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.
Among Salone’s many constituent elements and moving parts is Euroluce, a biennial lighting fair on the show’s main fairgrounds in suburban Rho. There were a number of standouts this year, but none rivaled Supernova—a 5,000-pound, hand-blown glass chandelier created by designer Petra Krausova for Lasvit—in sheer crowd-pleasing spectacle. Extraordinary in size, the fixture flares and deflates in slow waves like an iridescent jellyfish. And guiding these undulations are the very crowds that surround it: floor-mounted sensors detect visitors’ movements as they gleefully wave their arms like orchestra conductors beneath the massive glass form.
Another of Salone’s sub-fairs is SaloneUfficio, similarly taking place in odd-number years and in this case filling up a couple of Salone’s far pavilions with chairs, desks, and other office furniture. This part of the show can seem to be more work than play, but one architecture collaboration appeared to be determined to mix things up: the redoubtable Jean Nouvel, Hon. FAIA, displayed his 2013 Cases, a line of movable shelving for Italian office furniture maker UniFor. The system, Nouvel says, “calls out to be played with,” as its modular units can be easily detached and reassembled to allow for a constantly shifting interior landscape.
Love it. Hate it. You’re sure to know it. This year’s Salone marks the quarter-centenary of the design world’s tortured love affair with Philippe Starck’s Juicy Salif, or as it says on the invitation to a party being held in its honor during Salone: “25 years without squeezing a lemon.” Starck’s, shall we say, casual relationship with functionality came into full blossom with his key Alessi kitchenware commission. The company is now reissuing the device in a form that stresses its status as a true objet d’art: a limited edition of 299 cast bronze Salifs.
Do you like the idea of hunting trophies but don’t want to kill anything, own a gun, or alienate your vegetarian friends? You’re in luck. The Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, in the Netherlands, is one of the exhibitors in a warren of shows taking place this week in Milan’s Ventura Lambrate district with a focus on student work from Northern Europe. Among the contributions to the Maastricht component is designer Fabian von Spreckelsen’s Trophy series, which includes elephants, rhinos, giraffes, and antelopes, each fabricated entirely from weathered steel. The designer used the approach to give what he calls “a perishable look” to the pieces, though these trophies will never rot away slowly while staring at you in silent reproach with their dead, dead eyes.
“We were doing a building project,” explains Line Frier, a founding partner at Frier Architecture in Denmark, “and we wanted some coffee tables but we couldn’t find anything we liked.” What to do? For Frier and her collaborator-sister, Marie, the answer was simple: make their own. The pair is having their first-ever outing at Salone Satellite, the emerging-designer wing of the fair, and their contribution, the Antelope Tables, came about after the pair surreptitiously suggested them to the project’s client, a cancer-treatment center, without naming their designer. In Milan, the sisters are letting their Antelopes graze in a lush installation that recalls the theme of the forthcoming 2015 Milan Expo: “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.”