Mr. Gilad’s Neighborhood
A series of Interni-sponsored installations by boldface architects and designers from Zaha Hadid, FAIA, and Ingo Maurer to Michele de Lucchi and Richard Meier, AIA, crowded the courtyards of the 15th-century campus of the University of Milan. Ron Gilad’s cul de sac of fragmentary houses rendered in incomplete, slender steel outlines, and titled “The Neighborhood,” should have been given its own courtyard: Gilad had scaled up a particularly fine sculptural and personal project in which he recently depicted the homes of 20 friends in ghostly brass “line drawings” that isolated and abstracted a section of each structure. Increased in scale by five times at the center of the Cortile d’Onore, they stripped “home” down to an abstracted dormer, a smoking chimney, a floating stairwell. The Tel Aviv, Israel–born, New York–based designer has upended the architectural details of home previously through rescaling, displacement, and abstraction (a door suspended from the ceiling becomes a chandelier, etc.), but at this human scale, the forms recall the city of Tamara from Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, a place wholly obscured beneath a “thick coating of signs.” From his “Neighborhood,” Gilad peels the metaphorical “signage” away, revealing that whatever these varied architectures may contain or conceal is contained and concealed inside of their inhabitants first. “The city,” Marco Polo warned Kublai Khan in Calvino’s book, “must never be confused with the words that describe it.”,

A display of student work from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem involved straightforward experiments with remarkable results: Ori Yekutiel has a patent pending on his stone-foam furniture-production technology while, using a microwave, Ori Sonnenschein made tableware from fruit rinds. Ronit Landsman, in a less pragmatic mood, made jewelry by mapping freckles. (See slide show.)

Domestic Diversity
Vogelstad (Bird City) is an avian architecture by fresh Design Academy Eindhoven alum Eveline Visser who modeled it on a circuit board. To encourage diversity and breeding, each of the 33 nesting boxes is scaled and shaped to be suitable for habitation by a different species of bird. (See slide show.),

The New Wave
Under the apt rubric Nouvelle Vague, a small group of French designers, including Pool, Ionna Vautrin, Pierre Favresse, Studio Nocc, and A+A Cooren put on a tiny gem of a show with nary a dud to be seen. One of the standouts was Dutch–Japanese couple, A+A Cooren. Among other items, the couple introduced the Yabané dresser with rounded corners and long, shinglelike drawers that pull out in both front and rear along with the double-walled Tourbillon vase for Gallery S. Bensimon, the inner shaft of which was blown to resemble a maelstrom of water swirling down the drain. (See slide show in the Objects and Materials article.),,,,

The lofty chambers of the 17th-century Palazzo Durini were illuminated by the Lit Lines family of rigidly linear, unembellished floor and pendant lights (see slide show). In designing the brass fixtures, London-based Michael Anastassiades was inspired by trips to India, where he saw locals hang long fluorescent bulbs—bare, plastic-encased, mounted on brackets, or simply tied to buildings or trees.,

Nilufar, the Milan gallery that mounted the Palazzo Durini show (see “Reductive” above, and slide show), achieved some awesome contrasts between the Baroque setting and contemporary furnishings: Ornate frescoes, for instance, became a backdrop for Studio Nucleo’s pixel-ish console tables. Each limited-edition piece is composed of 380 pigmented resin cubes.,

Discovery of Human Cities
Cardboard tubes, wooden planks, recycled crates, and pallets were the skin and bones of the DiscoverHuman Cities installation by Esterni that popped up on a derelict roadway between posh Corso Como and the nearby train station (see slide show). Esterni builds temporary and permanent public space, urban regeneration projects, and furniture to promote socialization. For this space, the organization fashioned improvised rocking horses and rocking chairs, a 10-legged chaise longue flanked by imaginary animals, thrones and a lifeguard tower, a café selling beer, and vistas that transformed surrounding construction sites and the freeway below from annoyances into … views.

Baccarat Brush-up
Not far from the flamboyantly stuffy theme park where Baccarat’s latest collection was introduced, ECAL students presented their own interpretations of the brand’s Harcourt-shaped glassware: Sliced up like a loaf of bread, a faceted goblet turns into bracelets. Add the proper “headgear” and drinking vessels become vases, candleholders, bowls, or even traditional jam jars. Turn them on their heads, modify the feet and you have chess pieces. And what of an extruded Harcourt glass that looks like a blur of itself in motion? It’s a symbol of the 170-year-old pattern’s great longevity. You might say, it—and the students—have gone the distance.,