The Milan Furniture Fair 2010 is history - so is the ash cloud. As always, we are left with an almost unfathomable amount of new products. To conclude our coverage on Milan, let us take a profane look at the products that have particularly impressed us this year. Just like in previous years, we are aware that we cannot provide a complete overview; a small grain of subjectivity is permitted, albeit not absolutely necessary.
For the sake of simplicity, we will proceed alphabetically and here, the letter A makes for a great start. Under the new label Agapecasa, high-end bathroom manufacturers Agape have launched a re-edition of wonderful furniture designs by Angelo Mangiarotti. Among them is the chair "Tre3"that elegantly combines the traditional materials of wood and leather.
Few Italian companies master the art of building cubic furniture as does Acerbis. The shelving system "Newind" by Lodovio Averbis highlights these skills. With its "Vista Girevole", the firm Albed has floated another exciting shelving system which can also double up as an elegant partition. The traditional design workshop Alias, which recently left the Poltrona Frau Group, has continued its successful collaboration with Alfredo Häberli: The chair "Selinunte" is prime testimony to the fact. The chair "Team" by Arper boasts a plain and unpretentious look. It is mostly designed for rooms that need to be redecorated frequently and quickly. Lievore/Altherr/Molina, who also presented the "Woody" chair series at Andreu World in Milan, are the design minds behind it. The divan bed "Nonaro" designed by past master Luigi Caccia Dominioni -yes, he is still around -whose heritage is unremittingly re-edited and maintained by Azucena, was undoubtedly a great highlight of the trade fair.
B&B Italia were as always not among the fair stands but in the classy showroom on Via Durini and impressed visitors this year with children's armchair "Piccolo Papilio" by Naoto Fukasawa. Indeed, in 2010 the Japanese designer seems to be omnipresent and his independent and timeless formal language is an enrichment for every collection.
Konstantin Grcic extended his B collection with the "B Chair" for Bd Barcelona. The classic-looking wooden chair is held together by an aluminum structure. It has already become a classic!
On Via Solferino, in addition to the "Solferino" system of wardrobes created by Decoma Design and Piero Lissoni, which can be positioned in a seamless line, Boffi also presented the new collection of Aboutwater faucets designed by Piero Lissoni and Naoto Fukasawa. For Aboutwater Boffi and Fantini teamed up, pooling their skills. In the case of Cappelini, the works by Yael Mer and Shay Alkalay (Raw edges design studio) which they created using the "tailored wood" technique common in the clothing industry stood out.
With his sofa creation "Notturno" and his table series "Sessantuna", bringing to mind Italy's independence in 1861 (and the 150th anniversary is just round the corner in 2011), Gaetano Pesce was the star at Cassina. Moreover, Cassina presented Piero Lissoni's complex sofa "Aire" - the main focus here is on sustainability, as 80% of the sofas can be recycled and they only contain 65% of the polyurethane foam used for conventional sofas.
At its beautiful showroom on Via Savona with its large exterior, Dedon proudly presented the new joint work with Philippe Starck. The master himself attended the launch of the "Play" series and stayed long into the night, or so informed circles reported. Things were a bit quieter in the case of Desalto. With "Sand light" by Dondoli & Pocci, the chair experts from Brianza dished up an aluminum chair with a seat and backrest made of PVC, free polyester fabric. An elegant and comfortable solution!
At Superstudio on Via Tortona, Diesel Successful Living, a joint venture of fashion label Diesel and Foscarini, surprised us with a range of new luminaire designs. In the case of Driada, we were particularly impressed with the "Plie" outdoor collection, created by Roberto and Ludovica Palomba.
This year, the chair "Houdini" by Stefan Diez was accompanied by the e15 sofa, chaise longue and stool. It is admirable how, despite many projects, Diez manages to still concentrate his energy and thus deliver first-rate quality time and again.
And what about Established&Sons? The designers from London - and it is virtually a tradition now - guested at Pelota Hall on Via Palermo, where they presented a wide range of new products, including the table "Bend" by Sebastian Wrong which is made entirely of ceramic, the luminaire "Lighthouse" by the Bouroullec brothers, and storage boxes by Schloten & Baijings, printed with ecological motifs and animals that are threatened by extinction.
Foscarini, who were also present simultaneously at Frankfurt's Light+Building trade fair, namely at the furnishing house Frick, impressed us with an atmospheric staging at Superstudio and with new products such as the pendant lamp "Troag" by Luca Nichetto.
The new chair "NAP" by Kasper Salto as well as its background and creative process were at the heart of Fritz Hansen's presentation. The Danish successfully placed a single product on center stage, spotlighting it effectively and comprehensively.
Gaggenau succeeded in impressing visitors with its particularly successful stand design rather than with new products. For years, the presentations of the German company have strongly influenced the shape of styles to come. In this context, we also positively remember the Gaggenau stand at The Design Annual 2008 in Frankfurt.
Once again, Richard Lampert showed off his perfect mixture of re-editions and modified classics and new products such as the modular system of cupboards "Wall" by Alexander Seifried.
In the case of Lapalma the stool sculpture "AP" by Shin Azumi (it is made of a single piece of plywood) was a real eye-catcher. Magis, whose presentation was once again among the best, presented a range of new products. The "Mesh Chair" by Tom Dixon (its development took many years) consists of a wood or aluminum structure and a wire-cloth seat and was definitely one of the numerous highlights.
Also worthy of mention is the "Flow" chair designed by Jean Marie Massaud for MDF, the cupboard "Net Box" cupboard made of extruded metal by Patricia Urquiola for Molteni and the "Memory Chair" by Tokuyin Yoshioka for Moroso.
Prior to the fair, Nils Holger Moormann made a real splash with a "dis-invitation", claiming his stand would be too small anyway to welcome any visitors. Those who defied his notice were rewarded, not least due to the cupboard "K1" by neuland industrial design, whose pronounced horizontal slats are at once a design and functional element.
Also very appealing were the presentations by molo design, which complemented its paper sculptures with the luminaire collection "cloud softlight", and by Pastoe - we had already pointed to the company's fruitful interaction with Vincent van Duysen prior to the fair. The highlight at this exhibition: the shelf sculpture "Totem". Plank devoted itself to the completion of the "Monza" series by Konstantin Grcic which now also encompasses a chair and a table.
The new kitchen +Artesio by Poggenpohl fully met our expectations in terms of aesthetics, elegance and design quality. Poltrona Frau impressed us with the sofa "Bebop" by that virtuoso of Italian design Cini Boeri, as well as with the outdoor seats "Pillow" by Stefano Giovannoni at Vondom. Quinze & Milan staged its typically upbeat presentation. Here the chair "Topart" by the Kibisi group of designers was particularly noteworthy.
In the form of "Dessus", Ruckstuhl presented a new series of rugs in which the cotton strips that normally form the carpet's frame have become the carpet itself. A very intriguing idea! The "Layer" acoustic panels which Arik Levy designed for Viccarbe and which can be combined to form veritable wall sculptures was also very appealing.
With its range of exciting new products by Luca Nichetto, among others, Tacchini was responsible for one of the positive surprises. Nichetto, who celebrated his definite breakthrough at this year's Salone, is probably the most talented of the young Italian designers.
Thonet, too, offered many exciting products; not least the successful stand design by James Irvine. Here, we would like to draw special attention to the table "1010" by Marc Venot.
In the guise of the "T-Ray" sofa Hadi Teherani has created a timeless classic for Walter Knoll. The same holds true for the much-praised chair "Wogg 50" by Jörg Boner who was certainly one of the most outstanding products of this trade fair.
At Vitra there were likewise countless new products, such as the "Suita" sofa designed by Antonio Citterio, the larger-size "Lounge Chair", and the "Plastic Chair", which is now once more available in a fully upholstered version. In the form of "Chairless", created by Alejandro Aravena, and "Flower" by SANAA, Vitra has started collaborating with two new designers for its products.
To conclude, we would like to mention the sofa "1330 William" by Damian Williamson for Zanotta, the bed "Mellow" by Formstelle für Zeitraum, and the container furniture "X2 Korpus" by Dante Bonuccelli for Zoom by Mobimex.