Michael Young and his aptly named Carbon Fiber chair
While Salone headlines tend to be dominated by news of the latest and greatest collections from European manufacturers—and the biggest European names in design—plenty of exhibitors hail from further afield. We're always keen to see what San Francisco-based Coalesse has to offer and they didn't disappoint. The new Michael Young-designed Carbon Fiber chair is something of a marvel, weighing in at <5lbs and available in fully custom paint for maximum versatility.
We had the chance to catch up with Design Director John Hamilton, who shared the story behind the chair. The transcript below has been edited for length and clarity.
We do projects both internally and with partners—Michael's our latest one; I've been working with Michael for a couple of years now. We started the process thinking we don't just want to make a carbon fiber chair, we don't want to make a gallery piece—we want to make a real, industrialized solution, at a pricepoint that will enable it to be used for a variety of applications.
So when we started, we set a couple of bars for ourselves: 1.) Make sure it's under five pounds and 2.) make sure you can stack it at least four high. We hit both of those marks—we're at 2.2 kilos or right thereabouts, which is 4.8 pounds... and it does stack four high. Four of them in a box will weigh less than 25 pounds, which is pretty amazing—I have photos of people holding four on each arm smiling, which you can't do with any other chair.
The other interesting thing was working with Steelcase engineering—we were able to leverage their expertise in seating and FEA modeling to be able to understand how to utilize the material in the most efficient way possible in order to reduce the amount of carbon fiber needed to pass all of the business contract solution testing. They have these very, very high standards for what a chair has to be able to do, and this chair passes all of those tests.
Since carbon fiber is so expensive, optimizing for as little material as possible brings the cost down. When you add more material and have a big surface of carbon fiber, you're going to end up with a $5,000 chair, or you add a lot of labor to it by having to polish this huge object and it becomes more expensive. The way we've done this chair allows it to be (again, that metric that we set for ourselves) more affordable. It's not going to be the least expensive chair on the market, but it's not going to be the most expensive. I think it's going to be one of the lightest chairs on the market, and I think it's going to be one of the funnest chairs, because it allows the designer to participate in its final step.
Basically, you can do any paint you can imagine with the paint methodology used in the automotive, bike, boat, etc. industries, because it's the same material. If you send me a chip that's the color of your shirt, we can do it. For the chairs at the show, we did an ombre effect on the legs to show that you can actually do a transition. We did one in metallic, to actually have a depth to it—a copper color—which we did it kind of as a play, because you look at it and think, "Oh, it's a metal chair. Oh look, it's made out of copper." But then you touch it and there's this surprise and delight that you get because you pick it up and go, "Oh, it's not. It's balsa wood... but it's strong."
Having recently moved apartments, I've decided that I'm at a point in my life where I need (or deserve, or at least aspire to own) nicer things, and while the Swedish megastore is fine for miscellaneous housewares—I'm perfectly happy with my Idealisk colander, thanks—I feel that it's in my best interest to invest in real furniture. No more cheap-o particleboard furnishings for this discerning urbanite; longevity, durability and timelessness are the main criteria this time around.
Which brings me to HAY, a new-ish Danish housewares and home furnishings company that is often favorably compared to their mass market neighbors to the northeast. Founded in 2002, the company draws on its national heritage, harkening back to the 1960s, while offering decidedly contemporary takes on everything from sticky notes and matchboxes to the Bouroullec brother-designed "Copenhague" furniture collection.
Spazio Rossana Orlandi is perenially among the must-see exhibitions during the Salone, and its namesake design patron is perhaps the definition of a doyenne. This year, her multi-chambered, multi-level space hosted an eclectic mix of students, small studios and well-established designers, several of whom happened to be exhibiting kitchenwares and other vessels.
Konstfack's "Talking Table" was a showcase of experimental tablewares that explore the nuances, dynamics and social norms of dining. Students from the Industrial Design and Jewelry & Corpus programs (some of whom we'd met at ICFF last year) presented consistently thoughtful and well-crafted design objects, from the 'ghost' place setting (smartphone not included) to the napkin for two, a comment on Eastern vs. Western dining traditions.
Along with the nearby ECAL exhibition, Studio Formafantasma's "De Natura Fossilium" at Palazzo Clerici was one of the most buzzed-about projects in the Brera District this year—after all, Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin consistently present excellent work during at the Fuorisalone, and this year was no exception. The Eindhoven-based pair often look to their Italian heritage for inspiration; this time around, they took inspiration from the November 2013 eruption of Mount Etna, creating a beautiful collection of tablewares, textiles and small furniture items from the byproducts of volcanic activity.
The project page for "De Natura Fossilium" does a far better job of explaining the work than I ever could, including striking photos by Luisa Zanzani; the "Process" section in particular illustrates the depth of Formafantasma's practice.
Volcanic glass, procured by remelting Etna's rocks, has been mouth-blown into unique vessels or cast into box-like structures that purposefully allude to the illegal dwellings and assorted buildings that have developed at the foot of the volcano. Drawing on their own vocabulary, these solitary glass boxes and mysterious black buildings have been finished with such archetypal Formafantasma detailing as cotton ribbons and Murano glass plaques.
In homage to Ettore Sottsass, the great maestro of Italian design
and an avid frequenter of the volcanic Aeolian islands, this new body of work takes on a linear, even brutalist form. Geometric volumes have been carved from basalt and combined with fissure-like structural brass elements to produce stools, coffee tables and a clock."
The Dutch made a strong showing throughout Milan this year, including in Zona Tortona where a loose collective headed up by Frederik Roijé is returning alongside Tuttobene and Moooi to represent of a range of Dutch design from independent studios to major brands. The factually titled "Dutch at Savona 33" features four brands that fall somewhere in between: Roijé's eponymous studio; New Duivendrecht, the brand he co-founded with Victor Le Noble; DUM, returning this year; and Quodes, whom they've added to their ranks this year.
More on New Duivendrecht below
Along with the "Smokestack," which debuted last year and has reportedly been selling briskly (or at least as well as a COR-TEN steel chimney might sell), Roijé launched several new products, including the "Texture Tray," which was inspired by hatching/crosshatching, and the "Treasure Table" (below).
Meanwhile, the "Cloud Cabinet" is intended to complement the "Storylines" and "Guidelines" series of book shelves and magazine racks.
It's never a perfect analogy, but it can be interesting when it comes close enough: Attempting to translate one creative discipline into another is, to mutilate the metaphors, more difficult than turning water into wine—rather, the old saying regarding "dancing about architecture" comes to mind. For Milan Design Week 2014, the Centrum Designu Gdynia ambitiously sought to distill a dozen products by Polish Pomeranian designers into culinary delights. Although the concept itself was executed to varying degrees of success, "Taste of an Object" offered a nice twist on the tried-and-true local design showcase.
Taking inspiration from Richard E. Cytowic's The Man Who Tasted Shapes (MIT Press 2003), the Gdynia Design Centre worked with razy2 design group to develop an exhibition in which "an object goes beyond the limits of how it's typically perceived."
"Flavors have shape," he started, frowning into the depths of the roasting pan. "I wanted the taste of this chicken to be pointed shape, but it came out all round." He looked up at me, still blushing. "Well I mean it's nearly spherical," he emphasized, trying to keep the volume down. "I can't serve this if it doesn't have points."
..."When I taste something with intense flavor, the feeling sweeps down to my arm into my fingertips. I feel it—its weight, its texture, whether it's warm or cold, everything. I feel it like I'm actually grasping something." He held his palms up. "Of course, there's nothing really there," he said, staring at his hands. "But it's not illusion because I feel it."
So goes the excerpt of Cytowic's book, a seed of source material that is planted in the geopolitical context of the Pomerania region of northern Poland, across the Baltic Sea from Sweden. Described as "a region of a turbulent history linked with and age-long fight for independence," Pomerania is also an incubator, "a base for brave yet developing, unique projects."
Mouthwatering though they may be, chef Rafal Walesa's gastronomic concoctions are only obliquely related to the products—but that's precisely the point. After all, one can only imagine that literal interpretations of, say, a radiator (there are actually three heating-related products in the show) or an urn might not be nearly as appetizing as the photogenic treats that were on view. (Note: The captioned images below alternate between food and product, with the dishes followed by the design that inspired them.)
Chocolate sponge cake is perhaps the ultimate comfort food
It's an increasingly pressing question in this day and age, and one that has certainly seen some interesting responses—including this interdepartmental collaboration from Switzerland design school ECAL—as an evolving dialectic between two closely related design disciplines. Exhibited in Milan's Brera District during the Salone del Mobile last week, "Delirious Home" is comprised of ten projects that explore the relationship between industrial design and interaction design. (Naoto Fukasawa, for one, believes that the former will eventually be subsumed into the latter as our needs converge into fewer objects thanks to technology.)
Both the Media & Interaction Design and the Industrial Design programs at the Lausanne-based school are highly regarded, and the exhibition at villa-turned-gallery Spazio Orso did not disappoint. In short, professors Alain Bellet and Chris Kabel wanted to riff on with the "smart home" concept—the now-banal techno-utopian prospect of frictionless domesticity (à la any number of brand-driven shorts and films). But "Delirious Home" transcends mere parody by injecting a sense of humor and play into the interactions themselves. In their own words:
Technology—or more precisely electronics—is often added to objects in order to let them sense us, automate our tasks or to make us forget them. Unfortunately until now technology has not become a real friend. Technology has become smart but without a sense of humor, let alone quirky unexpected behavior. This lack of humanness became the starting point to imagine a home where reality takes a different turn, where objects behave in an uncanny way. After all; does being smart mean that you have to be predictable? We don't think so! These apparently common objects and furniture pieces have been carefully concocted to change and question our relationship with them and their fellows.
Thanks to the development of easily programmable sensors, affordable embedded computers and mechanical components, designers can take control of a promised land of possibilities. A land that until now was thought to belong to engineers and technicians. With Delirious Home, ECAL students teach us to take control of the latest techniques and appliances we thought controlled us. The students demonstrate their artful mastery of electronics, mechanics and interaction, developing a new kind of esthetic which goes further than just a formal approach.
The ultimate object—still missing in the delirious home—would be an object able to laugh at itself.
Photos courtesy of ECAL / Axel Crettenand & Sylvain Aebischer
A few years ago, I saw a picture of a desk that captured my eye. I can't remember exactly where I saw it—perhaps it was this very blog—I just remember not being able to stop thinking about it. I searched the Internet to find out who had created this lovely desk and ended up on the website of Manoteca. Now, when I see something that I like, I have to tell the person who is behind it that I like their creation (or what they are wearing, or what they are singing, or what they are drawing, etc.) Call it what you will, OCD if you wish.
So I found the e-mail address for the person behind the brand, and it turned out to be a young woman called Elisa. Since then, we haven't written much, but my curiosity for the person and the visions behind the brand is still there. So, here comes the second article about young ambitious entrepreneurs working within the creative field.
Core77: What led you to start Manoteca?
Elisa Cavani: Before creating Manoteca, I was working as a visual merchandiser for fashion companies, for more or less ten years. I traveled a lot and gained a lot of information. In those ten years, I met very respectable people with so much talent. Yet the structure of big companies crushed them—I saw many people forget the things they believed in and give up any kind of talent. I was scared because I could feel that it was happening to me as well, so I decided to "fire" myself and create something that I had had in my head for so long.
This was the beginning. I moved the furniture in my apartment and for a year I worked, lived and slept in the middle of tools and sawdust. To me, the pieces of my first collection represent the freedom of expression. I loved them so much. I spent my evenings watching them, cleaning them one by one, every single hole and crack in the material. I really treated them as if they were the most valuable things I owned. In fact, they still are.
Did your ten years of experience as a merchandiser have any influence on how you started your brand?
I didn't think so initially, then I thought again and came up with a better answer. The visual merchandisers work with the visual language, they communicate feelings and moods but cannot use words. There is so much of this in Manoteca. There is a maniacal attitude, for which everything have to be perfect, and a meticulous attention to every detail. There is the organization and optimization of the time. There are the administrative and commercial skills, which I unwittingly absorbed and modified in favor of the brand. There is the knowledge of foreign markets that I have followed for a long time, the awareness that every person have different habits and cultural characteristics that you need to know, otherwise it is impossible to communicate. There are errors that I have made in the past, from which I can benefit today. There is a predisposition for solid and professional structure, which hasallowed the project to go around the world.
In retrospect, I should say 'Thank You' to my past.
This is the beginning of an interview series about young entrepreneurs around the globe working within the creative fields such as photography, product design, fashion and music just to mention a few.
Below you find the very first interview which is about Jonas Hojgaard and his up and coming Danish furniture brand Nordic Tales. It all started with the lamp Bright Sprout and have grown exponentially ever since. If you want to know more after reading this little interview, you will find him in Milan during the furniture fair April 7–13.
Core77: What inspired you to start Nordic Tales?
Jonas Hojgaard: Nordic Tales is the product of an idea about that it is possible to handle the whole range, from idea to development to sale, as a designer! You don't have to wait for somebody to approve or disapprove your ideas to realise them! A design business put in the world, mainly and primarily to contribute with aesthetics and secondly to earn money will have a set of values that the general business man can't compete with.
What would you say are the values that define Nordic Tales?
We are storytellers just as much as we are designers. We try to contribute with products that you can influence and give your own touch. We grant you with "the power to design!"
Maybe the fascination about this remodeling / customizable thing comes from all the years I spent playing with Lego as a kid, or maybe I'm just curious.
When I design, I always try to achieve some complexity, to make it more than what it is! My ultimate goal is to do this and then hide it and let you discover the products' true features—it surprises you and gives you that very special "A-ha!" feeling!
Besides this, my goal is always to make something that you can't really describe why you like. The design should be a sum of many small details, balanced so that none outshines the other. The experience of the design should resolve in an emotion that you like and not any particular characteristics that you can point out.
I find it much more challenging to achieve this in design than in, say, photography. Design is more difficult especially because it has to be producible on a large scale. Photography is much easier since it consists mostly of visual parameters.
Kvadrat Soft Cell panels line the entrance of the Moroso showroom
Celebrating Patricia Urquiola's first textile collection for Kvadrat, a feast of the senses was organized at Moroso's Milan showroom during Salone. Entering through a hallway lit with the dynamic glow of Kvadrat's Soft Cell panels, guests were welcome into the main showroom where rotating columns of embroidered fabrics were hung around the circumference of the space.
The Revolving Room honored a spirit of collaboration—between Urquiola, Moroso, Kvadrat and Philips—as a showcase of the myriad possibilities for textile application. The Urquiola-designed Kvadrat collection was the filter on the acoustic lighting panels, an embroidered skin on the rotating architectural columns, the fabric on Moroso furniture and a material transformed into bowls and inspiring food design by I'm a KOMBO for the communal table.
Kvadrat Soft Cells are large architectural acoustic panels with integrated multi-colored LED lights. These "Luminous Textiles" provide an ambient glow of light filtered through the textures of Kvatdrat fabrics. The modular panels are based on a patented aluminum frame with a concealed tensioning mechanism which keeps the surface of the fabric taut, unaffected by humidity or temperature.
The magic of the panels lies in Philips' LED technology which allows architects to control content, color and movement projected from the panels. The Kvadrat textiles provide tactility and sound absorption qualities even when the Soft Cells are static.
Core77 had an opportunity to speak with Urquiola on the collaboration with Kvadrat on the occasion of the collection debut. As the first designer to create a collection for the Soft Cells panels, we were interested in learn more about the process of designing across different mediums and working with light.
From left to right: Anders Byriel, Patricia Urquiola, Patrizia Moroso
Core77: This is your first time designing textiles for Kvadrat. What was your design process like and how was it different than designing furniture?
Patricia Urquiola: We worked in two ways. The first process started with the idea of "applying memory," to create a fabric that looks like its been worn with time. This fabric will not get older in a bad way because it is already "worn." The passage of time will be good for contrast.
The other idea was to work with digital patterns. We have been working with ceramics as part of my research in the studio for a long time. Part of these patterns were in my mind as we were searching for new tiling designs. I am working with Mutina, where I am the art director, and we're trying not to work in color—exploring bas relief and a treatment of the tiling.
One pattern is a kind of matrix—its kind of a jacquard. We're working with a classic technique in a cool wool, but in the end, you have this connection with a digital world. The contrast of the jacquard is sometimes quite strong and sometimes more muted—you can see and then not see the matrix.
And then there was the possibility to work velvet—opaque and quite elegant. We use a digital laser cut technique. They are patterns but not. They give an element to the fabric but they are still and quiet.
These are digital techniques but the process to create all three patterns was quite complicated. I'm happy because we explored three complex processes but they turned out amazing.
Alessandro Mendini reflects the playfulness of Alessi in a miniature town set on a backdrop of futurist painter Gerardo Dottori's work.
In this year's deep-dive into Italian design history, Milan's Triennale Design Museum staged The Syndrome of Influence a three-part exhibition asking contemporary designers to reflect and interpret the work of historic Italian designers and brands. Progressing from post-war Italian designers to the continued work of current Italian manufacturers, the exhibition's emphasis was more on exhibition design rather than the showcase of specific objects.
ZANUSO stamped aluminum plates litter the gallery floor.
Beginning with the period immediately following the second World War, curator Silvana Annicchiarico tapped and impressive roster of young Italian designers to create homages to the giants of post-war Italian design. Of the ten installations, which also included work by Martino Gamper/Gio Ponti, Italo Rota/Joe Colombo and Studio Formafantasma/Robert Sambonet, my favorite was from Blumerandfriends. In their installation for the editor, designer and architect Marco Zanuso, they ask attendees to push a button, a trigger that starts a short video loop on a television—soon a countdown clock starts up and the strange industrial box mounted on the wall lights up. An explosion of compressed air accompanies the expulsion of a thin sheet of stamped aluminum with the word ZANUSO. As aluminum plates mound on the floor of the exhibition, the critique is clear: although Zanuso and his contemporaries were huge proponents of industrial production as a means for creating a better world, the limits of this perspective are now quite clear.
In Alessandro Scandurra's ode to Ettore Sottsass, Scandurra wallpapers a room with the boldness of Indian iconography. Focusing on Sottsass' transformational experience in India, Sottsass projects a flash of totemic inspiration between stills of Sottsass' work.
Matilde Cassni and Francesco Librizzi's tribute to Bruno Munari's Useless Machines was a crowd favorite—attendees would traverse the room, hanging on rods, and becoming part of the installation.
Paolo Ulian interprets the work of Vico Magistretti. The shadows on the wall assume the, "threadlike appearance" of Magistretti's work.
Studio Formafantasma's tribute Roberto Sambonet's tableware and kitchenware.
Renault and British designer Ross Lovegrove unveiled the Twin'Z, an all-electric cabon-fiber concept car at Milan's Triennale Design Museum last week. The electric motor on the Twin'Z is rear-mounted and the four 96-V lithium batteries are hidden in the floor of the car; according to Gizmag, "driving motivation to the rear wheels is done by 50kW (68hp) of power and 226 Nm of torque...[and] can achieve a top speed of 130 km/h (80.7 mph)." Reflective of Lovegrove's design language, the car's compact and organic form also draws from the French manufacturer's most emblematic models like the Renault 5 and Twingo.
The Twin'Z is designed for the city-driver in mind—the backseats are integrated into the floorplan and the dashboard is replaced by a smartphone connection to create more space in the cabin. Electric hinges on the front and back suicide doors eliminates the need for the central B-pillar allowing for further access for loading things and people in and out of the car.
As people travel from around the globe to Milan for the annual design shows, Tom Dixon and adidas have teamed up to show us "everything-you-can-pack-neatly-in-a-bag-for-a-week-away."
The timely launch of The Capsule collection during the busiest travel season on the design calendar, heralds a two-year partnership between the product designer and the sportswear company. The first apparel collection from Tom Dixon, The Capsule premieres new typologies of bags, apparel and footwear. The foundation of the collection is two travel bags—a hard and soft case—"an experiment in capsule thinking in which luggage unclasps, unzips and unfolds to reveal multiple layers."
As with Tom Dixon's design ethos for his furniture and lighting collections, removing a layer often reveals the pieces of a kit of parts—in this case, unzipping the luggage reveals foundation apparel that can be layered as a complete wardrobe for every possible occasion. Workwear and technical sportswear are clear influences on the collection. Reversible shirt-jacket, Work trousers, jumper and a boiler suit were favorites. Accessories including a folding camp bed, down coat sleeping bag, traveller wallet and compartment bag round out the collection. Suede and canvas boots, shoes and more traditional espadrilles give a traveler four-seasons of footwear to choose from.
What are the possibilities when a 140-year-old brand starts acting like a startup? Mark van Iterson, Heineken's Global Head of Design, gave us a sneak peek of The Magazzini, a pop-up experience exploring design and nightlife culture staged during this year's Milan design week. "Beer is emotion," van Iterson shares, and The Magazzini is an embodiment of Heineken's commitment to design—a playground for innovative ideas in nightlife.
Open from 2PM–2AM daily, The Magazzini will host capsule exhibitions from London-based Designersblock x Arts Thread and Amsterdam-based Tuttobene, which is celebrating 10 years in Milan. Daily programming from Pecha Kucha and Cool Hunting featuring Yves Behar, Alex Mustonen (Snarkitecture) and Luca Nichetto will include beer breaks, of course, along will special workshops from new media designer Joshua Davis and "vectorfunk" artist Matt W. Moore.
The brand is even experimenting with "beer cocktails" using fresh ingredients. Try a Heineken on tap infused with a kick of fresh red chills, the cooling properties of muddled mint or the herbal brightness of lemongrass at their center bar.
The people behind the upcoming Interaction14 conference invite you to attend a panel discussion in Milan on the "Long View of Interaction Design."
On Monday 8 April at 6 p.m. (on the eve of the Salone del Mobile), Claudio Moderini, Fabio Sergio, Jan-Christoph Zoels and Todd S. Harple will debate with Alok Nandi on how to design for those interaction design challenges that go beyond the immediate consumer product/service launch cycle.
What if your interaction design has to be integrated in a hospital or a building or a city? How do you design if your creation has to last 10, 20 or even more years into the future? What tools can you use as an interaction designer? How do you make it adaptive and resilient? How to avoid obsolescence?
Anna Meroni, Assistant professor of service and strategic design, Polytechnic University of Milan (IT)
Not that it wasn't relevant a month ago—after all, I happened upon the daring Danes during their pop-up studio during the Salone—but the guerrilla ethos of the DENNIS Design Center has taken on an ethical significance in light of the recent events surrounding designer Takeshi Miyakawa's (benign) intervention on the occasion of the ICFF in New York. (For my part, I plead guilty to a regrettable delay in saving the best for last: the mobile workshop was easily my top pick for Zona Tortona and certainly one of the best in show during the Salone this year.)
Looks cool, but what does it actually do? Well, a lot more than your average exhibitor in Milan: the DENNIS Design Center is a "newly started platform for urban design studies," working "across disciplines [to introduce] new and diverse atmospheres into the streets of Milan, inspired by the local population and its surroundings."
During the project in Milan, DENNIS invites you to get refueled with cultural and social energy at the self-constructed gas station placed on the parking lot in front of Superstudio 13. The gas station provides refueling of inspiration, how design is generated, shaped and communicated.
While the Copenhagen-based crew readily cites graffiti as a source of inspiration, their ad-hoc furniture workshop—a creative outlet (a vehicle, perhaps) for art/design collective Bureau Detours—is rather less illicit... and far more functional to boot. (Indeed, the DENNIS Design Center had the blessing of the Temporary Museum for New Design and Danish Craft Council, among others; Takeshi's project, on the other hand, involved some internal electronics and a late-night installation—red flags for New York's finest.)
In other words, they hope to translate the same highly public aesthetic experience of graffiti into furniture.
I'm not sure if any of our readers are so attentive as to note that I'd promised a follow-up post about Dutch designer Jólan van der Wiel's booth at Ventura Lambrate, but before we all completely forget about that wonderful week in Italy in anticipation of the forthcoming ICFF, I'd like to share photos and a video from Milan.
While the original "Gravity Stool" dates back to 2011, he's refined the process a bit and branched out into other semi-crystalline objects such as a candle holder and a basin for the Salone.
Of course, the highlight was the series of daily demonstrations of his unconventional fabrication process. Where RISD's Taylor McKenzie-Veal made his "This Little Piggy" banks by subjecting a mundane material (per the theme of their show, "Transformation") to a series of simple processes, van der Wiel's self-produced machinery was impressive in and of itself.
Instead of attempting to describe the apparatus, I'll refer you to the video, as promised, after the jump...
The historical neighborhood of Brera is full of high-end furniture showrooms, boutique shops and galleries, with tiny picturesque streets and hidden courtyards embodying everything you would imagine a design destination in Italy to be. We headed straight to Via Palermo, home to some of the most sophisticated and well-curated group exhibitions seen in Milan this year.
Besides the ubiquitous buzzwords like "handcrafted" and "sustainable," one of the promising trends we noticed at the Salone (and a trip to Holon Design Week) was the emergence of the Middle East design scene. Carwan Gallery and AUS were easily some of my favorite shows at Ventura Lambrate and SaloneSatellite, respectively, and we were also impressed with the TLV Express, a collective of young designers from Israel's second-largest city.
Meanwhile, at the exact opposite end of the warehouse space on Via Massimiliano, some four dozen students from Jersualem's Bezalel Academy of Art and Design exhibited an impressive range of work as "Design Bonanza."
Somewhere in the midst of mundane technology, in the desert of everyday materials, within the familiar combinations, gold awaits to be discovered. The term "Bonanza" expresses the alchemic moment: a dream in which a new idea is born, the discovery of a treasure.
The "mining" process of new ideas, like a golden artery within familiar patterns, an opportunity within the material or object, characterizes the chosen batch of works by undergraduate and graduate industrial design students... "Design Bonanza" expresses the experimental spirit of Bezalel, one of the most recognized design academies in the world: creative research which encourages the students to doubt and look for that which is new in the material, shape, and idea, as tools for continued examination of the field of design.
"Design Bonanza" presents the designer's digging tools, as a process of searching for a path between junctions: margins and center, old and new. The metaphoric expression of the process is presented here using three essences: dirt, dust and gold. The first represents the period of the search, the second the moment of explosion, and discovery, and the third, the catharsis process of the discovery, when it transforms into a pure and refined idea.
The "Gold Rush" from the early 20th Century is replaced at the beginning of the 21st Century with a new "Gold Rush", which emanates from the beginning of the decline of the modern financial and social system. However, the real "gold" is in the free imagination, the aspirations, and the exposed, albeit filled with emotion, perspective of new creators. The hidden dreams in "Design Bonanza" try to illustrate the urge, discovery and future products of young designers in Israel.
Itamar Foguel - "Glass Knives for the Post-Modern Neanderthal"The project deals with the art of breaking rock and glass into blades in a traditional manner, as was done by prehistoric man, and connecting it with modern processing technologies of metal and glass. The project raises associations of an apocalyptic world, in which man will create survival tools from broken bottles, manually, without any raw materials or industry.
Ofer Berman - "100% Couio"
Glasses made of leather. The glasses were made using a method of bending, for strength and form. The graphics were burned onto the product with the use of laser.
Rami's project tries to study the differences and similarities between craft and modern innovative design. It examines the borders of hybridization between them, stretches them, and tries to remain with something identifiable with the past. The woven furniture that he created is based on traditional craft and preserves its production values together with massive industrial design.
Vadim created a glove with a very long and hard index finger and a "diminutive glass." This set allows people who have arachnophobia to optically "reduce" the size of a spider and thus make it appear less threatening. With the long finger, spiders can be touched without fear. Nothing will happen if the spider catches the finger.
Shelly Simcha - "Hair Brushes"
What if we could determine the types of hair growing from our brushes and paintbrushes? Could we give them specific characteristics, following a genetic specification and unique character, which would affect the way we use them and the products?
Hair is the memory of a specific person. Today, with a single Photoshop click, we can change the hair, the character and the memory. I at least hope that if we reach that moment, my brush will not have a "bad hair day."
In this project, Guy used explosives as a tool; however, he creates objects that are disconnected from their immediate associative context. The series of chairs embodies a new interpretation: the objects begin as geometric volumes made of tin sheets, wired with explosives. The explosion changes
the generic shape into an object with a unique character, while using the explosion element, which will forever create objects that are different from one another.
The making-of video circulated a bit when Mishaly released it last year; check it out after the jump:
It seems that every time I write aboutany of the booths we saw at Ventura Lambrate, I feel the need to mention how consistent the student work was this year. The students in RISD's Furniture Design program opted for a particularly restrictive theme to their exhibition: "The exhibition 'Transformations' showcases the concept of utilizing iconic everyday items outside their known applications. By taking these everyday items out of their normal contexts, they are transformed into unexpected objects with altered meaning."
Scot Bailey's (MFA '12) telescoping "Cup Light" allows the user to control the brightness by extending the cups on either end
Jamie Wolfond's (BFA '13) fearsome-looking "Communicable Seats" are connected with dozens of medical syringes and pressurized tubing, such that each seat transmits data about the other
It's not necessarily a new idea, but the sheer variety and quality of the eight works that the Furniture Design department exhibited in Milan—selected by Project Leader Lothar Windels and the furniture design faculty—illustrates the design talent at the Providence, RI art school.
The objects in this exhibition should be viewed as thoughtful prototypes. Through a rigorous research process, students explored iconic everyday items beyond their conventional use to create innovative furniture, lighting fixtures and objects. These explorations are pushing the boundaries of design and questioning the common marketplace.
If you were looking to uncover the freshest work from the next generation of designers in Milan this year, the Ventura Lambrate design district was your one-stop shop! With almost 90 exhibitions, the industrial neighborhood of Lambrate located to the northeast was overrun with design enthusiasts exploring the numerous warehouse spaces, galleries and studios which seemed to go on endlessly.
Studio Besau-Marguerre's hand-held greenhouse "Handgepäck"
Design curators and architects Barbara Brondi and Marco Rainó founded the IN Residence program in 2008 to be an annual design workshop bringing together 5-6 young designers and selected students from the 4 design schools in Torino to explore a central theme. Since then, the program has expanded to include a print publication, design talks and regular exhibitions featuring thoughtful and exploratory work around a single theme.
At this year's Milan presentations, Another Terra: Home Away From Home treated a certain feeling of impending crisis in a playful way. As we mentioned in our previous posts, many designers at this year's show addressed the uncertain future through their works or processes. Another Terra asked 15 young designers, "If you had to envisage life on some other habitable planet other than Earth, what kind of minimal hand luggage would you take with you?"
As Barbara Brondi and Marco Rainó explain in the EXCLUSIVE video interview below, the theme was inspired by NASA's recent discovery of another habitable earth. Themes that emerged included bringing tools for creation as in Tom´s Alonso's "Tools" box and Mischer'Traxler's "Tools - Knowledge - Memory" kit or packing up plants for agricultural purposes as Studio Besau-Marguerre's hand-held greenhouse "Handgepäck" or Jo Meester's self-seeding "Materra" bowls.
Check the jump for more images as well as a second serving of exhibition goodness from Brondi and Rainó's show on woven objects for Milan's Plusdesign Gallery.
FABRIKAAT is an exhibition at Ventura Lambrate 2012 investigating the re-emerging role of the garden through a "research through making" approach to design and craft. In a digitally saturated world, this body of work celebrates and promotes research, ideas and the nuances of making by hand.
Program Director Alex Suarez noted that, even as each of the four student pairs focused on one of the broad categories of fabrication methods—molding, knitting/weaving, folding/bending and cutting/scoring—each team was encouraged to explore the historical significance and evolution of these through experimentation.
Hence, the extensive "making-of" component to the exhibition, including various iterations of the bricks and woven textiles in particular, as well as a video accompaniment for each project, highlighting the process as much as the final product, if not more so.
Hell, even the promo clip of the logo is nicely executed:
Check out all of the videos (which have no audio as far as I can tell) and descriptions in one place after the jump, plus many more photos on the project pages on the Fabrikaat microsite.
We gave you a sneak peek of PLZ DNT TCH's furniture fair debut at SaloneSatellite about a month ago, and while the studio shots of work certainly piqued our interest, it was a pleasure to meet the trio of young designers who established the collaborative studio in Savannah, GA.
Studio PLZ DNT TCH is Bradley Bowers, Alejandro Figueredo and Matt Gray. PLZ DNT TCH is some form of attraction—design is our medium. Our work is a fusion of language, culture, design and playfulness. we use design as a vehicle for improvement and revelation; we invite your curiosity and exploration.
Bowers' "Mona" (at top and bottom) and "Om" vessels: the latter, which is made from cotton, paper and natural latex, explores "expression through form, while staying ephemeral and fragile in an atypical manner."
The tabletop objects sit atop PLZ DNT TCH's "LI" table, a low dining table "designed to arouse curiosity."
Its unconventional use of material invites you to discover and explore the structure, the process, and the dialogue among LI's various components. It was made to represent the re-union of Nature and Man: the surface of the table is made from charred planks of wood (Nature), while the leg structure is made from Corian (Man). The use of the piece is dictated by its form and material composition, which allows for a new experience.
Similarly, Matt Gray's "Ante," which is made from brass, cast resin and real antlers, was also inspired by the man-nature dichotomy:
ANTE confronts society's obsession with re-presentation. It sanitizes the natural world by fusing it with the precision of the industrial machine. ANTE shifts from a natural to a manufactured world... in an attempt to glorify what always was glorious.
The American University of Sharjah—a United Arab Emirates city just north of Dubai—is named not for a particular Western affiliation but the education system itself: "Located in University City, AUS is a not-for-profit, independent institution of higher education formed on the American model." Founded in 1997 by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates, Ruler of Sharjah, the school is accredited in the States, offering Bachelor's degrees in Architecture, Interior Design, Design Management, Multimedia Design and Visual Communications through its College of Architecture, Art and Design.
Design faculty and students at CAAD have a history of making in applied and aesthetic contexts that contribute significantly to the regional and international material culture made in the Gulf region... CAAD educates award-winning students and graduates that display a high degree of enthusiasm, innovation and ethical professionalism in the changing society of the region.
CAAD's studio culture resists confinement to a single medium, process, technology or theory; rather, it strives to integrate the object and everyday/virtual environments with drawing, painting, photography, digital fabrication/sculpture, time-based media and print. Student and alumni work evidences experimentation, craft, tradition and cultural precedent—and combines with community outreach, contemporary discourse and practice, and innovative digital fabrication techniques—to define the future of design and the constructed experience.
The wall treatment, fabricated by the department, was easily the best in show at Satellite
They created the topography with an additive process, then laser-cut the pattern into it...
Their showing at SaloneSatellite was one of the more progressive booths in the fair; Dean Peter Di Sabatino (formerly of the Department of Environmental Design at the Art Center) noted that it is purely a coincidence that the all eight of the participants—from a Vis/Com sophomore to several recent grads—happen to be female Arabs. Indeed, as with the Fuorisalone exhibition at Carwan Gallery, the work transcends narrow labels, running the gamut from purely formal experimentation to nuanced investigations into Middle Eastern history and culture.
Over time, the furniture design course has been transformed into a laboratory for the design and fabrication of increasingly complex and refined bespoke furniture. Building on this trajectory, CAAD has recently initiated a unique cross-disciplinary course entitled Form, Furniture and Graphics, available to students in all programs at CAAD. It emphasizes integration of graphic and typographic form with furniture design, exploring their reciprocal relationships. The goal is to expand the definition of furniture beyond normative function toward a hybrid condition that includes a semiotic reading.
Danah Al Kubaisy - "D-Bench"
Material: Sandblasted 3mm aluminum flat bar
Process: Metal-forming and general metal fabrication and assembly
The bench explores eruption as a formal quality and the deregulation of a rational ordering system along its length. The piece consists of 36 3mm-thick hand-shaped aluminum bars fastened with machine screws to a welded aluminum tube frame. The piece was sandblasted after fabrication and assembly.
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Sarah Alagroobi - "Amal's Prayer Chair" (prototype; with 3D-printed scale model)
This chair rocks to aid in the act of praying. The concept originates from the desire to aid the designer's late grandmother and mother who struggled to pray in the prostrate position. According to Islamic tradition, those who cannot physically endure prostration may pray in a sitting position. The typographic pattern on the skin of the chair is derived from the Arabic letter kaf and refers to the "The Throne" (Ayatul-Kirsi), a powerful verse in the Holy Quran. The verse states: "His Chair doth extend, Over the heavens And the Earth..."
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Marwa Abdulla Hasan - "Mesh Table"
Process: Traditional woodworking and handheld router
Starting with a triangular unit, this table gradually transforms from a 2D surface pattern toward relief and ultimately into 3D form. A combination of chiseling and hand-held routing with jig and template were used to achieve the pattern condition on the wood.
"I think Industrial Designers can do everything, from a watch, to a car to a building," explains the ever-charming British designer Ross Lovegrove. "If you are an industrial designer, I am one of you."
Lovegrove speaks with Core77 live from the Triennale Design Museum in Milan. Watch this exclusive video with where Lovegrove discusses Liquidkristal, his new architectural glass walls for Czech manufacturer Lasvit. The process for creating these walls took over a year to develop and employed fluid dynamics to digitally explore large-scale distribution and densification patterns found in nature.
Working with mathematical models, the behavior of glass was simulated under controlled thermo induction. This produced a highly informed line code, which serves as the blueprint for the production process, where highly precise temperature control imbues the glass surface with the beauty of optical effects seen in water. Working with Lovegrove, Lasvit's research facilities, led by Tomá Kamenec, developed a special flexible mold system to capture this effect. The finished product is highly customisable, allowing large-scale pattern aggregations over multiple sheets.