Miss You, Milan: Richard Hutten, Giulio Cappellini and Valerie Barkowski in reflection

In our Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) series courtesy of FLOS, Hutten, Cappellini and Barkowski show solidarity for the Milan Design Week amid COVID19.

by STIRworld Published on : Mar 20, 2020

As science struggles with answers, great words may heal us from grave times. Warm wishes and fond memories, fun flashbacks, and conversations of camaraderie strong enough to stay through the quarantines - this is the stuff that keeps the design community going even as most events, including the biggest design fair in the world, Salone Del Mobile in Milan, stand cancelled.

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 some luminaries from the design world and asked them to share their perspectives and plans.

In the first of a multi-part series, we present reflections from Rotterdam-based innovator Richard Hutten, Milan-based Giulio Cappellini – one of the biggest ambassadors of Italian design, and Valerie Barkowski, Marrakech-based Belgian textile designer and creative director.    

Richard Hutten

Rotterdam-based innovator Richard Hutten | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
Rotterdam-based innovator Richard Hutten Image Credit: Benning Gladkova S

Rotterdam-based Richard Hutten is one of the most influential and successful Dutch designers. He is well known for his conceptual and playful designs. A true innovator, he has established himself as one of the leading international figures in his field, continuously pushing the boundaries of design.

Richard shares a special relationship with Milan. “Milan is the place where my journey of fame started. I have fond memories of the Droog presentation in 1998, with fellow Dutch Designers Marcel Wanders, Jurgen Bey and Hella Jongerius, among others. Droog is the last big movement in design, and at that time we were making history without knowing. I still remember an interview I had with the New York Times. They wrote about me: ‘He looks like a rock star and he talks like a philosopher’,” reminisces the designer, hoping that the design action will soon resume after the threat has been overcome.

Caption | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
Milan 98, The Inevitable Ornament (Milan Flashback) Image Credit: Courtesy of Richard Hutten

“At that time I looked like Kurt Corbain of Nirvana, including the long hair. In that time I still had hair!” he laughs.

At the Milan Design Week, Hutten would have launched projects with his clients such as Scarlet Splendour, Offecct, Ghidini 1961, De Rosso, Moroso, CS rugs, Ikonik design, Qeeboo, Japth, David Design, I+I, MOOOI, Japth, Eco Pixel and Danese Milano.

02 min watch Richard Hutten in conversation | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
Watch Richard Hutten share notes from isolation Video Credit: Courtesy of Richard Hutten

While these plans stand suspended, Richard tells us over video that the next three weeks are a time of great reflection and introspection. “I really hope the trend of sustainable design will be everywhere. We need to change the system, and we need to do it now.” 

Giulio Cappellini

Giulio Cappellini | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
Giulio Cappellini Image Credit: Courtesy of Giulio Cappellini

One of the biggest ambassadors of Italian design, Giulio, who is based in Milan, says it is always great to see how people from different parts of the world come together to witness the future of design at Salone Del Mobile.

He lets us peep into one of his own futuristic projects, the SuperCampus, part of the original showcase, aside from two new projects.

  • Supercampus inspiration | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
    Supercampus - inspiration Image Credit: Courtesy of Giulio Cappellini
  • Supercampus - space | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
    Supercampus - space Image Credit: Courtesy of Giulio Cappellini
  • Supercampus - sketch | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
    Supercampus - sketch Image Credit: Courtesy of Giulio Cappellini
  • Supercampus - plan | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
    Supercampus - plan Image Credit: Courtesy of Giulio Cappellini

His other products feature in the Flaminia and Icone Luce lineup, and he also conceptualised a show with Marangoni Design Campus.

“During the Salone and Fuorisalone I like to visit the booths and showrooms of the main international design brands such as Vitra, Cassina, Flos, but also I like to discover new, unknown brands like Karakter or young designers’ self-productions.”

01 min watch Giulio Cappellini in conversation | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
Giulio Cappellini addresses the community from his home Video Credit: Courtesy of Giulio Cappellini

That’s not all. “Spazio Rossana Orlandi at Via Matteo Bandello 14 is always interesting, and I like to see the new trends at the Superstudiopiu’ at Via Tortona 27 - some beautiful installations.” Giulio also likes “the nice atmosphere of the Brera restaurants during the Design Week.”

Galleria Rossana Orlandi Porto Cervo | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
Galleria Rossana Orlandi Porto Cervo Image Credit: Courtesy of rossanaorlandi.com

What does the creative visionary see ahead? “I hope to see a lot of serious and sustainable projects that gives a real answer to the people’s needs. I hope to see beautiful objects using new materials and technologies.”

Valerie Barkowski

Valerie Barkowski | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
Valerie Barkowski Image Credit: Courtesy of Valerie Barkowski

For the Belgian textile designer and former creative director of lifestyle brand No-Mad, Salone del Mobile has always been synonymous with new ideas and perspectives. “I like to feel and smell the new trends, see installations, wander in all those places that have a great vibe and energy,” she says. Valerie, with her free soul and gypsy spirit, shares that she was just “going to wander around” had the festival taken place as it was scheduled, and had no plans to showcase a project of her own this year although she was particularly interested in visiting the Milano Fuorisalone.

On a lighter note, the designer shares with us a funny portrait video that finds humour in humankind’s newfound obsession with hygiene. Shot by Tania Panova, the video shows a housekeeper brushing the dust off her much like a static object in the landscape. “I keep my eyes open and don’t forget to enjoy,” she reminds us.

01 min watch Valerie Barkowski in conversation | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
Valerie Barkowski brings out the humour in hygiene Video Credit: Tania Panova

We asked her about her secret design hotspots in Milan. “I always like to see Rosanna Orlandi’s space, and visit Luisa Cevese, who has a mono product for the last 25 years (Riedizioni is a collection of products made out of an innovative, original material which combines textile scraps with plastic, called 11). It is always a pleasure to see her work.”

Another thing that evokes a fond memory of Milan is the food. “Fondazione Prada and Luce cafe at the entrance are definitely the best of places for a while. There is the Trattoria Milanese, Via Santa Marta, which I like as well. Nothing fancy but good food, that is what I am generally looking for.”

  • Galleria Rossana Orlandi Milano | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
    Galleria Rossana Orlandi Milano Image Credit: Courtesy of rossanaorlandi.com
  • Fondazione PRADA, Bar Luce designed by Wes Anderson | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
    Fondazione PRADA, Bar Luce designed by Wes Anderson Image Credit: DesignerToparchitect, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
  • Fondazione PRADA in Milan via Ripamonti – Largo Isarco area, Bar Luce | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
    Fondazione PRADA in Milan via Ripamonti – Largo Isarco area, Bar Luce Image Credit: DesignerToparchitect, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Valerie remembers some great times spent at previous editions of the fair. “Somehow the installations that I keep in my mind are those by Paola Navone, especially The Secret Garden a few years ago. In fact, I like all her installations, there is always a good energy--she is not the youngest designer but her creativity is!”

  • Caption | Moments of Affection: Milanese Alliances (M.A.M.A.) | STIRworld
    Paola Navone's Secret Garden Image Credit: Courtesy of Paola Navone
  • Dummy
    Paola Navone's Secret Garden Image Credit: Courtesy of Paola Navone

Meanwhile, in her own isolated secret garden, she is doing all the things she never had the time to do: “read, listen to the birds sing, watch vegetables grow in the kitchen garden, think of this situation.”

“I definitely feel that we need to change our lifestyle. It is so obvious that the world is more than fragile... I have changed my lifestyle for a 'slow life' since several years, but it may be necessary to go to another level. What will happen in the next few weeks will determine that, I presume. We definitely need to be less arrogant and we need to read the signs that the earth sends us,” she concludes.

Click here to read what Fabio Novembre, Matteo Thun, Stephan Hamel, Ross Lovegrove, Marcel Wanders, Michele De Lucchi, Kelly Hoppen, Nika Zupanc and Marcantonio Malerba have to share, as part of the Miss You, Milan series, courtesy of FLOS, and conceptualised by Pramiti Madhavji.

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