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MDW: Dancing Robots by Moooi x IDEO and Four Interior Moods

MDW: Dancing Robots by Moooi x IDEO and Four Interior Moods
Piro home fragrance robots. IDEO x MOOOI. Courtesy of the brands.

Visitors walked through a circular electronic portal before entering the Moooi showroom, the first space of which revealed a tabletop with six robots that perform a choreographed dance routine.

June 7-12, 2022—Milan Design Week is a time to show innovative projects, a time to test technological abilities and exhibit a brand’s latest products. The Dutch lifestyle brand Moooi has been collaborating with US-based global design and innovation company IDEO for many years, and the multi-sensory exhibition which took place online and live in Milan combined design, lifestyle and technology with a special appearance from the dancing robot Piro. 

Moooi’s “A Life Extraordinary” exhibition was in Salone dei Tessuti at Via S. Gregorio, 29. While the central point of the exhibition included four interior moods in which new products and art pieces could be enjoyed with easy online access to the lifestyles via a QR code, an incredible sensorial layer awaited visitors right from the starting point: a large Portal in the shape of an O stood at the entrance and a collection of the Piro was on display in the first room.

The Portal in Milan. Photo by ArchiExpo e-Magazine.

In the courtyard outside the exhibition space, visitors could walk through the Portal in the shape of a large bright O, accompanied by a digital doorway fashioned after the physical one in Milan that uses Augmented Reality to transport visitors to the world of Moooi. Inside the exhibition space, the first room revealed a large table in the center on which several Piros of different colors took the stage with a choreographed dance routine. Known for having designed the first manufacturable mouse for Apple, IDEO is a legendary firm with whom Moooi collaborated to develop the Piro.

The Piro is a dancing scent diffuser that makes Moooi’s interior moods come alive through scent and interaction. In fact, during the dance routine, visitors could watch the robots integrate the use of light, mist, scent and sound into the routine. 

“We’ve always been about the senses at Moooi but in 2017, we became about multi-sensorial and ultra-sensorial,” Moooi CEO Robin Bevers said in an interview with ArchiExpo e-Magazine, confirming how this particular collaboration with IDEO ‘makes sense”.

The impressive Piro and its performance were originally scheduled for the MDW 2020, but the production of the robot was shelved following the cancellation of the event. Nine months prior to the current event, Moooi and IDEO picked up the project and began working through the technological kinks. 

Piro rendering. Courtesy of Moooi x IDEO.

“The most challenging part of engineering the Piro was how the robot diffused the mist. At first, the release of the mist lasted too long. There was mist left over after the robots sent the shots, and we needed it to go away faster,” Nikolay Vladimirov, Design Lead of IDEO, responsible for Piro, said during an interview with ArchiExpo e-Magazine.

While Piro is not yet on the market, the collaborators remain hopeful that one day the friendly dancing robot will be available. They envision Piro in the hotel industry or the average home, readily waiting and willing to perform to an audience, to create an emotional experience. 

“We always play the advocate of the end-user,” Clark Scheffy, Partner and Managing Director of IDEO, said in an interview with ArchiExpo e-Magazine. “We shouldn’t use technology just because we can. Instead, we want to humanize it.”

Very short GIF by ArchiExpo e-Magazine of the robots in mid-dance routine. The collaborators are working on a top-notch video. Stay tuned.

The team at IDEO reflected on how they could bring technology into the luxury world where Moooi has a refined seat. Clark described Moooi as having a particular flavor of luxury with a dash of playfulness and humor. After pitching 20 different ideas for the project, Moooi chose the most difficult: Piro. Having succeeded in finding solutions to counter the challenges, the final product shines. In fact, the many visitors at the Moooi exhibition

“People were smiling; some clapped while a few people were even shedding tears,” Thomas Overthun, Executive Design Director of IDEO, said during the interview. “The [choreographed dance routine] starts out quite predictable, like something you might have seen before, but when the robots start really dancing, people feel it differently.”

Four Interior Moods: Beauty Blooms, Defy Gravity, Paper Play and Divine Dreams

Moooi released the first three interior moods last year, but a large turnout of visitors enjoyed stepping through the portal to be surrounded by the pink-hued landscape of Beauty Blooms; submerged in the deep waters of Defy Gravity; or between the colorful folds of Paper Play. The interior moods revolve around a new product design. Beauty Blooms revolves around the Hortensia Armchair by Andrés Reisinger and Júlia Esqúe. The Gravity Chandelier by Paul Cocksedge is the centerpiece of Defy Gravity. Paper Play revolves around Plié Plissé by Lukas Bazle.

Beauty Blooms. Courtesy of Moooi.
Paper Play. Courtesy of Moooi.

The brand’s new interior mood is called Divine Dreams by Milanese designer Cristina Celestino. The collection includes the Serpentine Light by FRONT, Sand Carpet Tide by Sjoerd Vroonland for Moooi Carpets in Morning Dunes, the Golden Tiger Wallcovering by Moooi for Moooi Wallcovering in Ebony, NR2 by Bertjan Pot in white, the Golden Chair by Nika Zupanc, the Momento Moooi Medley Dawn Round Carpet, the Aldora Sofa by Cristina Celestino upholstered in Palette in color Sage, the Container Table Classic by Marcel Wanders Studio in white with Oak table top in traffic white. 

Defy Gravity. Courtesy of Moooi.
Divine Dreams. Courtesy of Moooi.

The designs in the interior moods are complemented by Moooi Original designs, room fragrances, carpets and wall coverings. Moooi invited Stockholm-based artist Ada Sokół to further deepen their digital and technological approach. Given access to Moooi’s imaginative Extinct Animals, Sokół expertly created digital worlds in which the Mimic Moth, Queen Cobra and Golden Tiger can flourish. Basking in their digital but natural habitat, the Extinct Animals not only come alive, but play with every onlooker in Milan and online. 

Moooi, “A Life Extraordinary” Envisioned by LG OLED 

The two brands, operating in different industries, have a common denominator in serving creative communities through extraordinary design. LG works with artists and museums worldwide and widened this focus on collaborating with Moooi, a creative brand that invests in technology. LG is embarking on a path with technological products that elevate the world of interior design and lifestyle. With Moooi’s focus on the digital landscape and technology, collaborating with an international tech company like LG makes sense. Their mutual endeavor in combining lifestyle design and technological advancements truly brings the multisensorial aspect of A Life Extraordinary to new heights. 

LG enhances the digital vision of Moooi with their to-be-released TV products of the LG OLED Objet Collection; Easel (65Art90) and Posé (LX1). The LG Easel will be shown for the first time in Europe. The LG Posé will have its worldwide debut in Milan. LG’s showcased lifestyle OLED TV models differ from conventional TVs because of their unique form factors and finishes that represent an exciting new direction for television. Moooi envisions A Life Extraordinary with other LG products in their exhibition, such as the ‘LG Curved OLED Signage’ screens, award-winning audio systems LG sound bar Eclair and XBOOM 360 speaker, and much more.