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2016 Milan Report

From big brands to up-and-coming designers, events and exhibitions in the centre of Milan, and hundreds of stands at 20 exhibition pavilions at the showground, it provides the launchpad for new products and ideas in the world of interiors. Savvy brands are shunning the traditional product launch approach, and instead creating spaces and experiences in palaces, abandoned offices and cloistered courtyards to enhance what they offer. British designer Lee Broom’s travelling exhibition, Salone del Automobile, literally stopped traffic; the van’s interior was decorated like an Italian palazzo as a backdrop to Broom’s new “Optical” lighting collection. Cleverly, he parked it in the city’s key design districts throughout the week. Makers and Bakers, which took over Ristorante Marta in Spazio Rossana Orlandi where curator Ambra Medda and New Zealand-based interior designer Katie Lockhart (with the help of Airbnb) transformed the space, commissioning the work from 25 creatives from 14 countries to show products that enhance our most communal experience: a meal.

gold-taps

WATER WORKS

Bathroom brand Axor has worked with architects and designers including Front, Jean-Marie Massaud, David Adjaye and GamFratesi to create a range of unusual taps under its WaterDream project. “Water Steps” by Front, above left, allows a stream of water to tumble through a series of sculptural bowls, whereas “Mimicry” by Jean-Marie Massaud, above, has used simple geometric shapes to create a landscape of marble.

prickly

PRICKLY SUBJECT

Gufram’s surrealist coat stand has been given a psychedelic makeover to celebrate 50 years of the irreverent Italian design company. The same brand brought us the sofa formed from giant red lips, a fallen classical Greek column transformed into an armchair, and now a redux of the “Cactus” coat stand, originally designed in 1972 by designers Guido Drocco and Franco Mello. A limited-edition run of 169 “Cacti” has been produced with a special striped colour scheme in bright pinks, blues and black, created by British fashion designer Paul Smith.

DREAM WEAVER

Created by master weavers in Cebu, the Philippines, all Dedon furniture, above, uses modern technology blended with centuries-old craftsmanship. Conceived by rising star of European design, Sebastian Herkner, “MBrace” is a collection of chairs, wingback, lounger, rocker and footstool. The seating’s wide back and comfortable cushions embrace the sitter to give a secure, cocoon-like feel.

For the full report from the Milan Salone del Mobile, pick up a copy of MiNDFOOD Decor, on sale now.

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Future Living: how will we respond to an ever-changing world

Spurred on by the need to respond to our ever-changing world, we asked experts to look into the future and talk about what life will be like in the coming years. What can we do about problems with pollution, congestion and the environment? What will we eat? Where will we live?

Here, leading practitioners from Lincoln University, Christchurch talk about where their research will take us.

FUTURE BUILDINGS

What will our homes and commercial buildings be like in the future? One thing for sure is there will be more of us in less space and, hopefully, more of a focus on the street environment.

Dr Silvia Tavares from Lincoln University’s School of Landscape Architecture says architecture evolves with time as well as cultural and environmental pressures. In recent years, she says, there has been more of a focus on sustainability and responding to climate change.

New commercial buildings are being constructed with bioclimatic design in mind, which means, “We use as much as we have available to us in terms of renewable resources and the Earth’s resources – like using the sun to heat the building and wind to cool it,” explains Tavares.

Commercial buildings are also turning out to the street rather than having solid walls facing pedestrians.

“There is a need, especially in the centre of cities, to use the whole site up to the footpath and have what we call ‘active frontages’, which means on the ground floor you have people coming in and out through a café or a shop, so the city helps promote the city life.

“The message is getting there. Ground floors are not completely closed, as they used to be, nor are they occupied by parking as they used to be.”

The shift in mindset is taking longer to have an impact on residential buildings.

“It is changing and we need to change. We need to increase density – we don’t have enough people in the same place and that makes it harder for businesses, harder for street life, harder for transportation, harder for public transportation, harder for mobility.”

Hand drawing of urban scene.

SUSTAINABLE CITY PLANNING

The more a city grows the more pressure there is on both the built and natural environment, Tavares explains.

There is also a need to plan based on the city’s weather. Many cities have large tracts of land that are fairly uninhabitable for large parts of the year due to prevailing weather conditions, Tavares explains.

“We need people in the streets. If we don’t have people in the streets we won’t have sustainable business. We need enough people walking and seeing shop displays and cafes, and deciding to buy a coffee instead of jumping in their car.”

The only way to do that, though, is if people can comfortably be in an urban space designed for the local weather.

Tavares says in Christchurch, for example, the climate is dominated by the wind, with a northwesterly airflow bringing warm weather and a constant easterly bringing strong, cold winds. Much of the city was planned in a grid, which means streets that face east/west channel the wind, creating undesirable areas for pedestrians.

Tavares says you cannot simply plan a city that looks good on paper and expect people to come. Future planning needs to take such things into account, making cities more suited to the environment and to the people who live there.

Coffee cup on drawing business strategy plan concept idea

FUTURE FOOD

Each year, one third of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted – that’s a mindboggling 1.3 billion tonnes of food.

Food shortages and waste are some of the biggest issues facing humankind. According to Associate Professor James Morton, from Lincoln University’s Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences, reducing food waste is the logical first step in meeting the needs of a growing world population.

“Reducing waste and getting the best use out of what we produce makes far more sense than trying to increase food. Producing more food through agriculture has consequences for the environment. At the moment we are taking more out than we’re putting back in. It’s not sustainable and we’re losing arable land.”

Developing countries are most affected by food loss during production and food shortages, with 795 million people estimated to be chronically undernourished. Meanwhile, developed countries are faced with massive food waste at the retail stage and the point of consumption while dealing with an obesity epidemic, which affects about 600 million adults.

Morton says there is no “simple solution”, but there are steps we can take, including minimising loss in the production process.

Both individuals and organisations need to be more aware of food waste and do their best to reduce their contribution. Consumers can make informed decisions about their purchases and how much they actually need so they can reduce the waste they produce, while organisations are coming up with creative ways to reduce landfill waste while helping those in need.

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