#55 - milan special

Tortona Rocks 2019—Editor’s Pick

Courtesy of Tortona Rocks

Tortona Rocks has been part of Milan Design Week since 2016. Created by Milano Space Makers, an organization heavily involved in the development of the Tortona district, the exhibition presents new trends and designs from brands around the world within the neighborhood, annually attracting over 150,000 visitors. For its fourth year, we have summarized some of our favorites that were on display from April 9-14th. Enjoy!

Norwegian Presence, a project from Norway by Design and Architecture Norway (DOGA), Klubben (Norwegian Designers Union) and Norwegian Crafts presented the latest design trends in the country, focusing on sustainability and community. The idea was to present the shared desire for sustainability through the collaboration of different industries, and the exhibit included objects and prototypes from 21 different designers and artists, as well as 7 different furniture manufacturers. The material used for the exhibit itself was all environmentally-friendly and reusable.

Norweigan Presence 2019

Courtesy of Norweigan Presence 2019

Asia Design Milano focused on presenting the Israeli design collective in a way that transcended political boundaries and highlighted the country’s creativity. The exhibition came out of a partnership between Sarpi Bridge_Oriental Design Week and Milano Space Makers, and it aimed to promote the launch of Milano Asia Design (MAD), a brand that distributes Asian designs in Italy as well as Italian designs in Asia.

Do you art me by Chana Hauser. Asia Design Milan at Tortona Rocks 2019. Photography – Sasha Flit, Ilan Amihai.

Belgium is Design focused on sustainability with their exhibit Generous Nature. The goal was to demonstrate that for Belgian designers, Milan Design Week isn’t just about innovation in terms of design and aesthetics, it is also an opportunity to demonstrate a commitment to sustainable development, especially in terms of industrial production. The backdrop used for the exhibit was made in Belgium from reusable materials, and was packed up again after Tortona Rocks for the exhibit’s next display in the Ghent Design Museum.

Greenmood by Alain Gilles, presented at the Belgium is Design exhibition.

Greenmood by Alain Gilles, presented at the Belgium is Design exhibition.

The Playful Living Italian exhibit showed an apartment designed for the contemporary family. With 150 square meters of floor space, it was full of materials, objects, lights and furniture designed to make life between children and adults a game. The needs and lifestyle of contemporary families were addressed in the exhibit through talks, workshops and round tables.

The Playful Living Italian exhibit

The Playful Living Italian exhibit

Swedish electric performance car brand, Polestar, presented installations called “Into the Light” which included two mobility structures reinterpreted in partnership with Swedish audio and visual experts, Teenage Engineering. With these interactive installations, they highlighted the progress of the transition towards electric vehicles.

Courtesy of Polestar

Courtesy of Polestar

French sculptor and designer Leila Habiche presented “Equanimity” in an installation specifically prepared for the design week which will precede the product reveal set for Autumn 2019. Equanimity is an armchair that acts using a combination of different stimuli to positively impact the psycho-physical health of the person sitting in it, and is the result of seven years’ of research. Habiche’s workshop in the Tortona district was transformed to give visitors the experience of the creation of Equanimity through a multisensorial walk focusing on the sculptor’s life. At the end of the walk visitor’s got the chance to try out some of the armchair’s features, including a zero gravity mode designed to encourage a sense of peace. 

Four of Japan’s big brands—+d, Soil, hmny and CORGA—collaborated on their Pop-up Store exhibit for Torona Rocks. They presented over a hundred quality products illustrating Japanese design creativity. +d offered a range of products, such as their “Kaze guru ma Sakura” pinwheel and “Sp!n” top, the aim of their items always being to bring joy to the customers who interact with them. Soil provided products made out of diatomaceous earth using a plasterwork technique, while hmny and CORGA remained true to tradition with their artisanal leather goods made in the Kagawa prefecture.

About the Author

Monica Hutchings is a Canadian writer and translator from Toronto who has worked on everything from technical descriptions to academic journals. She is our in-house copy editor.

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