For the second year running, Milan’s Zona Tortona feels more like Zona Tortura, a nightclub dotted with big brand showrooms, than the former creative epicenter of the Salone furniture fair that it has been for years. Dance music pulses out of black-curtained buildings past the large men (bouncers?) dressed in black suits that guard them while costumed kids handed out free drink tickets. For those seeking a slower-tempo compliment to the commercial fair center at Tortona, the best relief is Ventura Lambrate, where the warehouses surrounding the polytechnic university—themselves beautiful objects of architectural design—are filled with student work, some fresh takes on old products and materials, and design that borders on art. Check out our slideshow of what to see at Ventura Lambrate.
Sander Mulder’s studio is showing a new bar pendant light that can be dimmed by touching a void at the midpoint of the light, turned off by folding the entire object downwards from the middle, and turned on by returning the two halves to alignment.
Nendo has several shows at satellite events and the fairgrounds, but these tables, which look like metal pieces for outdoor use are actually made from bamboo.
In Ventura Lambrate at the Enrico Fornello Gallery, the Analogia Project by Andrea Mancuso and Emilia Serra consisted of a cozy interior "sketched" in three dimensions using wires and wool.
Christian Zuzunaga has taken his exquisite pixelated color field patterns from upholstery and fabric into carpets and now scarves, blankets. In the midst of his display, a craftsman worked a pedal loom showing how Zuzunaga’s colorful pieces are woven.
Inside one building, Royal College of Art students present an exhibition entitled Paradise, featuring rooms paneled with huge sheets of colored acetate and displays assembled from silvered or transparent rolls of thick mylar that they belted with Velcro strips. The exhibition marks the school’s 175th anniversary and featured work by over 90 students and recent grads from multiple disciplines.
Students demonstrated how they had make soft cotton candy-like tufts called PolyFlos from upcycled plastic products that they then mold into various new objects, including colorful--and tactile--vases and bowls.
This simple wooden chair by Brazil-born, Italian designer Antonio Aricò features a seat that fits onto the diminutive arms like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle.
For the Lebanese Carwan Gallery, New York-based Lindsey Adams Adelman worked with craftsman Blatt Chaya to create the exquisite geometric pattern of the Refraction Tiles using marble and concrete powder in a limited edition of nine tile designs—which will expire within one year.
The Danish Crafts show includes everything from textiles to chairs but the most interesting artifact is hidden away downstairs where participant’s processes and materials were explained in what was essentially a succinct three-dimensional infographic: Items involved in the creative and fabrication process are hung on cables stretching from floor to ceiling with one designer’s work per cable. One project includes two magnetized wooden tambourine-like forms that hold the two (physically) unconnected halves of the cable taut.