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MILAN DESIGN WEEK 2016

This year marked the 55th anniversary of the grand-messe of design: il ‘Salone del Mobile’ di Milano. 

The entire city was buzzing- from tiny courtyards, to pompous Palazzos and from the historical city centre to Milan’s industrial outskirts, Design was EVERYWHERE!

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Furniture manufacturers never miss the ‘rendez-vous’ of impressing visitors with extravagant stands and merchandising. This year ZANOTTA set-up a bucolic landscape where colourful objects popped-out of a lush garden. KARTELL and many others went bold and colourful, with a kaleidoscope reflecting their well-known characteristics and presented an epitome of their own history. 

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The eternal discussion between the old and new, traditional versus contemporary was once more played beautifully with classical reinterpretation showcased in an exhibition ‘Before design: Classic’. Ornate armchairs clad with bright vinyl, trompe-l’oeil paintings and gold was used as the essence of the classical era spread in a series of rooms following a classical layout. Others such as JAN KATH Carpets had a similar approach at Palazzo Litta where classic motifs were revealed and seemed to have escaped destruction.

Playing with a contrast of textures and styles other winners included, BACCARAT presenting giant crystal features in oversized wooden crates and BAROVIER&TOSO by Paola Navone reinterpreting ‘yurts’ made of timber referencing nomadic lifestyle opposed to luxurious chandeliers.

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The courtyard of Palazzo Francesco Turati was covered with tulips to celebrate the first Dutch Pavillion at the Salone. In a overly-ornate décor, Dutch designers presented objects like the copper bicycle by Bart Van Heesch and ceramic flower holders of Judith Bloedjes.

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After a hectic trail in the city we were pleased to find respite at the Urban Tree Lounge designed by Stefano Boeri for 3M at Superstudio piu in Zona Tortona. Made entirely from sustainable materials, it echoes the 70’s design by PANTON whilst giving comfort and relaxation to fatigued visitors.

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Finally, immersed in the mesmerising atmosphere of the CITIZEN exhibition called “time is Time”, visitors navigate through two spaces created by thousands of watch plates mounted on fish wires and reflecting lights. As you walk through the space you constantly get both geometry and organic perspectives relating to the ever changing notion of time.  

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After three days of design overload we have started having withdrawal symptoms back here in London. 

Now, looking forward to the London Design Festival! 

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