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.
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.
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.
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.
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