We’re scouting the latest products, concepts, and more at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile and related design events in Milan, Italy, this week. Stay tuned.
Three things that seem ubiquitous around Milan this week—the 1960s, Lee Broom, and shoe fashion—came together at a pop-up storefront for footwear impresarios Clarks in the city’s Brera district. As part of a series of designer collaborations with the company, Lee Broom has created the Mods and Rockers stool (shown), a counterpart to a one-off pair of boots also included in the exhibition. Looking back to the Decade of Groovy, Lee Broom tapped the notorious rivalry between Britain’s Mod and Rocker youth subcultures, the former known for elegant wingtips and the latter for rough workboots. “It’s sort of like making peace between the two,” explains the show’s curator, Filippo Tattoni-Marcozzi. Both the stool and the shoe combine finely worked leather with a mean-looking belt buckle to create a synthesis of splash and slash.
“When you take people outside [of] their comfort zone, they create things beyond what they knew was possible,” says Erbil Tezcan, founder of Cedar Grove, N.J.–based rug-makers Wool & Silk. Working with French designer Christophe Pillet, Tezcan created this wildly irregular abstract rug pattern for the AfghanMade exhibition of contemporary designer textiles manufactured in Afghanistan. The country’s weaving traditions stretch back millennia, and were little changed into the 21st century. In recent years, Tezcan and others have introduced new techniques, patterns, and ideas without—as the untitled Pillet piece aptly demonstrates—compromising the quality of the final product.
Tjep—he goes by one name—is a Dutch designer whose dapper, unassuming air hardly prepares one for the rugged grandeur of his work. His Bronze Age chaise lounge, on view at the Spazio Rossana Orlandi in Milan’s Magenta neighborhood, is a rough-hewn wedge of cast bronze, like somebody took Le Corbusier’s LC4 chaise, dipped it into a smoldering forge and then let a gang of ornery cave men bash at it for a while. But there is some 21st-century thinking behind it, Tjep says. “Bronze is one of the most sustainable materials because no one ever throws it away, they just recycle it,” he points out. “There are probably bits of some medieval swords in there or something.” We’d like to think so.
Footwear is a bit of an odd departure point for a bar stool, but that’s where French designer Pierre Gonalons got his inspiration for this Brutalism-infused piece, created in collaboration with leather specialists J.M. Weston for the Handmade exhibition at Fuori Salone. The manufacturer has been a style icon for decades. In the 1960s, a group of Parisian hipsters was known to have paraded down the Champs-Élysées naked save for a pair of the company’s stylish men’s shoes. As Gonalons explains his contemporary piece, “I wanted to evoke a film scenario, a first rendezvous at a cocktail hour in the 1970s, wearing a pair of J.M. Westons.”