Hello and Welcome to DOCENT - your guide to design intelligence, creative solutions and earthly beauty.
Today’s DOCENT Briefing highlights my favorite captures from Salone del Mobile 2019. Hint: This year I relished the excitement of Milan in real-time through the eyes of my brilliant friends and colleagues via Instagram - while I opted for family time on the Oregon Coast and the beaches of Tamarindo, Costa Rica. It was just the quantum leap I needed to take!
DESIGN WEEK DARLINGS
FORMAFANTASMA: My intensive “studio years” spent garnering a B.F.A. in Glass and Ceramics before moving on to study Interior Design have always propelled me towards craft-conscious, chic artists who get their hands dirty and let the materials lead. This explains my ongoing attraction to Amsterdam-based design duo FORMAFANTASMA. Their installation/creation/collab with Dzek was visually rich and minimally austere. "Ex-Cinere" is a series of refined volcanic-ash-glazed tiles suitable for both interior and exterior surfaces, from bathrooms to façade cladding. Here are some quotes from Andrea and Simone about this work...
"We always think that, as designers, we have to decide things, but the world also decides things for us. In this case, the ferrous colours and final tile format were determined by Mount Etna. Volcanic ash is the grainy aftermath of molten magma that has erupted from under the planet’s crust. We’d been considering pastels and almost artificial colours, but these tones are more like life, and they bring back a quality that’s disappearing in architecture, which is the non-uniformity of colour."
MICHAEL ANASTASSIADES: Long term Flos collaborator Michael Anastassiades created a new lighting system called "Coordinates". The system consists of horizontal and vertical strip lights that form custom illuminated grid-like structures across ceilings. A second lighting system by Anastassiades, called "My Circuit", is made up of simple individual curved and linear sections that can be joined together to create custom configurations. Mounted on the ceiling, the curved sections can be used in tandem with five pendant fixtures which are fixed along the track. As Michael's most adoring fan, I always look forward to the reveal of his next works.
PATRICIA URQUIOLA: Speaking of "Nuances", her collab with Gan Rugs: "While felt is typically a winter material, we worked with colors and patterns with a terrace effect to make surfaces lighter, less dense. The waves, the stripes, the color gradients are my ‘obsession’: they’re part of an aesthetic research that began with marble some years ago, and I’ve now transferred to different materials, from wood to fabrics."
VON ELLRICHSHAUSEN + DE CASTELLI: I consider blurring the lines between Art, Architecture, Interior Design, Sculpture and Experience - my life's mandate. Chilean duo PEZO VON ELLRICHSHAUSEN + DE CASTELLI have mastered this skill with their installation called "ECHO" at Palazzo Litta. "This mysterious object inspires a sensitive adherence between the interior and exterior settings...The exterior of Echo, covered with a mirrored surface, reflects the baroque colonnade and the two upper orders that make up the courtyard of the building. In contrast, the interior reveals the sky, a natural element isolated from the city. The installation establishes a relationship between art and architecture announcing the surrounding environment through a visual echo. It’s an open object, both restricted and expansive, visible and invisible, solid and ethereal. It’s a deceptive artifact and a form that resonates with the dimensions and proportions of the courtyard”. The pavilion alternates between appearances, reflections, and disappearance”. At ground level visitors encounter an unprecedented version of the monument, by looking up they see themselves reflected on an impressive tilted ceiling. Upon entering into the central room, into a massive steel grid frame, the weight of the historical architecture.
NILUFAR FROM HERE
Discovering, Crossing, Creating...
Nina Yashar's Nilufar Depot is a magical place. On my first visit to this fantastical furniture gallery (opened en masse in 2015), I was breathless for nearly two hours - snapping over 200 pictures while taking in a completely unique vista of composition, color, material and detail at each turn or even slight shift of my eyes. This year's exhibitions proved no different. Experienced only through myriad camera lenses the exhibitions and compositions still left me breathless. Deprived of physical touch this year, I found myself collecting more back story on this design world wonder. Here I selected a few translated excerpts from the Nilufar website...
"Nilufar gives life to projects, editions, site-specific shows and publications, working both with great masters and emerging authors. Nilufar has its own small manifesto, composed of three words: Discovering, Crossing, Creating. The history of taste is a never-ending exercise of decomposition and re-composition, just like a kaleidoscope... Milan is an interesting lab and a privileged point to observe the euphoric and restless scene of design."
A collection of furniture pieces with presence and poise captured my feed and became instantly timeless. A single curving tube flows into the form of a chair (Atelier de Troupe), folded leather strips create a dense, decorative surface (Apparatus) and translucent glass forms structures to envelop space (Glas Italia).
YOU LIGHT UP MY EUROLUCE
Euroluce, the International Lighting Exhibition, runs every two years since 1976 and presents the most innovative solutions in the field of light for interiors. At this 29th edition, it is recognized as the global benchmark lighting exhibition, where technological innovation and design culture take center stage. My eye is always captured by glowing sculptural specimens and unusual floating forms. Here are a few favorites I collected as their stories passed by...
Colors and textures, patterns and materials, modern innovations next to primal classics intertwining and overlapping at every turn. For me, a favorite pastime while at the Milan furniture fair is to visually study these design relationships in their astonishing - if only temporary - habitats.
Using Instagram as my instrument of quantum mechanics, this year my "trip to Milan" was as stunning as ever. Perhaps the filtered and edited view even better? Of course, the experience moves far beyond only the visual senses (hello, risotto), so I could never forego the in-person visit completely. But for a change this year, a little remote beach time with my device in-hand undoubtedly provided the best of both worlds. PURA VIDA!
If you enjoyed this DOCENT Briefing and you were at the fair this year, send me a note with your favorite finds. I'd love to see even more treasures through your eyes!
Until Next time -
SPECIAL THANKS to my LOVE @graye_la who escorts me to the fair and keeps me attuned to the highest order of beauty year round. If you see anything in this post you'd like to inquire about, call Graye. Maria Cicione and her team will guide you.
BRAVO and GRAZIE to my REAL-LIFE Instagram friends @saradt @natashabaradaran@abfabgram @gc_collaborative @gardeshop @arielfoxdesign and @rum_idfor their perspectives and captures from this year's Salone del Mobile in Milano, Italy.