Innovation, creativity, design: Milan Design Week 2014

Salone del Mobile MilanThe last edition of the Milan Design Week and the Salone del Mobile ended last Sunday and it’s been one of the most interesting, crowded, appealing in the last seven years, in my opinion. The exhibition has established as the most important international design fair, leading innovation and spreading trends and knowledge perks in the design community worldwide. A fresh air, boosting business and creativity.
More than 1.700 companies and 650 young designers in the Salone Satellite didn’t betray the expectations and involved more than 350.000 visitors from 160 countries. An unprecedented crowd of professionals, designers, architects, journos, trendsetters with a 13% increase compared to the last edition.

In the universe of design trends expressed by this edition of the Salone, we noticed how wood is being widely used in new ways, communicating more empathy fro the product to the final user. Marble and stone materials are also an interesting design trend with smart interpretations pointing to a further evolution in living areas of houses and residential projects.

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This edition was also the first one for big names in the fashion and luxury industry like Ferré, Ungaro and others as well as top design companies like Tom Dixon, Poltrona Frau (first year under Haworth) and famous former exhibitors like Thonet and Wittman.
Young designers in the Salone Satellite attended a great edition too, with a record of visitors and the wide media coverage of the Satellite Award 2014. From Studio, an Italy-based multicultural design studio won the first prize with Volta Lamp, a directional LED lighting device, thanks to the relevant technical study expressing concrete functionality and user friendly formal solutions.

Beyond the prize and the special mentions awarded, there were two exhibitors extremely interesting and innovative, considering their ability to merge with the international design trends: ALO Architecture and Build Republic.
ALO is an architecture firm based in Sardinia (Italy) and showed its space intensifiers: multifunctional furniture elements “almost alive” and interacting with users and the environment providing lighting and sound effects. A kind of synesthetic interpretation of space, in the era of augmented reality reshaping our daily tech diet.

Space Intensifiers - by ALO Architecture

Space Intensifiers – by ALO Architecture

Build Republic is a design studio based in Hong Kong defining itself as a designer network led by Jervis Chua: a visionary designer awarded in many international architecture prizes who revolutionized several industrial brands (LH, Cartier, Mont Blanc, Samsung and others). “We design to build sense, to build culture, to build brand” a philosophy extremely connected with present and future trends in the international design community.
These guys showed their UOOK project (from spoken Cantonese “郁”that means move): basically a wall organizer and a modular stool to optimize spaces in living spaces. The idea is to have a deep connection with cities like Hong Kong where the population density generates great challenges in organizing spaces and common living habits. The photo gallery below is quite interesting.

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Finally we couldn’t miss a visit to the exhibition Where do the architects live? Set up in the middle of the Salone to share the experience of visiting several private houses of architecture stars like Bellini, Shigeru Ban, Fuksas, Zaha Hadid and others. The most interesting one was the Shigeru Ban’s house, not only because of the recent Prikter Prize, but because the dreaming atmosphere in the oval elements inside the booth teletransported the visitors into a unique urban suggestion and a minimal spot to his design philosophy.

It’s been an unprecedented edition of the fair, boosting the faith into the creativity and innovative energy of the international design community.

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