Spazio Rossana Orlandi is always a highlight of Milan Design Week and this year it was no exception. It was perhaps more commercial than in previous years, but there was still plenty of interesting design to discover. The eponymous gallerist is known for discovering and championing new designers, and for continuing to support them throughout their careers, so there were still recent graduates and more established designers showing their wares alongside the bigger brands.
Teruhiro Yanagihara and Stefan Scholten were on hand to introduce 2016/, a project that paired 16 international designers with 10 potteries in Arita – the home of Japanese pottery. The designers, including Scholten & Baijings, Tomás Alonso, and TAF, visited the potteries over a period of two years to gain an understanding of the resources and skills, and then each developed a product or collection with the aim of reviving production of Aritaware and preserving the skills of the local craftspeople.
Thomas Eyck has published a book documenting Christien Meindertsma’s investigation into “bottom ash” – the waste left when waste is incinerated. From a 25kg sample, she found concrete, carbon steel, ceramics, aluminium, stainless steel, brass, lead, copper, silver – and in fact this is a more efficient method of sourcing copper than mining it. Even the book is made from elements she found in the bottom ash.
There was a playful theme running throughout this year’s design festivities and at Spazio Rossana Orlandi, this was epitomized by Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba’s Monkey Lamp for Seletti, perched on top of the Gorilla Su Cattedra statue in the main courtyard.
The star of the show was Slovenian designer Nika Zupanc – the newest additions to her collection for design label Sé included an oversized grey curvy armchair perched on skinny legs, a set of three overlapping circular mirrors, and updates to existing products.
Carmine Deganello has developed a new thermoplastic resin, in collaboration with Antonio Luchinelli, made from waste marble dust and natural tree resin. It can be reworked as many times as necessary and contains no toxic chemicals. He commissioned several designers to make objects using the new material to demonstrate its capabilities – the one above is by Sander Wassink…
…and this one is by Dutch designer Jeroen Wand.
Luca Nichetto presented the Nichetto Study in collaboration with NCS Color and De La Espada, showing the various stages of his design process through colors, mood boards, images, and furniture. “Furniture and color are not considered separately, but rather as two integral parts of a single project,” he said.
Simultaneously irresistible and yet equally repellent, Moon Jelly is a collection of vessels by young designer Eva Walkuski made from silicone stretched over glass. “Moon-Jelly fulfills primal desires through coy and gentle engagements,” said the designer.
Sunbrella was showing a range of work by different designers to showcase their outdoor fabrics, including a colorful take on Eindhoven-based design studio BCXSY’s side tables, originally made of wood in collaboration with traditional Irish boat builders in 2012.
One of the highlights was Marble Ways by Eleonora Dal Farra & Andrea Forti for Alcarol. The tabletop is made by pouring resin over discarded cutting blocks from marble quarries, a process which traps the marble dust in place and colors each one differently.
Jan Plechac & Henry Weiglas are the latest design stars to come out of the Czech Republic. The Balance of Beauty is a half-sphere with a mirror on the flat surface, weighted with sand. “The simplicity of the Balance of Beauty collection provides the reflection of beauty with a solid point,” said the designers. “Like an hourglass, the inner part of a symmetric hemisphere is loaded with sand whose rolling motion enables the mirrors to be set to the right angle. The mirror is constructed in such a way that it needs no base and the hemisphere only touches the base at one point which looks incredibly elegant and airy.”