Milan Design Week - Best of Salone del Mobile 9 - 14 April 2019
The 58th edition of the Salone del Mobile - Milan's must-see event for the interior design and architecture sector, welcomed its visitors again last month from 9 to 14 April, at the Rho fairgrounds.
A benchmark for excellence, craftsmanship, innovation and creativity in the furnishing sector worldwide, the 2019 edition hosted a significant number of exhibitors displaying a broad range of high-quality products and projects.
Below is a selection of products and brands that captivated my attention during my visit last month. Enjoy!
O&A London and Thibault Van Renne
This year, the luxury rug label Thibault Van Renne teamed up with the multinational design brand O&A London for a collaborative display of their showpieces. This exceptional setting conceived in the style of an art gallery, with a long asymmetrical arcade hall leading to several chambers, was designed by the duo of architect Oleg Klodt and designer Anna Agapova from O&A London. The studio is well- known for their experimental approach to the creation of conceptual projects.
The Thibault Van Renne rugs were displayed on both sides of the walls like true works of art in a museum. Each room had a specific tone and style and evoked different rug motives and themes.
At the end of the pathway was placed the masterpiece — a handcrafted rug with an exceptional ornament. Like in a museum, this was the place of contemplation. Oleg and Anna complemented the space with their furniture and light fittings inspired by the cultural traditions of different countries and periods.
The sleek O&A London lighting collection created an enchanting atmosphere, highlighting the carefully selected rugs, while the collectable furniture pieces consolidated the space. The space reflected and reinforced the principles of Thibault Van Renne and O&A brands, the result being an immersive customer experience.
O&A London, led by award-winning design team Oleg Klodt and Anna Agapova, creates innovative furniture, lighting and textile collections.
After 19 years of designing private and commercial architectural projects, the pair consolidated the creation of their bespoke collections in an unique brand - O&A London.
Taking inspiration from major design movements in history, such as Bauhaus and Art-Deco, the O&A London collections are classically rooted yet designed for contemporary interiors.
O&A London employs the latest technology and materials that allow them to combine luxury with the simplicity of form and complex techniques to deliver pieces of impact, veritable works of art.
Thibault Van Renne
Thibault Van Renne (TVR) creates haute couture rugs and carpets that embody timeless elegance. With a steady commitment to innovative artistry, TVR’s woven masterpieces are made of the finest wool and silk manufactured by Rajasthan’s and Nepal’s most experienced traditional weavers. From the homes of European royalty to penthouses of the Far Orient, their rugs and carpets add exquisite beauty and sophistication to some of the world’s most elite interiors. Thibault Van Renne currently has showrooms in Belgium, Moscow, Vilnius (Lithuania) and London. Their exclusive luxury rugs will soon be used for the show flat of the One Thousand Museum building, currently being built in Miami, Florida designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid.
Born in Southern Italy, Amura is a brand that manufactures high-quality and environmentally respectful furniture for the residential and contract sectors.
Rooted in the local tradition, Amura reveals the union between past and present along with cultural heritage and innovation.
The brand was present this year at Salone del Mobile with an exciting selection of furniture, both new additions and old time favourites. The showcase comprised dining and coffee tables, consoles, bookcases, sideboards, cupboards and armchairs which proved the value of the 'Made in Italy' craftsmanship through the use of materials of excellence and innovative design with a touch of Mediterranean emotion.
With elegant, enveloping shapes, the Brooklyn collection signed by Stefano Bigi, is the result of the encounter between innovative materials and retro lines inspired by the seats of the old Off-Broadway theatres. The structure is supported by a lacquered aluminium subframe with slender legs. The slightly-rounded leather frames create great impact, housing the super soft cushions.
The armchair is the new addition to the Brooklyn collection of modular sofas and ottomans and was also introduced at Salone del Mobile this year.
The Panis collection is also a novelty signed by Anton Cristell and Emanuel Gargano and inspired by the old traditional Altamura bread.
Amura portrayed its inspiration with a photographic series shot between Altamura, Matera and the Murge in Southern Italy revealing the colours, shapes, and authentic flavours of the region. The collections illustrate Amura's inspiration and style - a fusion between tradition and innovation translated into a contemporary aesthetic language.
Since the beginning, Saintluc has stood out thanks to its exceptional vision and innovative, ethical footprint. Placing the linen fibre at the core of their vision and combining experimentation with craftsmanship, the brand has carried meticulous research into the technological ecology; the result is a state-of-the-art product developed by engineer Frederic Morand, and based on an ingenious composite and eco-sustainable raw material.
The innovative material made of linen fibres and resins or other thermoplastic elements surpasses fibreglass in terms of lightness, mechanical performance and energy saving. The linen is cultivated and transformed without environmental impact in Normandy, France where, thanks to the microclimate and the know-how of the local farmers, reaches the best quality worldwide.
Joining forces with Amura, Saintluc displayed a versatile collection defined by highest quality and strong aesthetic content thanks to the their collaboration with some well-known designers, such as Jean-Marie Massaud, Jean-Michel Wilmotte, Jean-Philippe Nuel and Philippe Nigro.
Hamac is almost the manifesto of the technological innovation conceived by Nuel Studio for Saintluc. Seduced by the idea of further expanding the linen fibre in the furniture world, Nuel Studio has made this versatile raw material the mission of this project. The shell of the chairs made entirely of a mix of linen fibres and resin, resembles a piece of fabric or leather draping over the wooden frame of the chair as if frozen in time. The streamlined wooden frame enfolds the shell and interacts with its curves.
Coach is a comfortable armchair with soft and enveloping lines designed by Jean-Marie Massaud. The designer describes it “as a properly essential product, a new classic…. The epitome of comfort as a firm demand, the elegance of the “light and responsible things”, the green technology as a new aim”. For a complete relaxing experience, Coach is available as well with a headrest and a matching upholstered footstool.
Tool is a light, pliable stool designed by Jorand Briand as a mono-block, a tribute to the sea world, its sensual curves evoking the mooring bollards scattered in ports all around the world.
Made of a composite derived from Bangladesh jute, Tool is the first design developed within the “Gold of Bengal” programme, a humanitarian initiative aiming at expanding in Bangladesh, the use of this revolutionary and eco-friendly material with excellent mechanical and technical properties, able to substitute fibreglass.
The renowned Japanese interior design brand, Ritzwell, showcased this year an award-winning collection of furniture. Characterised by discrete beauty deep-rooted in the traditional Japanese aesthetics, the collection combines exceptional design with precious materials executed with the latest technology and expert craftsmanship.
Designed by Shinsaku Miyamoto and Jun Kamahara, the new Ritzwell collection comprises cabinets, tables and upholstered pieces with well-balanced shapes, pleasant to the eye and to the touch and able to awaken emotions and long-lasting desire.
As importantly, the new JK Tables designed by Jun Kamahara, convey a feeling of calmness and elegance created by the combination of solid polished walnut top with legs in hairline stainless steel. Available with a square top with delicate upwards curving of the corners or circular with bevelled edge, these details enhance their striking minimalist design.
Other pieces showcased at Salone del Mobile this year are the Rivage chairs and stools designed by Atelier D.Q and the Claude 1602 chairs. Signed by Shinsaku Miyamoto, the Claude chairs convey tranquility and quietude, thanks to the flawlessly sculptured armrests reminding of the ancient statues of Buddha.
Ritzwell’s furniture pieces are designed to last in time and translate the poetry of the Japanese tradition into the contemporary age, integrating the signs of time passing (furubiin in Japanese) without ever losing their beauty.
Aram Store London
Aram Store was proud to present at the 58th edition of the Salone del Mobile some of Eileen Gray's iconic designs, revisited: the Day Bed in the new version with black frame upholstered in acid green velvet, the Roattino Floor Lamp, the Roquebrune Chair, the Adjustable Table E1027 in black, the Wendingen Rug. Aram Store London has authorised ClassiCon to produce them.
Zeev Aram opened his first showroom on London's Kings Road in 1964 and made the works of Castiglioni, Breuer, and Le Corbusier available to the public for the first time. Today the Aram store is located on 110 Drury Lane in the heart of Covent Garden and is the London's first address for furniture and product design.
Born in Ireland in 1878, Eileen Gray grew up in London and was one of the first women to enrol in the Slade School of Art in 1898 where she studied painting before beginning an apprenticeship in a London lacquer workshop.
After learning the Japanese lacquer technique, she moved to Paris in 1902 where she quickly imposed herself as one of the main designers of cabinets, lacquered screens, and decorative panels during the art-deco movement. An architect of the new aesthetics, she introduced chrome, steel tube and glass furniture in 1925 together with Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer .
Between the 1920s and 1930s, Eileen Gray collaborated closely with many of the leading names of the time, such as Le Corbusier and J J P Oud who encouraged her to design two houses in the South of France, one in Roquebrune (1926-1929) and the other in Castellar (1932-1934).
After the war and until her death in 1976, Eileen Gray continued to be involved on both major projects such as the Cultural and Social Centre between 1946-1949, as well as on a some smaller furniture designs.
Later on, In the early 1970s she collaborated with Zeev Aram on the launch of her collections on the market. In 1973 she granted exclusive license to manufacture and distribute her designs to Aram Designs Ltd, London which is the only UK supplier for the authentic Eileen Gray products which are produced by ClassiCon from Germany.
Nomon is the leading maker of indoor clocks handmade in Barcelona, born from the collaboration between José María Reina, industrial designer, and Ángels Arrufat, jewellery designer, both aiming to reestablish the prestige of the clock as a decorative element for the home and offices that it had in the past.
The noble materials such as walnut wood and marble used for the production of Nomon clocks, the finishes and presentation raised at jewellery standards, certify the quality and value of these pieces.
Nomon completes its portfolio with the introduction of a whole new complementary furniture line – Nomon Home designed by Andres Martinez and Stefano Bigi.
Using traditional craftwork and a refreshing design approach, they reinterpret classic furniture pieces such as the valet stand, giving them a brand new contemporary look, ultimately becoming design icons in their own right.
One of the most emblematic products of the collection, the Valet stand, is available in two versions - Valet Stand M, the masculine version, and Valet W for her, both made of high-quality walnut wood with metallic graphite or brass details and a luxurious marble base. The collection also includes bar stands, consoles and tables, vanities, as well as mirrors and towel stands.
Lema's presence at Salone del Mobile last month was impressive, attracting an increasing international audience. Their discreet design approach identified by delicate forms and evocative details has become the signature of the brand, known for its rigorous style and balanced aesthetic sense.
Lema's collaboration this year with some of the most celebrated names in interior design emphasised once again the company’s ability to unite different creative approaches. The outcome was an articulate and cohesive collection in terms of style and method of design, at times minimalist, other times decorative, that reconciled the industrial with the bespoke and placed the attention to detail and quality at the core of its values.
Among these creative enterprises are those with Piero Lissoni, who had been Lema's art director since 1994, David Lopez Quincoces, Chiara Andreatti, Gordon Guillaumier, Francesco Rota, along with Leonardo Dainelli and Andrea Mancuso, who collaborated with Lema for the first time this year.
The 2019 novelties expand the Lema Casa collection which includes padded furniture, seats, tables, complements, along with systems for the living area and bedrooms, which have always been Lema’s main focus.
LEMA AIR CLEANING SYSTEM
Worth mentioning here a revolutionary air cleaning system that Lema created for their wardrobes which sanitizes clothing, footwear and any other object placed inside. Thanks to its nanotechnology and a special UV lamp, Lema Air Cleaning System eliminates more than 90% of bad odours emanating from stored clothing and footwear, both in fabric and leather.
Woodnotes is a Finnish design company founded in 1987 by textile designer Ritva Puotila and her son Mikko Puotila which has been present at Salone del Mobile since 1998. For this year's edition, Woodnotes laid out a 100-square-meter stand which was their largest presence ever since, designed by Ulla Koskinen - the creative force behind the Woodnotes Design Team.
Last month in Milan, Woodnotes introduced five new products: three new handmade rugs - the Grid and Uni in wool, the Duetto and Piccolo by Hanna Korvela and the Saimaa outdoor carpets as well as the upholstery collection. The Laveri bench designed for indoor and outdoor spaces by Ulla Koskinen was also a novelty, along with the Magazine rack and the Twiggy dining table designed by Raffaella Mangiarotti and Ilkka Suppanen, not to forget the outdoor knitted Garden throws and cushion by designed Minna Ahokas.
Grid and Uni are hand-knotted of 90% pure New-Zeeland wool mixed with Sardinia sheep's wool and 10% cotton; they come in two distinct designs - plain / monochrome for Uni and two-toned in a range of beautiful earthy colours, with web-like pattern for Grid.
Twiggy dining table is the newest addition to the Twiggy range and received plenty of positive attention in Milan thanks to its light and sleek design. Twiggy is also very durable thanks to the thick glass top which makes it robust and highly functional. The Twiggy table will go into production in late autumn.
SIRO+ bar stool designed by Ilkka Suppanen & Raffaella Mangiarotti is a beautiful and comfortable chair made of oak with a natural lacquered or stained black finish and a footrest in brass or black painted metal. The seating is available in two heights: 65 cm and 75 cm and comes in plain wood, upholstered in leather or sand paper yarn cotton fabric. The Siro+ barstool won in 2018 the German Design Award for the Excellent Product Design category.
Laveri bench is a versatile wooden product which can be adapted for both indoors and outdoors. It can be used as a seating or low table or as a comfortable daybed if paired with cushions and a mattress.
The initial idea behind the Woodnotes products was to combine the Finnish aesthetics and the love for natural materials with advanced technologies to create distinctive objects of wood and paper which are durable and eco-friendly.
Woodnotes is the first company in the world to use paper yarn which is transformed into contemporary textiles. The Woodnotes collection, which has developed over the years from carpets made from paper yarn into a complete collection for interiors, is increased every year with new, relevant, and innovative products.
The next edition of Salone del Mobile will be held in Milan from 21st to 26th April 2020.