Milan Design Week 2018 highlights

Whilst Salone del Mobile attracted huge crowds to its 28 halls at Fiera some 10 kilometres from the city’s centre, the more thought-provoking exhibitions occurred throughout the inner districts of Milan.

In Tortona, the Super Studio exhibition displayed several large-scale responses to dealing with air and water quality from major corporations. The strikingly elegant concept – Breath/ng, a collaboration by Kengo Kuma and Associates and Dassault Systèmes was a standout. Tokyo-based KKAA combined traditional origami techniques with The Breath, a fabric by Amenotech containing nano-molecule activated core to create a six metre high spectacular spiralling installation. The structure in the exhibit consisted of 175-square-metres of fabric and could absorb VOC pollution from 90 000 cars per annum.

Further along Via Tortona, MINI transformed two warehouses to create MINI LIVING – BUILT BY ALL,  a collaboration with Studiomama to showcase shared living spaces with design input from inhabitants. It was both an immersive and interactive exhibition. In warehouse 1, visitors were provided the opportunity to use the building components employed by Studiomama to create their own scaled concepts of a community living space. It was a dynamic and buzzing zone as people of all ages and backgrounds responded to the brief. Warehouse 2 is a beautifully executed installation by Nina Tolstrup of Studiomama and Oke Hauser, MINI design director. Four concept dwellings were situated alongside a communal kitchen, garden and open-air cinema. This elegant project generated a great deal of interest, exhibiting what is possible for collaborative, inner urban community living.

The third edition of LOCAL MILAN showcased 26 Australian designers at the top of their game. Emma Elizabeth curated the exhibition in a second storey apartment in the 5Vie district. See LOCAL DESIGN No. 3 for more.

In nearby Via Matteo Bandello, crowds gathered in the wonderful gallery of Rossana Orlandi. In a serene garden setting Alexander Lotersztain of Derlot presented his 100 per cent recycled furniture amongst others around the theme of ‘Make Plastic Guiltless’.

In the Brera district, two examples of usage of recycled materials were demonstrated at No. 1 Via Palermo. Kvadrat displayed many products reusing material destined for landfill as part of the Circular by design process. In an adjacent studio, Forbo illustrated the re-use of waste material in their Marmoleum range, plus it revealed a preview of the soon-to-be-launched Flotex by Philippe Starck.

In the spirit of the circular economy, Containerwerk demonstrated their work by positioning a series of used shipping containers to create a delicately balanced building. The fit-out was well considered and the construction delivered an impressive living space.

A further highlight that resonated was the exhibition of the work of Lina Bo Bardi at Nilufar Depot. This extraordinary architect was born in Milan and worked there and then in Sao Paulo in the mid 1900s. Her architecture and timeless furniture design draw on quintessential environmental themes.

From beautifully crafted products; to big-picture conceptual responses; to the challenges facing congested urban communities – Milan Design Week delivers on so many levels.

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