Raf Textiles, Marni Sculptures, and More Highlights From Milan Design Week-------
Each year during the second week of April, the modest city of Milan hosts one of the world’s preeminent design weeks, drawing from the farthest reaches of the greater design community. While most major brands introduce their home furnishing collections at the convention-center-based Salone del Mobile just outside of town, various districts in and around the city center house events, installations, and group shows of both established and emerging designers. Amid the seemingly endless events, exhibitions, and installations peppered throughout the city, a comprehensive sense of innovation and creativity seeped through. Now that the festivities have come to a close, here’s a look at the highlights.
COS x Nendo
In the world of design, few studios generate as much buzz as Tokyo’s Nendo. Its eye for simplicity and detail-driven design lent itself nicely to the recently unveiled collaboration with Swedish fashion brand COS. To introduce the collection, Nendo founder Oki Sato created an installation in the Brera Design District with white shirts winding through a stark gallery space like dominos, displayed on stands and suspended from the ceiling in a gradient, from white to gray and black.
Kvadrat x Raf Simons
One of the more exciting collaborations launched during the week had to be the new collection of textiles by Raf Simons for Danish textile company Kvadrat. As Simon’s first foray into textiles for home furnishing, the range included eleven color and texture-heavy fabric designs—including velvet, which seems to be trending this year. To show the materials’ versatility, Milan’s Spotti showroom hosted a variety of vignetters with an extensive collection of iconic mid-century furniture upholstered in the collection.
Marni “Animal House”
As with last year, Marni again hosted a charity-driven installation of furniture and sculpture just outside the city center. Giraffes, ostriches, rabbits, ducks, donkeys, and flamingos, each made of metal and brightly colored PVC by a group of Colombian craftswomen, dominated the landscape of a perfectly deteriorating indoor/outdoor space. Every aspect of lighthearted installation played on the collection’s theme of asymmetry.
While ceramic, copper, and cork continued to dominate, it seemed bright colors, too, were having a moment in industrial design. From big brands at Salone del Mobile to the playful work of more up-and-coming designers showing in the Ventura Lambrate and Brera Districts, cool hues were cleverly being utilized across the board. Drawing on all aforementioned materials, Something Good—a new concept brand focused on the next generation of Italian design—did well to stand out with its second-ever collection.
Marimekko Unikko 50th Anniversary Installation
Marimekko’s most celebrated design turns 50 this year, and to commemorate the iconic Unikko poppy pattern—designed by Maija Isola in 1964—the Finnish brand debuted a modest installation housing the new anniversary collection of textiles and homewares. While the color added a nice burst of energy to the environment, a loft within the area packed with pillows offered a momentary refuge for exhausted design enthusiasts.
Safilo x Marc Newson
Italian eyewear brand Safilo recently tapped famed Australian industrial designer Marc Newson to create a new range of frames. Inspired by Safilo’s 80th anniversary, Newson drew on vintage silhouettes seen in the Safilo archives for his five new designs. Milan institution 10 Corso Como hosted the launch of the capsule collection, alongside an installation at the Triennale Design Museum.
Palace Skateboards Pop-Off Shop
Coinciding with design week, Milan’s celebrated streetwear purveyor Slam Jam set off on the first of many events to celebrate its 25th anniversary, starting with a pop-up shop for London’s Palace Skateboards. Inside the “Pop-Off” shop, you found the entire current collection of softgoods, a range of exclusive Italian-inspired colorways, and vinyl from Palace’s recent collaboration with house DJ Theo Parish’s Sound Signature.
Nike Aero-static Dome Installation and Event Space
To introduce the new Kobe 9 Elite Low HTM, Nike created a multipurpose gathering space near the famous Duomo Cathedral. Designed by Miniwiz founder Arthur Huang, the Aero-static Dome installation was a buoyant structure entirely supported by the movement of air. The public space hosted daily design talks, while a series of display cases offered a detailed view of both the Kobe 9 HTM and the new Magista football boot—all while simultaneously anchoring the dome via thread and carbon fiber.