Milan Design Week New Designers Roundup
It would be impossible to do justice to the thousands of new designers who showed their works across Milan during the design week, much of which are as likely to delight as they are to bewilder. They all contribute to the wonderful design ecosystem in which we thrive; we love their enthusiasm and applaud their boundless optimism. Here is our selection of new designers whose works caught our eye.
One of our highlights at the SaloneSatellite was Hong Kong based designer Edmond Wong. His ingenious Fit-niture collection includes tables, chairs, benches and shelving units that have fitness equipment built-in to encourage users to keep fit at home. The elegant X bench (winner of the second prize at the SaloneSatellite award) transforms into a workout bench, the metal structures of the chairs and wall-mounted shelves provide support for dips and pull-ups respectively, whilst a balancing ball and dumbbell weights in marble are cunningly disguised as part of two different floor lights. No space for a gym at home? Not an excuse anymore, I'm afraid.
There was no shortage of interesting shelving units on show at the SaloneSatellite but few were as futuristic and sculptural as the Line Series shelf designed by Chinese designer Wu Wei Wei. Made of slim metal supports and angular planes in polished stainless steel, this super slick bookshelf conveys a sense of dynamism and looks very space age.
Multifunctional furniture was all the rage too. We particularly enjoyed the streamlined construction and colourful perspex screens of the Split & Store storage system cum room divider by Eindhoven-based design studio Rens.
We also liked Brecht 001, the unique wall-leaning shelf / rack / chair / ladder designed by Japanese design collective Pivoto, selected as part of SaloneSatellite's 20th anniversary "best of" exhibition.
Dutch designer Lambert Kamps presented the Tube Lamp clock, a huge, delightfully low-tech and probably extremely energy inefficient digital clock made using moving pneumatic tube lamps. Watching time pass has rarely been so much fun.
Dutch designer David Derksen is no stranger to the SaloneSatellite. For this year's edition he presented the Sway and Lucid lights, both of which play with materials and transparency. The Sway lights have half-pipe shaped shades made with metal foam while the Lucid lights are made with perforated metal sheets. They both look unexpectedly light and translucent, creating beautifully diffused light.
Singaporean Olivia Lee presented the Athena collection, a series of furniture designed for the modern day Athena in her latest incarnation as the goddess of technology. Her Altar (vanity table) comes with interchangeable Sceptres (table accessories), ranging from a mirror with a ring light to provide perfect illumination for a spot of pre-selfie grooming to a smartphone stand with alternative positions for taking selfies or video calls in a standing or sitting position. We also like the multi-textured Arena carpet, designed to let her toes feel where the boundaries are, apparently very useful when one is goggled-up in a virtual reality headset. Shape of things to come, perhaps?
Shop the Style
Surprising and slightly surreal accessories are wonderful gift ideas. Try the Goat Mug portable coffee holder from Goat Story, the Anna apron from Ugi and the Holy Homes bird church bird feeder from Frederik Roije.
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The elegant and minimalist furniture by Belgian designer Casimir is not only beautiful: by stripping his designs to their core, the designer often reveals thought-provoking questions and also a hint of subversion.
The Design Academy in Eindhoven has a well-earned reputation for nurturing future design stars. It should therefore come as no surprise that their graduation show is full of delightful and thought-provoking design ideas.