Milan isn’t just about the latest products, but the latest ideas, too. Live from on the ground at this year’s fair, we bring you the best creative installations that have something to say.
7 April, 2017
Almost every year since 2000, the Superdesign Show has been the number one ‘must-see’ for Tortona district visitors. It’s collection of epic design and creative talent focused on research, freedom of choice, contaminations between classic and avant-garde, industry and craftsmanship, tradition and future, simplicity and magnificence, being aware that everything has been done by now, that rules and boundaries are out-dated.
One of the coolest examples this year is the stellar creative collaboration between 3M Design and Studio Patricia Urquiola, which sparks sentimental inspiration in an installation featured at the Materials Village on the Central Plaza of SuperStudio, illustrating the importance of preserving memories in to the future through the union of architecture, design and the magic of materials.
The coolest of the cool, Italian creatives Stone Island present the second instalment of their groundbreaking Prototype Research Series under the Tortona Design Week cabal at this year’s Salone.
The series creates numbered garments made in fabrics and with treatments born from research and experimentation processes that have not yet been industrialized, where Series_01 for example was an incredible laser-etched reflective jacket. Series_02 applies Stone Island’s signature garment dye process to Dyneema®, the strongest and most durable lightweight fiber in the world. The interactive exhibition is complete with mirrored floors and monitor ceilings and displays 50 different shades of the jacket in a rainbow of colour. It is so ‘next’ and we are completely blown away by it.
Laura Baldassari and Alberto Biagetti – together Atelier Biagetti – continue their analysis of contemporary society’s greatest obsessions with another immersive, experiential design project, the third of the so-called Biagetti saga, curated by Maria Cristina Didero. If in 2015 Body Building examined power and beauty through the seemingly skin-deep subject of the human body and NO SEX (2016) addressed human psychology through the first basic element – sex, then the title of the 2017 project is a logical progression: GOD.
G – O – D.
Although insignificant on their own, together these three letters make up one of the most powerful words ever written, a word heavily laden with meaning and preconceptions. But the GOD interpreted by Baldassari and Biagetti does not aim to fuel a theological debate, it rather investigates something that in today’s society is (or seems to be) all-consuming and all-powerful; something that is at the root of all our rules and aspirations and thus governs the way we live our lives — that something is money and with it the ever more abstract idea of value whether moral, actual or virtual.
The environment they have created is a place where the rites and rituals associated with money and the value attributed to it are carried out on every level. On entering this installation the visitor will be engulfed by the apparent omnipotence of money and will not watch but will experience the sensations and emotions that it evokes: awe, yearning, hope, euphoria.
This particular exhibit has been hugely popular across fair-goers on Instagram this week. Deployed within the vaulted spaces of Milan Centrale – the FuoriSalone’s newest district in the city centre – Salviati’s Decode/Recode installation by Luca Nichetto and Ben Gorham invites visitors into an immersive experience amongst a series of unique mouth-blown glass objects specifically designed and crafted for the event.
A play of light and materials characterises the Strata hall, where compositions of glass layers stand between walls of translucent textile. The Pyrae hall hosts a crowd of figures, a multitude of lighting objects made of stacked glass elements and showcased on a fifty-three podium array. But Decode/Recode is definitely a contender for best installation this year, not just within the Pyrae halls but across the entire fair. And it ain’t hard to see why…
Is this project total click-bait, or what?! Le Refuge is a killer installation from designer Marc Ange, being exhibited for the first time in Milan by The Invisible Collection.
Unveiled in the garden of the Mediateca di San Teresa in the heart of Milan, Le Refuge is “a place where you find peace and comfort. It is the projection of a childhood memory. The large leaves form a sanctuary beneath the sun, away from reality, just like the imaginary jungle that grows in the room of the child wants to escape the fallacies of everyday life,” says Ange. And we are obsessed.
Designer Maarten Baas has a long history of causing sensation during the Salone del Mobile. It is not just the designs by his hand like Smoke or Clay that create quite a stir – the Dutch designer is in the habit of using big performances to show his work. This theatrical approach is a quintessential part of what has become known as the Maarten Baas Milan circus.
This year, Baas in collaboration with German design house Lensvelt, launches his new 101 Chair through his “May I Have Your Attention, Please?” installation. According to Baas, attention is currency. “We share our opinions, like, shout, advise and compliment each other. Every year at the Salone del Mobile we witness this cry for attention. Large corporations with spectacular presentations, young designers with renewed ideas. See me, hear me, look at my work! But just like opinions, each chair is unique. This was my inspiration to shamelessly use the title “May I Have Your Attention Please?”.” This installation, which is also part of his solo exhibition in the Groninger Museum, features dozens of whispering horns that come together as a whole.
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