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Fuorisalone Awards 2024: Interaction, Sustainability, and Technology

Fuorisalone Awards 2024: Interaction, Sustainability, and Technology
EARTHIC LAB x FORMATANTASMA. Courtesy of Cosentino.

From AI-driven reflections on societal biases to ZEGNA’s environmental stewardship and the launch of EARTHIC by SilestoneXM, we’re witnessing the intersection of creativity and sustainability shaping the future of design.

During Milan Design Week, the Fuorisalone Award stands returned for its third edition, honoring the most remarkable contents and installations showcased during the week-long extravaganza. Originally launched as the Milano Design Award in 2018 by Elita and Fuorisalone.it, the competition continues its journey of discovery and distinction.

The Fuorisalone Award is an authoritative project celebrating the creativity and ingenuity of Italian and international designers and companies. Its mission is twofold: to showcase the most distinctive installations in Milan and to highlight projects, activities, and initiatives of interest to the international design community through Special Mentions.

Online votes by visitors determined the most unforgettable installation. Fifteen projects were vying for the public’s votes, showcased on a dedicated section of the Fuorisalone.it platform, where visitors could delve deeper into each installation through comprehensive event profiles featuring content and photos. The voting process concluded on Saturday, April 20th.

Meanwhile, Special Mentions, bestowed by a technical committee comprising industry professionals, champion projects and events that embody specific criteria and design characteristics. The selected projects competed for the coveted Special Mentions across four categories: Interaction, Sustainability, Technology, and Communication—each representing pivotal aspects driving the evolution of design. We’ve decided to highlight three winning installations in the categories of interaction, sustainability, and technology.

Data Bugs by Dotdotdot—AI, a Mirror

Within the Fuorisalone Award 2024, the “Interaction” category exemplifies projects that masterfully engage audiences, offering immersive experiences that stimulate the senses and provoke active participation. Dotdotdot‘s installation, “Data Bugs – AI is a mirror,” emerged as the epitome of this theme, captivating visitors with its exploration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its societal implications. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Dotdotdot transformed its space on via Tertulliano into an emotional journey, unveiling the inner workings of neural networks and demystifying the omnipotence often attributed to AI. Through interactive engagement, the installation prompted deep reflection on the social impacts of data representation, emphasizing the importance of accurate portrayal and the risks posed by data polarization in perpetuating biases and stereotypes.

Dotdotdot’s project, born from years of experimentation with AI, epitomizes its commitment to pushing the boundaries of Interaction Design. By delving into Explainable AI (XAI), the team offered visitors a poignant experience, visualizing the decision-making processes of machine learning models and shedding light on their societal implications. Through a surreal narrative set in a universe populated by insects, Dotdotdot challenged visitors to explore the interconnectedness of representation and simplification, urging a deeper understanding of our responsibilities in shaping the future of AI and its impact on society.

DataBugs by Dotdotdot. @piercarloquecchia @dsl__studio

Interacting with Narratives Through the Forest with ZEGNA

In the realm of sustainability, an immersive installation showcased ZEGNA‘s unwavering commitment to community and environmental stewardship. Occupying the brand’s showroom of luxury clothing and footwear, the installation offered visitors an experience of Oasi Zegna, the company’s testament to sustainable practices and community engagement. Through a harmonious blend of art and nature, attendees embarked on a journey through the vegetation of a forest, interacting with narratives and visuals that brought the pages of the new book, “Born in Oasi Zegna,” to life. The installation epitomized ZEGNA’s enduring dedication to fostering a symbiotic relationship between industry, environment, and society—a principle ingrained in the company’s ethos since its inception in 1910.

The narrative woven within “Born in Oasi Zegna” encapsulates the essence of ZEGNA’s mission, portraying a timeless tale of environmental stewardship and social responsibility. From the inception of Oasi Zegna—a sprawling natural territory spanning 100 km² in the Biella Alps—to the present day, the company’s commitment to reforestation and community development has remained steadfast. Ermenegildo Zegna’s visionary reforestation efforts a century ago have blossomed into a model of sustainability and harmony, fostering cohesion between humans, industry, and nature. As Oasi Zegna embarks on a journey beyond its borders, starting with the donation of new flowerbeds in Piazza Duomo, Milan, the project symbolizes ZEGNA’s global initiative to promote urban green spaces and advocate for the protection of biodiversity and social responsibility—a testament to the enduring legacy of Oasi Zegna as a beacon of environmental consciousness and sustainable development.

Born in Oasi, ZEGNA book installation. HQ in Milano. Courtesy of ZEGNA.
Born in Oasi, ZEGNA book installation. HQ in Milano. Courtesy of ZEGNA.

Cosentino: EARTHIC by SilestoneXM, a Capsule Collection

Cosentino, a global leader in sustainable surface production, has collaborated with renowned designers Formafantasma to present a groundbreaking installation at FuoriSalone. EARTHIC LAB by Cosentino, designed in collaboration with Formafantasma, was located within the historic Teatro Gerolamo. The installation offered a transformative narrative highlighting sustainability. Through an exploration across three floors of the Teatro, visitors gained insights into the meticulous creation of the new EARTHIC surfaces collection and the importance of sustainable design.

EARTHIC by SilestoneXM, scheduled for release in May, is a capsule collection of sustainable surfaces. SilestoneXM is a specific product line within the Silestone brand, known for its innovative and high-quality surfaces. This particular line, EARTHIC by SilestoneXM, represents a capsule collection of surfaces that prioritize sustainability as it’s manufactured with 99% recycled water and 100% certified renewable electric energy. These surfaces contain a maximum silica content of 10% and utilize a blend of premium minerals, recycled glass, PET, bio-resin, and Dekton® fragments. The aim is to reduce raw materials extraction and limit CO2 emissions. Thanks to HybriQ+® technology, these colors are produced using 100% renewable electrical energy and 99% recycled water. 

Formafantasma contributed to the EARTHIC LAB project by collaborating with Cosentino in designing the installation and the EARTHIC surfaces collection. Their involvement challenged conventional design approaches, emphasizing ethical production processes over mere aesthetics. Additionally, Formafantasma’s interview within the installation provides deeper insights into the collaboration’s significance and the remarkable sustainability enhancements achieved through the use of recycled materials.

EARTHIC LAB x FORMATANTASMA. Courtesy of Cosentino.
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