Just outside the ring road that delineates the centre of Milan, Ventura Lambrate (VL) takes place in an area whose industrial past has left it uniquely equipped to host the event.
As such there is a slightly heterogenous, spontaneous feeling to the arrangement both between and within venues, as smaller exhibition spaces might be easily spotted whilst entire halls require a more dedicated perusal.
Further setting the area apart from the Rho Fiera and the rest of the Fuori Salone is the mood and demographic, as a young, festive crowd is the mainstay.
In terms of the exhibits themselves, VL is the only fully curated element in Milan Design Week, with Dutch duo Margriet Vollenberg and Margot Konings exercising their extensive experience and expert eye to compile an eclectic and stimulating programme; this year the precinct accepted around 170 of the 500 applicants, from all around the world.
Margo Konings (left), Margriet Vollenberg (right). Photo by Ilco Kemmere
Perhaps the most important role that VL plays within the Design Week is that the products and designers on display are chosen on the value of their ideas as well as the quality of the finished work. While celebrity names such as Jaime Hayon
are still drawn to the precinct, it is the student exhibitions and unknown names that leave the greatest impression.
Jaime Hayon’s new designs for Light company Parachilna, Woven wicker manufacturer Expormim and Ceramics by Bosa.
This year saw technological integration into designs and the possibility for interactivity explored by a number of designers. Some of the most compelling examples were found at the Interactive Objects
stand, which explored how interactive lighting can be used to shape the aesthetic and atmospheric effect of illumination.
Tu Luz by Stephanie Brenken and Viola Kressman – each individual cube can be tilted to project light upwards or downwards.
Rising Light by Annika Ebbers and Lisa Ambach – the light membrane follows a person as they traverse the area, lighting up, lifting and opening to accompany their movement.
Maintaining the technological bent, Merel Bekking
exhibited a series of everyday objects made by using an MRI scanner as a design tool. “By using the MRI scanners, we got the answers to our questions,” Brekken comments, “Which colours, shapes and materials should a perfect product have? Or does a design process need more than these three ingredients?”
Another concept worth dwelling on was the remote manufacturing model proposed by Slow(D)
, a new web platform that offers artisans and designers an innovative way to produce and sell products locally and online.
Then there was Gis Van Bon
's 'Autonomous Theatrical Object' (below), which left a trail of famous quotes on the ground in fine white sand.
However a great deal of the enjoyment to be found while wandering around Ventura Lambrate is in the simple, playful products. And, of course, the monster arthropod lights of Ghassan Salameh (below).
Pot . Purri: modular, combinable concrete and steel containers by 3 Dots Collective
Perforated silicone planters by Birgit Severin & Zascho Petkow for Atelier Haussman.
Daniel Gonzalez - D.G. Clothes Project. Photo: Elena Girelli
Lucent Mirror - as the glass circle slides from left to right it becomes opaque and reflective. By Another Perspective
Superblown - Recycled glass bottles by Supercyclers for The Other Hemisphere