmanship only needed a few light touches for a modern upgrade and 21st-century appreciation. Case in point, in tribute to the 100th birth anniversary of designer and architect Achille Castiglioni, Zanotta reintroduced the Albero flower pot stand, a striking tree-like form sprouting with plant pedestals originally launched in 1983.
Marta Zanotta, marketing and communications manager for Zanotta, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, told ArchiExpo e-Magazine:
These days young people are less into status symbols and more trying to find their own personality and passion to express in their home.
Italian lighting manufacturer Flos also celebrates the Castiglioni milestone, unveiling two humorous lamps for the occasion. The Ventosa can be stuck via a suction cup on nearly all surfaces while Nasa, a wire reading light, can be clipped into just about any place—including the nose (which Castiglioni demonstrated, an old photo proves).
Carl Hansen & Søn dug down into its expansive archives to uncover a 1952 design by Hans J. Wegner. Not produced since the late 1970s, the upholstered CH71 lounge chair and CH72 two-seater sofa have a section of unexpectedly exposed solid wood on armrests, in the form of handles.
The CH71 lounge chair and CH72 two-seater sofa by Hans J. Wegner for Carl Hansen & Søn. Photo courtesy of Carl Hansen & Søn.
Design: Functionality and Innovation
The days of that frustrating conundrum – form or function? – are numbered, products in the Design category prove. A playful and youthful new brand by Spanish firm Gandia Blasco descends with a bang on the outdoor category, which all too often sacrifices style for weather-proofing. Diabla creatively focuses on outdoor furniture at an economical price, while introducing fresh young designers and offering products online—a first for Gandia Blasco. Alejandra Gandía-Blasco Lloret, Gandia Blasco’s deputy director of creative and communication told ArchiExpo e-Magazine:
This is our way of keeping in touch with a lot of young designers all over the world. And since we just produce small collections of individual objects and no large collections, we can experiment.
Gandía-Blasco Lloret had two of her own contributions to the first collection: Pilsy, a small portable lamp shaped like a handbag that can be charged wirelessly and Valentina Outdoor, a casual and elegant furniture system that is also lightweight and therefore portable – expanding location possibilities. For soft pool- or beach-side seating in an arena that isn’t usually so cushy, there’s the weather-resistant Donut stool by Japanese designer Mikiya Kobayashi inspired by the trademark form of the deep-fried pastry.
The Donut stool by Mikiya Kobayashi. Photo courtesy of Diabla.
Likewise, Italian lighting manufacturer Foscarini kicks off production of its first outdoor collection. A supersized version of its popular coated fiberglass Twiggy lamp by Marc Sadler is one highlight, and an elegant edition to a garden oasis. After an innovative revamp of manufacturing processes, the four-meter high lacquered fiberglass composite, painted metal, and aluminum Twice as Twiggy Grid bends with the wind and incorporates less material. Sadler told ArchiExpo e-Magazine:
Experimentation often opens up new worlds to new adventures. We redid parts of the machines and the programs and were able to make the machines smaller and more efficient.
Once again blending style and function, Zanotta’s aluminum alloy and polyurethane Elipse chair by Patrick Jouin is distinguished by the circular cutout in its back. “Elipse looks perfect from any point of view, even from the rear, and you can easily carry it,” Zanotta explains.
The Elipse chair by Patrick Jouin for Zanotta. Photo couresy of Zanotta.
Czech designer Lucy Koldova’s high-backed Chips lounge chair, which premiered in Germany at IMM Cologne’s experimental home Das Haus 2018, will now be produced, along with an ottoman, by bentwood furniture company Ton. Framed by hand-bent wood, Chips has an oversized backrest made from perforated fabric—for a statement piece that Koldova describes as “visually light yet intentionally oversized.”
Luxurious yet Contemporary
Luxurious materials remain a driving force. The upholstered high-backed chair Asko by Patrick Jouin for Erik Jørgensen is available in a buttery leather, for example. Six different marbles can be paired with the slim brass pipe base of the flexible Palladio coffee table by husband and wife duo GamFratesi. A play on geometry and material produced by Porro, the table is available as three different models—circular, rectangular, or trapezoidal—that stand alone or tuck in together as a family.
Solid oak is a rare material when it comes to office cabinets. However, the Chess range of sheet metal cabinets by Konstantin Grcic for Italian manufacturer Magis employs it on handles across all models and on recessed pedestals, lifting the cabinets off the floor. Developed in collaboration with Fami, an Italian firm known for its high-quality metal cabinets, Chess is offered in powder-coated white or wine-red finishes.
Designed with a nod to Gregori Warchavchik, the Russian-Ukrainian architect credited with kickstarting modern architecture in 1920’s Brazil, the Casa Modernista upholstered sofa by Nipa Doshi & Jonathan Levien is part of Italian manufacturer Moroso’s new home collection, an expansion of the Modernista series which launched last year. With its deep seat and brushed steel base, the Casa Modernista sofa surprises with a dash of femininity in the form of central buttons.
The Casa Modernista sofa by Nipa Doshi & Jonathan Levien for Moroso. Photo courtesy of Moroso.
Choice is also a luxury, the minds behind Moroso know. Therefore the Chamfer sofa by Patricia Urquiola for Moroso is available in five different versions, varying in depth as well as length. It’s named after the sloped edge of its form.
The Chamfer sofa by Patricia Urquiola for Moroso. Photo courtesy of Moroso.
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When Peter J. Lassen left Fritz Hansen in 1979, it wasn’t under the best of circumstances. He was CEO, and times were rough for the Danish furniture manufacturer. “We were forced to sell the family company – and in some ways of course it was a catastrophe, but it was also a new chance,” his son Joakim Lassen explained to ArchiExpo e-Magazine. The new chance was Montana, the company Peter J. Lassen founded on the island of Funen in 1982. As Joakim relays, Peter felt his departure from Fritz Hansen was an opportunity to refocus, and turn to one product, refine it, and take it very seriously. And what product can be found in every room in the house? Storage. It didn’t hurt that Peter was backed by a rather talented group of friends—designer greats Arne Jacobsen and Verner Panton, to name two. Today, the Montana shelving system is a recognizable piece of Danish design history, with its square shape, bold colors, and round corners.
Montana Free shelving unit. Courtesy of Montana
Last week in Copenhagen, during 3 Days of Design, Montana launched a new system by Jakob Wagner. The largest introduction since the company was founded, Montana Free is a lacquered-MDF freestanding shelving system with 12 standard compositions that can be paired with an optional interposed textile shelf. Staying true to Montana’s shelving DNA with its soft rounded curves, the system is available in four colors, New White, Fjord (a steel gray), China Red, and Black.
“The brief was very precise, yet very open. It was clear we were taking a big step away from the wall, a big step away from storage,” Wagner notes. What Wagner means is Montana Free is more about display than tucking things away, with a few additional perks: “You can go a little bit wild on the panels and it can be shipped flat-pack,” he says.
But best of all, according to Joakim: “A magnet-based system means you can assemble this tool-free without a manual.”