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April Issue #55

April Issue #55

Milan Special

In our Milan special edition, we take you through the lighting and workplace sectors at the Salone del Mobile and around the city for some of the hottest events. Enjoy our closeup of artist Gaetano Pesce’s Maestà Soffrente, which after 50 years of the UP5 & 6 armchairs for B&B Italia, was exhibited in Piazza Duomo for Milan Design Week 2019—at 8 meters high!.

  • Tom Dixon’s Back! His work on the Manzoni restaurant and shop was a hit.
  • Artist Alex Chineck unzips the city with his IQOS WORLD Revealed.
  • SuperDesign Show and Tortona Rocks, another good year.
  • COS presented Conifera, a large-scale 3D-printed architectural installation.
  • CityLife Tower, inside and out, continues Milan’s architectural renaissance.
  • Cosentino presented Raytrace by Benjamin Hubert of LAYER for Dekton.
  • And more!

Erin Tallman, Editor-in-Chief

April 18, 2019

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A screening room on rails!
Courtesy of Cristina Celestino

A screening room on rails! Designer and architect Cristina Celestino transformed the historical tram of 1928 into a traveling “cinema” which circulates the Brera Design District. Celestino tailor-made the interior of Corallo to reflect her aesthetic preference of precious materials, references to the past,...

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Contemporary living in three categories: classic, design and luxury
Courtesy of Ton

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Chamfer sofa by Patricia Urquiola for Moroso. Photo courtesy of Moroso.

The young designer platform SaloneSatellite once again selected the top three amazing products. Find out who won in our article here.

SaloneSatellite 2018

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Technology will not kill design.
Ratio by Belgian architect Vincent van Duysen. Courtesy of Molteni&C|Dada

Discover the evolution of the kitchen with brands who combine technology and design for the in-demand efficient and emotional experience of today.   Two years ago Eurocucina and its collateral event FTK showcased the latest innovations in smart kitchen technology, increasingly sought after by consumers. This is one...

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  • Morphosis Installation, Milan 2019. Courtesy of Dassault Systèmes.


    Dassault Systèmes held its Design for Life program at Superstudio Più during Milan Design Week 2019 (April 9-13). The event expressed the synergy between design, science and art can contribute to making the world more resilient, sustainable, and regenerative.

    The French company partnered with Morphosis for its main installation: Interfaces, which showcased how processes and the language of design are used to solve urban challenges. 

    During Future Talks, thought leaders from companies such as Zaha Hadid Architects, Honda Power Products, Dassault Systèmes, Toshiko Mori Architect, MINI Living, and more, offered an exciting mix of presentations; the exhibition showcased how designers and innovators tackle complex challenges. Open Conversations with design practitioners and innovators delved deeper into topics and provided practical insights; Design Stories were hands-on explanations of how design approaches solve everyday challenges and prepare us for the future.

    Each day of this very rich program was constructed around a specific theme: Matter (April 9) looked at the new role of designers in rematerializing the world. Human (April 10) considered how human interaction with machines changes us. Space (April 11) investigated the tremendous potential of regenerative design. Living (April 12)  looked at how design can advocate for social change. Social Forward (April 13) was a future-focused day that revolved around how design changes our relationship to the world and how it helps us achieve our ideals.

    Dassault Systèms sent its crew around the city to pick out a few of their favorite exhibitions. Watch the video below to get the highlights.


    During Milan Design Week 2019, visitors couldn’t miss the 8-meter high version of Gaetano Pesce’s chair Maestà Soffrente (Suffering Majesty), presented in...

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    Milan Design Week 2019—Philip Morris International (PMI) pushes through media and industry attack for its anti-smoking campaign tagged as hypocritical, and what better place to make a statement about change?

    During the design event, the company exhibited IQOS World Revealed by Alex Chinneck as part of its IQOS WORLD project. The installation binds together the tobacco brand’s new creative vision with a monumental work of public sculpture.

    The IQOS is a new PMI smoke-free device and features as part of their campaign to transform and overhaul their brand and image as tobacco industry giants. It’s interesting that the company would choose to collaborate with a British sculptor despite the consistent heatwave from London media outlets. Either way, the artistic result is fantastic.

    In 4 weeks, well-known British sculptor Alex Chinneck and his team transformed a building’s entire facade, including a massively sculpted zipper to allude to the possible routes to a newly imagined future. The artist and his team “unzipped” the building—we could see that a corner of the building was reworked to appear to be peeling back—to reveal a blank wall. As for Chinneck, the collaboration itself was a way to let his imagination loose.

    IQOS WORLD Revealed by Alex Chinneck. Courtesy of the artist.

    IQOS WORLD Revealed by Alex Chinneck. Courtesy of the artist.

    “I embrace the idea of collaboration because it allows my creative imagination to run free. If you limit your ideas and realms of your imagination to what you can achieve on your own, you immediately restrict possibility.”

    In order to highlight PMI’s brand image switch, disrupting consumers’ view of the tobacco industry, Chinneck worked on a building with a fatigued facade. He said, in an interview with FAD, that he was encouraged to introduce a more futuristic and contemporary element, so he added illumination, sound and color. The exterior of the building seems to denote the old and the new, the idea of moving forward to something brighter. Visitors could enter the building to enjoy the rest of the exhibition, all “unzipped”. In the whole project, he implemented several materials into the project: steel, wood polystyrene, jesmonite, resin, moss, grass.

    IQOS WORLD Revealed by Alex Chinneck.

    IQOS WORLD Revealed by Alex Chinneck. Courtesy of the artist.

    Artist Karim Rashi was involved in last year’s IQOS WORLD project, having designed a site-specific installation in the center of which visitors could see his Konverse sculpture which represents the stylized profiles of two faces, a metaphor of an ideal enthusiasm about the future.

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