Built in the 15th century, the wisteria-covered Casa degli Atellani played host to Leonardo da Vinci while he painted The Last Supper at the nearby Dominican convent, and once held parties that were the envy of the city. For Milan Design Week, it was the starting point for a series of designer-led city tours, inspired by Airbnb’s new Trips platform, as well as the location for showcasing the work and personal collections of contemporary designers, curated by Martina Mondadori Sartogo for the brand.
Artist and sculptor Halima Cassell hand-carved this series of geometric bowls from fired clay, inspired by Islamic architecture. “I create dynamic tension in my work by playfully manipulating the planes and facets of the patterns against each other,” she says. The piece above, part of her Small Ceramic Sculptures collection, is entitled Vaulted Keep – a place for storing tiny treasures.
German-born UK-based artist Heike Brachlow discovered glassblowing while she was in New Zealand and has made it a central part of her practice ever since. The collection shown at Casa degli Atellani was made from colorful cast glass forms fused together to create striking sculptures.
The most moving part of the installation was part of a table laid out with objects that have informed and inspired the work of Italian design duo Formafantasma – Moulding Tradition was actually their graduate project from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2009. It was a tribute to refugees lost and presumed killed at sea in an attempt to reach safer shores, created in the Sicilian ceramic tradition of Teste di Moro.
Jim Shepherd’s interlocking geometric wooden forms were handmade as part of his explorations of material, pattern, color and form. These and other pieces were nestled into the book shelves of the Milanese family home.
These 3D printed sculptures by Michael Eden are made from high quality nylon coated with a soft mineral coating. Describing himself as “a member of a unique generation that has bridged the digital divide,” and with a background as a potter, Eden conducted an MPhil research project at London’s Royal College of Art to enable him to fuse digital technology and his existing craft skills.
Studio Wieki Somers is a collaboration between late 1990s Design Academy Eindhoven graduates Wieki Somers and Dylan van der Berg. For Passegiata, they filled an ornamental side board (above and below) with curiosities collected throughout their careers that now provide inspiration for their work.
Found objects, maquettes and prototypes sat alongside images by photographer Elspeth Diederix who collaborated with the pair to interpret their research themes.
Perhaps the most idiosyncratic and personal offering was British designer Faye Toogood’s collection of rocks. Over her career she has amassed a large materials library to inform her work, of which these rocks form part.
Artfully arranged on a glass-topped cabinet filled of antique books belonging to the home owners, Sam Baron’s cutlery has been collected from many countries over many years and provides a walk through the almost unlimited possibilities in materials and techniques that have been employed in solving a single design problem.
And finally, in a sun-drenched window, Italian architect Matteo Thun, shared a series of his watercolors inspired by travels abroad, alongside all the accoutrements involved in their creation. The installation perfectly captured a moment of creativity in the heart of Milan.