This special issue on Milan Design Week coincides with the Year of Achille—marking the 100th birthday of Achille Castiglioni, the Italian architect and designer who received the Compasso d’Oro award seven times! Remembered for iconic designs like the Mezzadro stool, Arco lamp and Sella Stool, his daughter Giovanna, director of the Achille Castiglioni Foundation, launched the exhibition ‘100×100 Achille‘. It features 100 objects signed by 100 anonymous designers, many of whom had known Achille personally: Alessandro Mendini, Michele De Lucchi, Andrea Branzi, Lorenzo Damiani, Marcel Wanders, Jasper Morrison, Philippe Starck, Konstantin Grcic and others.
Responsible for the education of several of our renowned designers today—such as Patricia Urquiola—, the reminiscence of Castiglioni makes this issue exceptional. You will find a little bit of everything here as we unveil some of the best exhibitions and products from the fair and around the city.
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,...
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, contemporary intuitions and visionary spirit; she split it into two zones such as seen in theaters and cinemas: the foyer and the screening room.
The foyer acts as a waiting room featuring rigorous settees, windows screened by Rubelli drapes and soft inlaid carpeting. A light passementerie curtain separates the foyer and the screening room, where ottomans offer comfortable seating for visitors. Ribbon windows at the back of the tram offer surreal footage of Milan and its urban landscapes, “an unforeseen cinematic perspective on the city of Milan.”
Check out our video tour of the Corallo:
Designer and architect Cristina Celestino has received many international prizes and honors, including the Special Jury Prize in the “Salone del Mobile.Milano Awards” in 2016 and an Elle Deco International Design Award with the “Plumage” facings project for BottegaNove. She designed the Happy Room collection for Fendi presented at DesignMiami 2016. In 2017, for Sergio Rossi, she created an exclusive interior design and a collection of furnishings for the concept of the new boutiques.
Read our article on some of the great products and projects we found in the Brera Design District.
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...
The bathroom takes center stage in saving the environment! But what exactly will help generate a more sustainable and energy-efficient bathroom?
When the global theme in every sector focuses on the environment, looking for answers and solutions to current problems, we know everyone’s involvement matters. The International Bathroom Exhibition at Salone del Mobile in Milan expressed how technological advancements make the bathroom a more sustainable and energy-efficient room. Brands exhibited designs with energy-saving features, recyclable materials, antibacterial finishes, water efficiency, improved hygiene and indoor pollution prevention.
Changing Our Throw-away Mindset
Italian bathroom brand Laufen opened collaboration with several renowned designers such as Konstantin Grcic, Patricia Urquiola and Marcel Wanders. There’s a reason why these names continue to carry weight: They take their role as designers to heart and understand what it means.
“As designers, we are the leaders of change,” Marcel Wanders told ArchiExpo e-Magazine at Salone del Mobile.
He presented his collection The New Classic, made from a new type of ceramic that he said affords thinner, harder and stronger results. This ceramic is made and cooked differently, resulting in an original shape and glaze. When asked if this type of ceramic could be even more sustainable than normal ceramic, he said:
We have a psychological problem and not a material problem in regards to sustainability. I call it psychological sustainability. Every person and object creates a past and we must respect the past. We can no longer continue living in a throw-away society, a production of modernism, where people believe the past to be irrelevant to the present. It is not true.
The New Classic by Marcel Wanders. Courtesy of Laufen.
Wanders mentioned that modernism is still prevalent to design today, but he believes it can be destructive. It means, according to him, that what we design today will be irrelevant tomorrow. However, his optimism shines through:
Design culture has changed over the last few years, for the better. There’s more respect for the past. It’s a good thing because if we don’t change our throw-away habits, we will not change the world. We designers have to show we respect and appreciate the past. We are the leaders of this change.
The New Classic by Marcel Wanders. Courtesy of Laufen.
Luxurious Materials that Respect the Past
“We do not have a material problem in terms of sustainability.” Wanders reminds us that many materials which promote caring for the environment already exist—although this does not mean we won’t see more innovations on the market each year.
Kauri ancient wood, for example, is an extremely rare, old growth timber that came from trees that fell thousands of years ago. Cosentino used this to create the credenza of their bathroom furniture concept, a bathroom vanity called DeKauri, designed by Argentinian designer and architect Daniel Germani in collaboration with Italian furniture maker Riva 1920.
The bathroom vanity has a washbasin crafted from Dekton® by Cosentino. The two materials here, Dekton® and Kauri ancient wood, express how technology and nature can harmoniously join forces to create beauty. Having spent thousands of years under mud and water, the Kauri ancient wood from New Zealand is a sure example of paying respect to the past.
Respecting the past leads us into preparing the future. Gamadecor by Porcelanosa wood veneer and natural wood that is sourced from sustainable forests as regulated by its Wood Chain of Custody Control system in its new washbasin Slim. Gamadecor uses very low VOC emission systems to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using ultraviolet curing or high solid content paint in their production systems.
Faucets and Shower Heads that Conserve Water
High-quality faucets and shower heads that conserve water through updated built-in hydraulic features and aerators make a considerable difference to long-term water conservation and reduction of utility costs in the bathroom.
Rubinetterie Stella is one of the faucet brands at the fair which presented a collection of taps that conserve water, with their iconic Italica Collection, created way back in the early 20th century, updated with the latest techniques that has improved its mechanical and hydraulic performance.
GROHE updated the ATRIO collection which includes modern taps that are fitted with GROHE EcoJoy™ water-saving technology. They also incorporate the GROHE water systems called RED and BLUE HOME, which provides water heated to 100 °C or filtered and chilled to optimum drinking temperature, directly from the faucet. ArchiExpo e-Magazine spoke to Kristine Skauge, head of PR and digital marketing at GROHE—awarded one of the most sustainable companies in Germany.
“Our newest ceramics lines include GROHE Bau ceramics and GROHE Cube ceramics. These include bathroom sinks in addition to toilet bowls. The most advanced technology used in our toilet bowls is GROHE PureGuard. This guard prevents the germs from spreading and growing on the ceramics and has an antibacterial effect. And in the bowl itself, the triple vortex will ensure that the bowl gets completely cleaned, with minimal use of water.”
Read this article about how GROHE is partnering with the German Sustainability Award 2017.
Wall-mounted washbasin. It can be found on ArchiExpo. Courtesy of GROHE
Anti-Microbial Toilets and Tiles
This year Duravit updated the HygieneGlaze 2.0, an improved antibacterial glaze that is now used in all of Duravit’s EPA WaterSense labeled toilets. The new HygieneGlaze 2.0 contains a new combination of various metal ions and active substances. It reacts rapidly to eliminate bacteria within 24 hours, with an unprecedented level of 99.999 percent bacteria eradicated.
As the HygieneGlaze 2.0 is baked into the ceramic, it tackles areas high in bacteria accumulation. The glaze swiftly kills E.Coli bacteria by use of the “oligodynamic reaction”—the effect of positively charged metal ions on bacteria
Read this article to learn about the new bathroom furniture series Brioso, designed by Christian Werner for Duravit.
Bathroom tiles are also becoming more hygienic with properties that clean the air, reduce water pollution and eliminate bacteria. Active Clean Air & Antibacterial Ceramic™ launched their new ceramic material that has self-cleaning properties, which decreases the use of harmful cleaning products and contributes to the reduction of water pollution.
In 6 hours, 100m2 of Active Ceramic cleans as much nitrogen oxides (air pollution) from the air as trees or shrubs with a quantity of leaves amounting to 22 m2. It has an anti-odor feature with photocatalysis properties embedded in the tiles that captures odor-producing molecules in the environment and breaks them down as well as eliminates the bacteria that come in to contact with the ceramic surface.
The Superdesign Show in Tortona completed its 7th edition, having invited some of the most influential designers to participate with the goal of generating reflection. Guest designers sought not only to highlight sustainability and eco-friendly solutions, but also the tech-design combo trend. According to Superdesign studio CEO Gisella Borioli, in an interview with ArchiExpo e-Magazine:
Technology, sustainability and design have to work together.
The big names, innovative projects, lifestyle trends and technological solutions that improve the environment and everyday life reflect this year’s manifesto Only The Best, proposed by Gisella Borioli, founder of Superstudio Più.
There’s a big mess in Milan at the moment, where visitors no longer know where to find what. Good and bad design are being mixed together. I wanted to make sure my visitors would understand that at the Superdesign show they would find nothing but good design.
In a video interview with Oki Sato, we guide you through one of the four compass points of the show: the Forms of Movement exhibition by Nendo. The application of technology and the search and use of new materials for sustainable products was direct and visible throughout the exhibition.
Forms of Movement exhibition by Nendo. Photo credit: Takumi Ota.
However, Oki Sato does not think that sustainability should be a theme, but a mindset.
We should always consider sustainability when we design or produce things. It’s another rule that we need to follow.
Forms of Movement reunites design with people while incorporating new materials which have already been used in the robotics field.
I try not to start a project by thinking about new technologies. In this exhibition we use some new materials such as a low-friction material used in the joints of robots and in the medical field, but the exhibition is all about people and objects and this movement created by people.
You can learn more about Nendo’s zipper designs here.
Smart City: Materials, Technologies & People is a month-long event which introduces materials and technological solutions for advanced building and infrastructures, connected cities, smart living, smart people, sustainable and circular cities, integrated mobility, food policies and urban agriculture. Superdesign studio CEO Gisella Borioli spoke to ArchiExpo e-Magazine about her idea of the smart city of the future:
I imagine the city of the future as a place where people live in good health because pollution has gone away; where we have vertical vegetable gardens in our houses; where we have robots that help us; where smart technology makes living in and controlling our homes easier; where the garbage is recycled to generate clean energy; where all of that includes beautiful design because we need beauty to live better.
An Elite Selection
Superstudio pushed the boundaries of contemporary living by exhibiting the “Nile Selection” in MyOwnGallery. Giulio Cappellini chose between the best proposals of Egyptian furniture to explore the theme of color through materials—wood, fabrics, lacquering. The selected products portray the braiding of tradition and modernism with art, handcrafting and graphics; all set on a base of contemporary design.
Fine woven art was included in the exhibition. Courtesy of MeisterWerke.
Superstudio’s artistic board exhibited a special selection of small innovative companies and individual iconic objects such as Barcelona Rugs, furniture and accessories from Faina, handles and jewel knobs from NJ Interiors, a wardrobe-to-playground transformable piece from Size M design studio and more.
Furniture and accessories from Faina. Courtesy of Faina.
An Italian treasure in the heart of the Brera design district, Foscarini showcased its new outdoor furniture and lamp collections. Pre-event, Foscarini President and Co-founder Carlo Urbinati and designer Marc Sadler spoke to ArchiExpo e-Magazine about the inner workings of the company. Learn how not having a factory can actually be beneficial.
Freedom is the catalyst of creativity, Carlo Urbinati believes. As president and co-founder of Foscarini, Urbinati has helped ensure the Italian lighting brand’s survival in a challenging market—where landmines such as the death of the incandescent bulb can lead to the death of a company. Founded in 1981 on the Venetian island of Murano, Foscarini now distributes in 88 countries. Urbinati told ArchiExpo e-Magazine:
When you have a factory, you have constraints. We are a company without any factory, and because of this we are totally free.
What Urbinati means is Foscarini has no in-house production. The company currently collaborates with three factories for its 60 lamp collections and works directly with more than 30 designers to both develop ideas and create technological solutions for more than 20 different materials. The factories are strictly Italian, garnering Foscarini the Made in Italy stamp.
A company without a factory can experiment,” Urbinati adds. “Though that means we have no excuses if we fail.
This try and try again philosophy is built into the Foscarini corporate manifesto, as it has to be when you are a pioneer. There are few players in the lighting field creating products that are both industrial and handmade.
Years ago, when we decided to settle on this concept of manufacturing with all these composites—fiberglass, carbon fibre and Kevlar synthetic fiber—,” says designer Marc Sadler, “we had to do prototypes and prototypes and prototypes to take away all the non-necessary [parts].
An avid sportsman, Sadler conceived Foscarini’s highly successful coated-fiberglass composite Twiggy lamp while thinking about the flexibility of a fishing rod. He continues to be a key player in many of Foscarini’s experiments, addressing form, material composition and the cheapest production methods.
The Twice as Twiggy pendant light by Marc Sadler. Photo courtesy of Foscarini.
“I would call him our source of inspiration,” says Urbinati.
“Foscarini is really my baby,” admits Sadler.
Taking each product from design to production can take years—Twiggy took three. With its slender, flexible fishing-rod-like curve, the lamp was much too expensive at first. However something is impossible…until it isn’t. As Sadler recalls, workers struggling with initial very expensive, faulty molds said in frustration: “Why don’t you just make Twiggy straight?”
My idea, of course, was to make it curved,” Sadler laughs. “Originally, it was a nice piece for me and you, but not a piece for production….every product, every product family has a little story behind it.
With the advancement of Twiggy continuing with its larger cousin, Twice as Twiggy, the challenges continued. When creating a four-meter-high outdoor version, wind was a factor.
“We had to start from scratch because it was very heavy,” says Sadler.
We tested it with strong winds, and had to build a spring system on the bottom which allows the cane to turn and accept the wind. It flexes with the wind and then, when the wind passes, it goes back to its original position.
Dancing a delicate ballet in the wind, Twice as Twiggy proves once again that sometimes a little freedom is all you need.