From an architecture-inspired crystal chess set to shape-shifting fashion, this year's Salone del Mobile, in Milan, showcased surprising and innovative creations. Here are a few of our favorites:

Ian Volner

Microclimate, Greg Lynn for Nike
At a materials-and-innovation show hosted by Nike, architecture’s restless experimentalist Greg Lynn exhibited a chair that senses users’ body temperature and applies heat or cold as needed—perfect for cooling off overworked athletes. nike.com

Ian Volner

Twist stool, David Rockwell for Gaia & Gino
"It's an outdoor light that's also a table, and we're gonna reinforce it a bit so it can be a stool," says Rockwell, FAIA, who is better known for his theatrical interiors (including the Oscars stage) than for his products. These illuminated wood-topped fixtures with twisted metal ribs were on display at U.S.-based furniture brand Casa International’s Salone booth. rockwellgroup.com

Ian Volner

199 10 Table, Piero Lissoni for Cassina
“Every brand is different, has its own culture,” Lissoni says. He would know. The Italian architect and designer has been omnipresent on the international design scene for decades, and had just entered Cassina’s Salone space from a panel conversation at Kartell. This 51"-diameter table, made of white Carrara marble and supported by a steel sub-structure, is his latest for the company. cassina.com

Ian Volner

Sorcier, Marta Bakowski for for La Chance
An array of laser-cut perforations in black, white, blue, and gold aluminum give these colorful sconces an air of originality. The Paris-based La Chance’s founder Jean-Baptiste Souletie explained that the designer was inspired by the masks of the Fang population of Gabon, in west Africa. lachance.fr

Ian Volner

Trama, Patricia Urquiola for Kartell
Urquiola’s collaboration with the Milanese furniture maker continues with a complete dinner service meant to echo the unglossy, textural look and feel of traditional earthenware plates and bowls. This was only one of Urquiola’s numerous Salone initiatives for 2016. At the Cassina showroom—which she helped create this year—Urquiola sounded off on everything from her furniture to sexual politics. “I think we need to have a more blended idea of gender,” she said. kartell.com

Ian Volner

Shape Shifters, Angelene Laura Fenuta
A winner at this year’s Lexus Design Awards, the Italian-born, Canada-based Fenuta created a clothing concept that borrows from architecture. “I was interested in the idea of modularity,” she said. Shape Shifters is composed of hundreds of individually hinged, synthetic composite units that allow for infinite configurations. angelene.net

Ian Volner

Shaping Color, Germans Ermiçs
“I work with color as a main subject,” says the Amsterdam-based Ermiçs, who presented an expanded line of the colored glass shelving, mirrors, and consoles that he first brought to Milan’s Spazio Rossana Orlandi gallery last year. Complex layering and printing techniques, the product of much trial and error, give the pieces their soft gradients and striking sense of depth. germansermics.com

Ian Volner

In the Secret Garden, Ini Archibong
The American-born, Switzerland-based Archibong’s capsule collection of a sofa and side tables for Salone Satellite stood out with its wild oscillations between plain materials and colorful patterns. (Who else would pair a marble tabletop with colorful glass legs?) The story behind their creation, however, is even wilder, involving a chance encounter with an American TV actor who gave Archibong a large block grant to develop his ideas. “It’s a crazy story,” he says. designbyini.com

Ian Volner

Chess set, Daniel Libeskind for Swarovski
The acclaimed crystal producer continued its long-running series of collaborations with prominent architects. Chief among them was Libeskind, AIA, whose portfolio went on display as playing pieces in this glittering chess set to help promote the launch of the Atelier Swarovski Home accessories brand. For instance, the rooks are his Century Spire in Manila, the Philippines, while the bishops are his L Tower & Sony Centre, in Toronto. swarovskigroup.com

Ian Volner

The Double Dream of Spring, Michael Anastassiades for Herman Miller
The designer’s first collaboration with the famed American furniture maker may have been the most surreal installation in Milan all week. Anastassiades transformed the Herman Miller showroom there with a gridded wall and raised floor. His brass-and-wood stools and arced, gently swinging pendants (shown above) made for an environment worthy of its name, which derives from that of an early-20th-century work by Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico. Best of all, he let visitors sit on the stools, a rarity around Salone. “We have to test them out,” he said. hermanmiller.com