On the Margins in Milan

Bobo the Beaver was there, Patricia went picnicking, there were no-calorie petit fours, pink flamingos and colorful bears – and whoever so wanted could even walk on water. Yes, really!

You encounter all manner of things on the margins of the Salone in Milan. Wherever you go and wherever you look: Eventi, Eventi. This year, the Stylepark team was once again in the thick of things.


Ever since a towering blond has been playing at US president, lying has evidently become a matter of state. So it almost amounts to a political statement when, in the “Giro Giro Tondo – Design for Kids” exhibition at the Triennale (and yes it is well worth visiting), alongside all manner of toys there is also a large collection of Pinocchios on show. After all, marionettes have existed since time immemorial. Although not all of them get long noses when they lie. (tw)


Gandia Blasco, Emu, Gloster and other makers of outdoor furniture show how to do it, namely how to live outside when summer comes. We can only stare jealously at the enchantingly beautiful sunshades, daybeds, poufs and outdoor recliners, and dream of warmer weather. And now Patricia Urquiola has made the theme of “eating outdoors” her own – what is more, she has done so in the “to go” version. It almost seems as if with her stylish “Benda” picnic set, which was on show at Superstudio in the Zona Tortona, she has succeeded in combining the Hermès look with that of Kartell. Buon appetito! (ua)


You can feel just like a bunny with its buddies or a flamingo in a sea of flamingos not just anywhere, but in a department store. Should you like that childish feeling (and hey, you can choose from boars, frogs, seals and other animals, too, if you like), then you’re bound to find the right armchair in the AP Collection created by Belgians Alexis Verstraeten and Pauline Montironi. (tw)


The more offbeat the better would seem to be the motto at Studio Job. The two Dutch designers dreamed up these containers for Qeeboo. An absolute must for all fans of Jaws, as you can always stuff something in that fierce mouth – such as flowers, umbrellas, or maybe even a scrubbing brush. (mm)


Anyone wanting the perfect red mouth pouting for a kiss needs patience and a steady hand. And that likewise is true of the soft-and-fluffy variant: To get Gufram’s “Bocca” pimped by Moschino settee up into thin air using a forklift – and ensure it stayed there – the good man really had his work cut out for him, however. (am)


Glasses are long since not just something that help you see better, but a fashionable accessory to be selected to best match the occasion and outfit. Word on this seems certainly to have gotten around, as can be seen from the “Moooi x Gentle Monster” collection. (tw)


The “La Rinascente” department store next to Milan Cathedral always comes up with a very special window display on the occasion of the Salone. This year, the task was ably handled by Italian artist Paola Pivi, who conjured up all manner of polar bears in the windows – in different poses and different colors. The one goes paddling through the air, the other lounges around, a third gets squeezed by a heap of garbage. Incidentally, it was poet Gabriele d’Annunzio who in 1917 gave the store a new image and proposed a new company name: “La Rinascente” (those who are born again). It alluded at the end of World War I to the rebirth of the Italian nation. (tw)


“Hands Up!” is the slogan at the Qubus booth, where Czech designer Jakub Berdych Karpelis not only resurrects the jewelry hands that were rightly laid to rest at the latest at the end of the 1990s, but even gives them new tasks in life: Instead of necklaces or rings, the gleaming white imitation can either hold up a gilt luminaire, a mirror or a tray. In the candlestick version, all the fingers slowly burn down to thumb height. If it’s any consolation: There’ll be no trigger-pulling as long as the porcelain hands continue to reach for the sky. (am)


At Poltrona Frau, which has been designing the interior of the Ferrari sportscars for ages now, automobile expertise and residential living have now melded into one. The result is neither a driver’s seat nor is it simply a piece of furniture; it is, or so we can read, an “office chair that emulates the feeling of speed, dynamism and passion of driving a racing car,” and which succeeds in “conveying the pleasant feeling of having your back supports by the backrest and seat, irrespective of your posture or movement.” To celebrate Ferrari’s 70th anniversary, we’d have preferred to go for a spin round the block in the LaFerrari Aperta that was on the stand. (tw)


Don’t bite into this candy without thinking twice: They may look sweet, but at second glance you’ll see their true consistency – which is soft and fluffy. Denmark’s Design School Kolding has opened a “Redo Super Supermarket” in Ventura Lambrate: The range of offerings consists of imaginative foodstuffs, cooked up by the students from offcuts from 14 different manufacturers, and including “petit fours” made from Kvadrat fabrics. Sink your teeth into them! (am)


There are many Old Masters in Holland, several of whom are represented in the product show at Palazzo Francesco Turati – along with tulips in the inner courtyard. This “Salonpoef” ostensibly combines the properties of a stool with those of a couch table. And since the table also has to be an “eye-catcher”, this being indispensable in our image-glutted age, Jan Vermeer’s painting “The Milkmaid” has been foisted upon it. Whereby at any rate the latter was a past master of his profession. (tw)


Anyone who has seen the sci-fi movie “Short Circuit” will appreciate the delight that the JCP luminaires “Betoo” and “Threeve” have caused. Unlike the military robot No. 5, which comes to life in the film, the two metal luminaires stay exactly where you put them and concentrate solely on performing their task of providing their human co-inhabitants with light. Or, as artist Alistair Gentry puts it: “At the end of time / When humans live in darkness / Robots see for them.” (am)


Now what could an homage to the joie de vivre on the famous Copacabana beach, or possibly on the Lido in Venice, look like? For Nodus, David Elia decided the part could best be played by a woolen carpet: “Veneza Carioca” references the wavy pattern of basalt and limestone that architect Roberto Burle Marx chose for the promenade in Rio and combines it with the most important part of any flip-flop as the prototypical beachwear. It may be woolen, but it evokes that vacation mood. (am)


During a chat one evening recently someone commented that sitting is the new smoking, and simply out. Small surprise then that furniture makers are currently being quite imaginative about overcoming a rigid sitting position and transforming it into a more active approach. “Sports at work” would seem to be the adage. However, just exactly how this system is meant to function is anyone’s guess. (mm)


At the Triennale there’s a highly diverse show of current Hong Kong design. Here, Chinese architect Gary Chang presents a living wall for a home with a tiny footprint. His solution hinges on a structured stack: from the workstation and kitchenette to the standing lamp, all of it fits in the wall. But you might be forgiven finding this method for solving the housing shortage a bit oppressive. (am)


You’ll need comfy shoes to get around the Salone – and yes, they should look stylish, too. It’s therefore great that the world of fashion currently supports the female body rather than being something that has to be endured. As the skater-shoe version being worn by the informed female design public in Milan at the moment (often with platform soles and countless details, such as thick draped bows) are not only ultra-comfortable, but can even be worn with a long evening dress. To the joy of all the women and possibly to the annoyance of all (or most) men. (mm)


We christened him “Bobo the Beaver”. Because when we were gifted this sweet plastic figure – he’s about 40 centimeters tall – as a giveaway at the PlusT trade-fair booth, we simply found him irresistible. And made every effort to get him back to Frankfurt safe and sound. Which certainly paid off, as our bosses’ kids simply love him! (mm)


Thank God there are time-based media. Because there we were forever believing you had to have special abilities to be able to walk on water. We learned different at the Triennale: The Sanlorenzo wharf knows how to achieve this, into the bargain completely without a yacht! (tw)


The “Up in the air” side table by Ramón Úbeda and Otto Canalda holds the eye: Anyone looking at it more closely will find a small goldfish looking out at them, seemingly swimming away in the depths of the cylindrical table. And for anyone who wants to grant a home to an entire family of fish under glass next to the sofa, Viccarbe also produces a version with more than one handmade aquatic inhabitant. (am)


“Smart phones – dumb people” makes a real statement. Now and again every one of us needs time out from the digitally networked age. Anyone wanting to so do not just by pressing the off switch, but by celebrating the fact in style, should simply lay their hands on one of these concrete mobile coffins, which Branch and Concreteworks presented as part of the Handmade exhibition organized by Wallpaper. (mm)