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.

Tokyo- and Milan, Italy-based Nendo studio—whose name means "modeling clay" in Japanese—and its reining genius, designer Oki Sato, have turned Milan’s Museo della Permanente into a pristine white shrine loaded with their signature exercises in understatement. Among them is the Fragment screen, which was originally conceived for manufacturer Glas Italia. Shimmering with patterned, vapor-deposited mini-mirrors set at 90-degree angles, it is perhaps the most beguiling. It’s a bit more sparkly than Nendo’s typical offerings but its effect is extraordinary, with angled planes reflecting the rest of the room with the sole and uncanny exception of the viewer.  

Ian Volner/Nendo

London architects and brothers Joni and David Steiner originally developed their Edie Stool (named for the pair’s niece) in response to a call from design group OpenDesk inviting students and practicing designers to develop simple, open-source digital furniture designs. “The students won,” notes the Steins’ collaborator Scarlett San Marín, who was on hand to show off the results at an exhibition at Milan’s Palazzo Clerici. Edie comes flat-packed in a CNC-cut wood block. Users need only pop out the parts and fit them together like Lincoln Logs. So easy a child could do it.

Ian Volner


There’s been a lot of talk in the design media of late about a PoMo revival—the resurgent interest in the work of Memphis, the late Italian architect Ettore Sottsass, and the garish, kitschy–ironic design of the 1980s. With so many young designers revisiting the period, it was nice to run into the real thing at the Residenze Litta, part of the Fuorisalone offerings. Italian architect Aldo Cibic was a founding partner of the Memphis Group and an associate of Sottsass for years. His new Paesaggio Italiano, created as part of the De Gustibus collection on the occasion of the food-inspired Milan Expo 2015, recreates an Italian landscape in bone china complete with a smoke-stack flower pot and salt-and-pepper-shaker houses.

Ian Volner


Ever since it paired with furniture giant Poltrona Frau in 2004, Cappellini has felt a little like the Company that Ate Design: its guiding light, Italian architect Giulio Cappellini, has always had an adventurous taste for emerging practitioners, and with Poltrona Frau behind him he’s been able to expand his purview tremendously, working with pretty much whomever he pleases. And when it works, it works. One of the company’s latest collaborations is with 37-year-old Matthew Zorzenoni, a Treviso, Italy–born dynamo whose newly-released Frac armchair is front and center in Cappellini’s Salone booth. The plastic piece can be used for indoor and outdoor seating.

Ian Volner