Miss You, Milan: Kelly Hoppen, Nika Zupanc, Marcantonio Malerba in reflection

In our Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) series courtesy of FLOS, Hoppen, Zupanc and Malerba show solidarity for the Milan Design Week amid COVID-19.

by STIRworld Published on : Apr 17, 2020

It is the indomitable creative spirit of Milan that makes it resilient in the face of crisis, with the thriving design community holding it together with fond memories and an enduring togetherness. 

As the Salone del Mobile stands cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the world now awaits the 60th edition next year from April 13-18, it is fond memories, fun flashbacks and candid moments that keep the fraternity going strong amid a world quarantine.

STIR believes that in such times of crisis, it is important to recall the strength of solidarity and open the conversation to creative leaders from around the world so that we all heal a little with the collective sharing of hope and positivity. We reached out to luminaries from around the world to know what they miss and what they remember most fondly from the world's biggest design fair and the city of Milan.

In part 4 of Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.), we present reflections from South Africa-born British interior designer Kelly Hoppen, Slovenian product and interior designer Nika Zupanc, and Italian designer Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba.

Kelly Hoppen

South Africa-born British interior designer Kelly Hoppen | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
South Africa-born British interior designer Kelly Hoppen Image Credit: Nick Haddow

South Africa-born British interior designer Kelly Hoppen has spent over 40 years at the forefront of design, and this is the first time that she has been faced with an important question about how to conduct business. “I think this is the time for reflection; this is the first time in my life that I have been in isolation. You realise that if you stand outside the box, we can all stand for each other and still do business. I think we can get through this, so let’s do this together,” she urges.

For her, the city of Milan during the Salone del Mobile has always been a celebration of the spontaneous spirit of surprise and creativity. “Milan is always very unexpected, so I was looking forward to seeing some innovative and creative designs,” she says, hoping that life returns to normalcy soon. “What am I missing? You get to meet new people and see amazing new pieces of furniture and products,” says the founder of Kelly Hoppen Interiors, who is a fan of the Bagutta restaurant in the city.

02 mins watch Swarovski Crystal Wonderland Party in Milan | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
Kelly Hoppen shares this memory of the Swarovski Crystal Wonderland Party in Milan Video Credit: Courtesy of Alina Ceusan

Some of her favourite brands to visit at the fair are Flexform, Duistt, Minotti, La Chance Paris, 1920 R – Made in Italy, Baxter (“probably one of the best during Milan”), Sergey Makhno Architects, Catellani & Smith, Brokis and Sé.

While all this action would have to wait until 2021, she has the year ahead envisioned clearly. “If I had to STIR things up in 2020, it would be with total motivation, positivity, focus, and try to figure out new ways to do business.”

02 mins watch Celebrated interior designer Kelly Hoppen for M.A.M.A.| Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
Celebrated interior designer Kelly Hoppen for M.A.M.A. Video Credit: Courtesy of Kelly Hoppen

Nika Zupanc

Slovenian product and interior designer Nika Zupanc | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
Slovenian product and interior designer Nika Zupanc Image Credit: Archive of Nika Zupanc

Slovenian product and interior designer Nika Zupanc does not believe in trends per se, but she was hoping to see a more significant shift at the Salone del Mobile this year. “I was expecting to see the ‘meta trend’ of real and true sustainability being materialised, applied and shown through a number of projects and products. I believe this meta trend is marking the shift of the way in which we live and will live in our society, and it is so big and undeniable that it has to override all other smaller trends.”

  • Nika Zupanc with her product, Secrets Bar | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
    Nika Zupanc with her product, Secrets Bar, for Scarlet Splendour Image Credit: Archive of Nika Zupanc
  • Nika Zupanc pictured here with her Full Moon Floor Lamp | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
    Nika Zupanc pictured here with her Full Moon Floor Lamp Image Credit: Archive of Nika Zupanc
  • Nika Zupanc’s Stardust Sofa, Olympia Mirror and Pride Mirror, among her other designs | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
    Nika Zupanc’s Stardust Sofa, Olympia Mirror and Pride Mirror, among her other designs Image Credit: Archive of Nika Zupanc

A believer of what she calls ‘Milano magic’, Nika explains the phenomenon as the “biggest secret of Milano Design Week, which you get, if you stir up creativity, innovation, business and meeting all the people that you usually meet”.

  • Nika Zupanc with gallerist and curator, Rossana Orlandi | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
    Nika Zupanc with gallerist and curator, Rossana Orlandi Image Credit: Archive of Nika Zupanc
  • Nika Zupanc at the Rossana Orlandi gallery | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
    Nika Zupanc at the Rossana Orlandi gallery Image Credit: Archive of Nika Zupanc
  • Qeeboo team of special designers | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
    Qeeboo team of special designers Image Credit: Archive of Qeeboo

The designer always makes sure to visit Moooi, Magis, Sé, Scarlet Splendour, Ghidini, Qeeboo and Rossana Orlandi gallery at the Milan Design Week. This year, her studio was about to present four extensive furniture collections for four different brands, alongside some other solo products and projects. “It would have been a very special year for us in Milan, one of the years to which I was looking forward very much. However, all those projects will be launched anyhow, when the time is right. And of course we are all looking forward to Milano Design Week 2021, I am sure it will be a very special one.”

  • Qeeboo team (L-R) - Marcel Wanders, Stefano Giovannoni, Nika Zupanc, Andrea Branzi, Anna Lindgren, Sofia Lagerkvist, and Richard Hutten | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
    Qeeboo team (L-R) - Marcel Wanders, Stefano Giovannoni, Nika Zupanc, Andrea Branzi, Anna Lindgren, Sofia Lagerkvist, and Richard Hutten Image Credit: Archive of Qeeboo
  • 'Milano magic’ - Rossana Orlandi's annual dinner for 100 people in the gallery garden with Nika (centre) flanked by (L) Marcel Wanders and Pavlo Schtakleff (R) | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
    'Milano magic’ - Rossana Orlandi's annual dinner for 100 people in the gallery garden with Nika (centre) flanked by (L) Marcel Wanders and Pavlo Schtakleff (R) Image Credit: Archive of Nika Zupanc

Aside from the Rossana Orlandi gallery and its creative vibe, Nika’s favourite Milan hotspot is cafe San Carlo, near Orlandi gallery, “where I always have my spritz aperol at the end of the day…very classic, very retro and very ‘my Milano’.”

02 mins watch Celebrated interior and product designer Nika Zupanc for M.A.M.A. | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
Celebrated interior and product designer Nika Zupanc for M.A.M.A. Video Credit: Courtesy of Nika Zupanc

Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba

Italian designer Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
Italian designer Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba Image Credit: Courtesy of Marcantonio

“I like to see ideas, materials, solutions,” shares the Italian designer, and the Milan Design Week brings it all together for him. “A designer often happens to sees his finished products live for the first time only during the design week, as everything is completed at the last moment. I also make contact with new realities and people to maybe look for other commissions, or simply keep myself updated on all that is being produced. And one can also witness some big events and big installations that are wonderful!”

Marcantonio shares what he had planned for this year’s edition: “I had made many objects with six different companies, including the much-awaited Forest collection by Scarlet Splendour, which has tables, coffee tables, pouffes, chairs, sofas, cabinets, rugs, lamps, vases - all inspired by nature. In addition, this year I made a 12-metre sculpture: it would probably have been one of those installations that are talked about a lot, but it is postponed to next year.”

  • The famous Forest Chair by designer Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba, for Scarlet Splendour | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
    The famous Forest Chair by designer Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba, for Scarlet Splendour Image Credit: Courtesy of Marcantonio
  • Marcantonio Malerba’s Forest Chair, for Scarlet Splendour | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
    Marcantonio Malerba’s Forest Chair, for Scarlet Splendour Image Credit: Courtesy of Marcantonio

The designer’s work has always been underlined by a sense of irony and connections between man and nature. “I am lucky to have set a precise style: a little twisted, with natural references and a bit of irony and magic. I enrich it, refine it, reinforce it, experimenting but always keeping the dimension that is linked to the handmade, and the concept where simple subjects become functional.”

  • Conceptual sketch for the Forest Chair by Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba, for Scarlet Splendour | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
    Conceptual sketch for the Forest Chair by Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba, for Scarlet Splendour Image Credit: Courtesy of Marcantonio
  • Marcantonio’s Forest Chair (detail), for Scarlet Splendour | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
    Marcantonio’s Forest Chair (detail), for Scarlet Splendour Image Credit: Courtesy of Marcantonio
  • Marcantonio’s Forest Chair (detail), for Scarlet Splendour | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
    Marcantonio’s Forest Chair (detail), for Scarlet Splendour Image Credit: Courtesy of Marcantonio

A few places that have always inspired him in Milan are the gallery of Rossana Orlandi, and Nilufar Depot. But it is Milan’s secrets that will always remain most special…“There are private places where everyone can’t go; private parties full of friends - maybe those are my favourite secret places!”

05 mins watch Celebrated Italian designer Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba for M.A.M.A. | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
Celebrated Italian designer Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba for M.A.M.A. Video Credit: Courtesy of Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba

Click here to read what Richard Hutten, Giulio Cappellini, Valerie Barkowski , Fabio Novembre, Matteo Thun, Stephan Hamel, Ross Lovegrove, Marcel Wanders and Michele De Lucchi have to share, as part of the Miss You, Milan series, courtesy of FLOS, and conceptualised by Pramiti Madhavji.

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