ArchiExpo e-Magazine - #34 - Salone del Mobile - ArchiExpo e-Magazine

Salone del Mobile

This issue focuses on Milan’s Salone del Mobile where ArchiExpo e-Magazine took a run through the fair and the city. We spoke to the most celebrated Czech, Korean and Swedish designers, discovered a number of young talents in the exhibition SaloneSatellite and more. The bi-annual international lighting exhibition Euroluce is back for its 29th edition. The huge array of goodies include the very latest devices for outdoor, indoor and industrial lighting to lighting for shows and events.

We bring you information on really cool experiments at Milan from mega brands like Nike and Audi. Beyond Milan we take you to Iceland for a tour of DesignMarch, with a special focus on DesignTalks, then to the U.K. for the Smart Cities conference and to Germany for the Prolight and Sound fair.

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Hot Topic
I haven’t felt this positive in years.

“I haven’t felt this positive in years,” Italian designer Ludovica Palomba said in regards to the energy at this year’s Salone del Mobile and Milan Design Week. Indeed this year’s event sent steady vibes of positivity, and the streets of Milan once again welcomed international and local design seekers who could be...

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Hot Topic
We are no longer ruled by the lightbulb

During the 2017 edition of Euroluce, the biennial exhibition at Salone del Mobile Milan, 450 exhibitors from around the world created unique environments representative of their brand, evolving style and technological advances that shape the industry. The exhibit provided a resource for indoor, outdoor, industrial and specialty lighting, but most of the focus was on indoor designs for homes and public spaces.
ArchiExpo caught up with several designers and editors to discuss how traditional materials and techniques continue to generate innovation, and how new technologies, and evolving safety and environmental regulations, are influencing design.

Process-Based Metamorphosis

Paris-based designer Dan Yeffet  introduced several lights at Euroluce and Salone del Mobile for Roche BoboisHaymann and other companies. An addition to his Highlight collection graced the Varonese stand.

An elegant glass tube in hand-blown Murano glass, Varonese’s signature material, stands on a marble base topped by an identical marble piece. When Highlight was first released last year, the LED light source was in the bottom piece. “I’d wanted the light in the upper part because I like the ambiguity of hidden light sources. But I wasn’t satisfied moving the electrical cord up top because people are used to turning on a lamp from the bottom,” said Yeffet. “But in the design process, what you intend gives way to what you find along the way.” For the newest version, the marble ends are interchangeable. “We decided to let the user choose if the cable and light source [should] go on the top or bottom,” Yeffet added.


Highlight by Dan Yeffet

Highlight by Dan Yeffet


What’s next for Yeffet? “There’s a new edition of lights that I’m doing with the Sericyne silk company which is completely different—organic lights which are made by silkworms. Sericyne trained silkworms to weave around shapes.” Yeffet hopes the lights will be ready in the coming month. “Don’t laugh, but we’re waiting for the worms to finish their job.”

Another designer creating fascinating light objects through process-based design is Omer Arbel of the Canadian company Bocci. Experimenting with glass, metal and air, Arbel employs a combination of procedures to produce organic looking objects.

The 84 series released this year comprises glass balloons made by blowing into white glass inside a fine copper mesh basket which is then plunged into clear molten glass. Air blown through the inside mesh creates a bubble. Through this process, every piece is different, sometimes with visible folds in the mesh or tiny air bubbles trapped inside the glass. The light source is placed inside the glass balloon.

At the Bocci stand, 84 series bubbles were suspended from the ceiling in scattered clusters. Arbel’s light pieces reach their full effect when grouped tightly together in a random array that resembles luminescent sea creatures.


84 series by Omer Arbel for Bocci. Photography by Fahim Kassam

84 series by Omer Arbel for Bocci. Photography by Fahim Kassam

Slender Lines of LEDs

We are no longer ruled by the lightbulb,” Japanese lighting designer Arihiro Miyake told ArchiExpo. “With LEDs we can create much finer light, which gives more design freedom.” Arihiro, based between Finland and Italy, released the Titia lamp prototype at Euroluce for Italian lighting producer Nemo.

The 3-D printed prototype is formed by connecting congruent slender zigzag pieces into a ring. The pieces connect side-by-side and top to bottom so the ring can be as wide or tall as desired. The light source lines the inside of the pieces. “The idea is to have the smallest possible dimensions to distribute the light into thin lines, spreading it out so one point of light won’t be so strong,” according to Miyake. Production of Titia will be in coated aluminum or plastic, depending on heat the LEDs release. “We are still working on how to create the design for mass production after Salone de Mobile.”

U.S. company Gray Pants takes advantage of LED compactness as well, with the release of their Chronalight collection. Designed by Seth Grizzle, the lamps mimic the gaseous rings surrounding stars.

A ring of bright LED light encircles a flat dish made from spun brass and acrylic diffusers. The reflective property of brass intensifies the light. When hung either vertically or horizontally, Chrona looks like something interstellar.


Chronalights Graypants euroluce milan design lighting archiexpo

Chronalights by Graypants


Advances In Wireless Technology

Casambi Wireless Technology, creating wireless controls for lighting, was omnipresent at Euroluce. The company is collaborating with several exhibitors, including Spanish company Santa & Cole and  London-based Innermost.

Casambi founders Timo Pakkala and Elena Lehtimäki previously worked for Nokia. They used their experience in wireless communication to create a computer chip with lighting modules. Companies that have an electronics team can integrate the Casambi chip inside the driver, but Casambi also manufactures bulbs usable in any standard lamp. The lights are controlled from a user-friendly downloadable application. The user selects images or icons to control different lights around the room or several rooms, changing color and temperature. An upcoming version will feature hue and saturation control.

Casambi works via Bluetooth, limiting the interference often experienced with WiFi-controlled devices, especially when several networks are operating in the same area. However, lighting can still be controlled remotely through Wi-Fi if one device is left in the building with the Casambi app on.

Some companies create their own wireless technology, like Israel-based Aqua. The firm combines innovative technology with timeless materials, designing paper and silk lamps whose brightness and temperature can be controlled through a cell phone application. At Euroluce they presented both classic and futuristic pieces, all crafted by hand and controlled wirelessly.

Check out the latest lighting products exhibited on ArchiExpo.


Zooid Diamond collection by Aqua euroluce milan design lighting archiexpo

Zooid Diamond collection by Aqua

Designers are the heart and soul to create a brighter future.

When you find yourself desperate to produce the next best chair or the most-talked-about piece of architecture, and you’ve reached the point of complete disconnect with the heart of humanity and its link to nature, go to Iceland. “This is the only place where I go to reboot,” said Paul Bennett, chief creative officer...

Italian designers Ludovica and Roberto Palomba, the godfathers of the first beautifully designed bathroom, presented their collection Kartell by Laufen in the...

Courtesy of Gabinete de Arquitectura

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  • Courtesy of UNStudio


    Cities are at a tipping point. By 2050, the United Nations estimates that 66 percent of the world’s population will be living in urban areas.  So, where to put all the newcomers and how to reduce noise and air pollution from the increasing automobile traffic overwhelming urban cores? One place is in the dead zones that currently exist alongside ring roads, the circumferential traffic arteries that slice through many metropolises.

    For the A10 roadway around Amsterdam, a group of planners led by the Dutch firm UNStudio has produced a study showing how to improve this ring road,  currently a smog-clouded boundary lined with sound walls favoring automobiles over pedestrians.  

    “Ring roads create enormous barriers,” declares Ben van Berkel, a founding principal of UNStudio, adding, “People see when they live outside the ring, they live in a less better world. It’s almost a kind of social barrier.”

    In place of the current no man’s land bordering the A10, the plan shows a tree-lined boulevard with bike lanes and adjacent balconied apartment buildings. The study was commissioned by the Dutch Royal Institute of Architects, the Dutch ministry of the Interior and the Amsterdam City Council.

    The development tool kit contains a host of new technologies and materials. These include sound-absorbent Silent Asphalt, which also provides better drainage for road runoff. To make the surrounding environment more pedestrian-friendly, the designers are considering a sensor-activated LED system called Nightsight, manufactured by Zumtobel of Austria. This improves on standard lighting by responding to pedestrian movement and providing variable brightness, from dynamic to soft.

    A key component of the strategy is electric Shared Autonomous Vehicles developed by 2getthere, self-driving taxis capable of sharing the road with other traffic traveling at moderate speeds.

    2gethere's automated vehicle system

    2gethere’s automated vehicle system

    The signature design elements are two enormous beehive-shaped Hubs built over the road. Here, commuters can park their cars and transfer to the shared Autonomous Vehicles that will convey them into downtown Amsterdam. These Hubs, which van Berkel says could include restaurants and hotels, would serve as charging stations for electric vehicles. In addition, they would operate as storage for electric car batteries, which also could provide electricity to surrounding neighborhoods during peak demand periods.

    “We argue that in the future, with electric cars, it will suddenly be more attractive to live around ring roads,” says van Berkel. “You can reduce the amount of noise around the ring road and drive more efficiently. Then you can reduce the width of these roads and make a boulevard.”

    Courtesy of Luís Pedro Silva, Arquitecto

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    If there’s one thing that David Claringbold knows, it’s sound. The current chief marketing officer of the German d&b audiotechnik and former Technical Director of the Sydney Opera House has been making his living with sound in the built environment since the 80s.  After that long in an industry, you start to have some thoughts about how things might look in the future. Claringbold’s lecture at the 2017 Pro Light + Sound Conference in Frankfurt, entitled Sound Futures was about just that.

    First, we go back to Stonehenge. It looks the way it does because that shape increased the acoustic resonance for chanting. Temples and later churches and cathedrals were designed with a similar purpose.  Around 1600, European rulers started to commission concert halls and opera houses.  This one building, one purpose has given us innumerable jewels, architectural and acoustic.  

    But in the 21st century, “the model is no longer linear,” says Claringbold.  City councils and other investors “are demanding buildings that are adaptive”.  Our ceremonies remain roughly the same but the places where they happen are increasingly expected to be interchangeable.

    For Claringbold, this is no bad thing.  “We need to be able to imagine a future where one room can be many rooms and are all serviced by a singular system that not only has great acoustic properties but is also integrated into the building.”

    So why then, the outsized emphasis on the visual in our modern lives? “It’s not that sound doesn’t matter,” explains Claringbold, “it’s just that we haven’t really been able to communicate a value proposition effectively. We haven’t been having the conversations at the right time.”

    In the context of the built environment, there are all sorts of audio tricks that can compensate for less than optimal spaces and acoustic situations, but there is a much higher chance of a positive outcome if sound is part of the design process from the beginning.

    “What we want to do is make new dimensions in creativity possible, not to be a bulky intrusion in the visual space.”

    “What we want to do is make new dimensions in creativity possible, not to be a bulky intrusion in the visual space,” says Claringbold.  A gallery can be transformed in a concert space or meeting room without loads of speaker boxes marring the visual line.

    Even more exciting is how new technology could have all this happen automatically. “Imagine people go into a room and the sound technology automatically understands how many people are there, what kind of sound they need and adjusts the reverb to suit.”  

    Visitors at the d&b stand caught an insight into the future, learning more about the brand’s Soundscape technology – creating landscapes in sound. Scheduled for release by the end of the year, Soundscape will allow designers to work with multidimensional source placement, acoustic room simulation and signal processor capability in a single frame.  

    Controlling sound at the source instead of patching it up after the fact is also a fundamental part of d&b’s work in the outdoor space. NoizCalc, a tool already on the market, is designed to manage unwanted sound bleeding from open air concerts. Taking care of the neighbours reduces complaints and improves the experience for everybody. Watch the video tutorial here.

    “Technology should be an enabler,” says Claringbold. “Not a barrier.”


    Hamburg’s new concert hall is said to be one of the largest and most acoustically advanced in the world. Find out more in our next issue.

    Hamburg’s new concert hall is said to be one of the largest and most acoustically advanced in the world. Find out more in our next issue.



    Mairi Beautyman

    Mairi Beautyman is a journalist based out of Berlin. She’s been writing about design and architecture since 2001.

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    Marcia Adair

    Marcia Adair is a Canadian freelance journalist based in Cologne, Germany.

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    Erin Tallman

    American artist Erin Tallman is a journalist for various online publications and is the Editor in Chief of ArchiExpo e-magazine. She has published three books, including her first novel.

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    Hilary Edesess

    Hilary Edesess is a freelance journalist based in Marseille, France. She blogs about culture, art and urban design.

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    Alex Ulam

    Alex Ulam is a freelance journalist and design critic based in New York.

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    Erin Gigl

    Erin Gigl is a freelance design and travel writer, editor and artist.

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