MDW16: Faith in New Design at Salone del Mobile

SaloneSatellite is always another highlight of Milan Design Week, focusing as it does on designers under the age of 35. The younger sibling to the main Salone del Mobile was established in 1998 and was described by its founders as “an act of faith” in the creative potential of new designers. Their faith seems to have paid off with 10,000 designers and 270 design schools exhibiting in the 18 years since, many of whom have gone on to become leading names in the design industry. This year’s theme “New Materials, New Design” explored new material sciences, and showcased work from young designers selected by a selection committee chaired by Marva Griffin, curator-organizer of the exhibition.


The Siz Chair is made from freeform-bent steel tubing and molded plywood, and designed by Hanna Litwin and Romin Heide, co-founders of Berlin-based design studio Büro Famos. “We combine traditional techniques with new materials and modern processes to develop contemporary products and solutions,” say the designers. “It is our aim to create lasting objects: simple in shape, pleasurable to use, serious and charming.”


These mirrors are by Woo Jiyoun of Seoul National University with geometric details providing shelves for small objects.


Vera & Kyte presented a new collection, developed especially for launch at the show, comprising the Light Trapeze, Triadic Figurines, Present Timepiece, Amie Seat, Vienna Blankets and Navigate Tiles. “The Scandinavian design tradition is perhaps most present in the simplicity in form and rational function,” say co-founders Vera Kleppe and Åshild Kyte. “However it is important to us not only to conserve the existing traditions, but also continue to develop, expand and push the boundaries of what is considered to be the Nordic design aesthetic. Through our work we have the luxury of building our own contemporary universe on top of this base.”


Una is by another pair of Norwegian designers, Domaas/Høgh. “The lamp is a result of the joy of creating new things,” they say. “It started out with the inspiration from a hot air balloon. They are always made with a lot of different colors and look so beautiful up in the sky. We adapted the playfulness in our process but also in the end result.” The glass balloon and bowl are interchangeable, enabling you to create different color effects to suit your mood.


We love this opaque Pliego Mirror by Valencia and Mexico City-based design studio La Selva – its curled up bottom edge providing a handy shelf for make-up on your way out or keys on your way in.


Silje Nesdal’s Aad platters are stained black to highlight their simple form and the grain of the wood. Available in three different sizes, they can be combined to create a stunning centerpiece, or simply used in their own right. Silje cites time spent working in Japan and the woodworking heritage of the scenic area of the Western fjords in Norway where she grew up amongst her inspirations.


Grace Souky was one of the highlights of Satellite – a design brand recently relocated to London and a really exciting discovery. Domestic Collectables is a collection of 12 items of tableware designed to work together. “The collection explores the connections created between users and everyday objects, the different ways we interact with things and how we relate to them around the ritual of food,” says Grace. “Each piece fits in more than one place and serves more than one purpose. Resulting in a fun and playful experience that seeks to engage while exploring all possible combinations.”


Tide by Berlin-based designer Anna Badur is a seascape-inspired experiment with cobalt and porcelain tableware. “By dipping porcelain pieces into the cobalt stain, various appearances of water movement are captured,” she explains.


And finally, we loved the graphic simplicity of this chair by Warsaw-based Kosmos Project – a design studio established up by Ewa Bochen and Maciej Jelski. “Our inspiration comes from observation of relationship between the civilized and the wild,” say the designers.

Katie Treggiden is a purpose-driven journalist, author and, podcaster championing a circular approach to design – because Planet Earth needs better stories. She is also the founder and director of Making Design Circular, a program and membership community for designer-makers who want to join the circular economy. With 20 years' experience in the creative industries, she regularly contributes to publications such as The Guardian, Crafts Magazine and Monocle24 – as well as being Editor at Large for Design Milk. She is currently exploring the question ‘can craft save the world?’ through an emerging body of work that includes her fifth book, Wasted: When Trash Becomes Treasure (Ludion, 2020), and a podcast, Circular with Katie Treggiden.