'Do you speak Design?' Salone del Mobile Milano 2023 to probe in its renewed edition
by Jincy IypeFeb 17, 2023
•make your fridays matter with a well-read weekend
by Sunena V MajuPublished on : Apr 20, 2023
What is life if not a story?
From theatre, arts, and online screening platforms to even fashion, architecture and design, every part of creative production that people consume now is a stage, a play or an artificial world created to invoke emotions. The 21st century is no longer a wish-granting factory but a spatial dramaturgy. Human beings also seem to be more fascinated by the concepts of theatrical scenography and the magic of long-lost fairytales. Creating a story through set design has been explored across disciplines, especially in the fashion world. Whether it was Mercedes Benz and Moncler’s The Art of Genius in London, Joana Vasconcelos’ runway for Dior's Fall 2023 runway or Prada's theatrical runway for the Fall/Winter Menswear collection 2023, have carvered out their own niche.
As the design world stirs the best, worst and most eccentric thoughts on creativity in Milan for Milan Design Week 2023, the Italian fashion houses were not to be left behind. STIR explore some of the most exciting designs to have emerged from the collaboration between fashion houses and designers at this year's design week.
Buccellati and Michele De Lucchi
Maison Buccellati returns to Design Week with an immersive exhibition, titled Buccellati Rosso Maraviglia. The brand collaborated with Michele De Lucchi and AMDL Circle to create an artistic intervention at the Portaluppi terrace of Buccellati’s headquarters, transforming it into a landmark within the Milanese skyline. Adorned in red, the modern Pantheon-like structure, with its majestic domes covering the rooftop, recalls the shape of diamond and stone cuts. Talking to STIR, amid the Rosso Maraviglia installation, De Lucchi said, "The idea was to create a different environment that resists for a short time. A temporary design that is aware of naturality, recycling and using materials that are not thrown away, but that can be used again."
He then adds, “We need to bring together different disciplines and look at the world in a more complete way. We should not keep the disciplines separated. Architecture should not be separated from design. Design should not be separated from art. Art should not be separated from scientific revolution, AI and so on. We need to have a more holistic approach, (and) creativity and humanity are still the most important resources that we have inside ourselves.”
Inside the pavilion designed by De Lucchi, international landscape and botanical artist Lily Kwong created a botanical installation with a path that teeters between a secret garden and a garden of wonders. The botanical theme of Buccellati’s tableware collection, the expansive space of Portaluppi’s Terrace, and the play of lights in the installation design, were taken as a starting point by Kwong to create an enveloping green environment that extends over the entire surface. With the exhibition curated by Federica Sala, for Milan Design Week 2023, Buccellati was inspired by human ability to marvel at oneself, to appreciate beauty as universally recognised, and to enjoy a feeling of appreciation mixed with incredulity that arises when admiring an artefact.
“Beauty is multi-faceted. It can come in the most basic or the most sophisticated of forms,” defines Hermès as they introduce their presentation for the year, The Power of Fundamentals. The French luxury design house is no stranger to Milan Design Week. Since its debut in 2011, the brand has been a part of the design fair every year with a new concept. In 2022 they presented Vive la Légèreté (Long live lightness). This year, Hermès draws its theme from concepts of archaism, natural vigour and minimalism. In a geometric framework composed of iron rods and concrete, they created a playful composition using grids. Considering their earlier design, Hermès strongly shares an interest in using lines for their sets to establish a structural power, visible in their early presentations. At The Power of Fundamentals, the brand exhibits the Ancelle d’Hermès armchair conceived by Danish designer Cecilie Manz, rug offerings in designs by Pierre Charpin, the Contour d’Hermès sofa, and the Souffle d’Hermès lamps by Finnish designer Harri Koskinen.
Bottega Veneta and Gaetano Pesce
“What you are actually walking through is the outline of a figure shooting for a basket. He represents almost a victory – it is not clear whether it goes in. In this case, the victory is discovery, the discovery of the language of representation. It is about opening new ways for design,” said Italian designer Gaetano Pesce about the temporary site-specific installation he created at the Bottega Veneta flagship store. Made from resin and fabric, the immersive installation, titled Vieni a Vedere (Come and See) creates a unique experience that visitors have to travel through to reach the ‘grotto’ where they will find the bags designed by Pesce for the brand on display. The installation design appears to have drawn from Pesce’s design language of curves, folds and colour gradients, which was also recently seen at his first solo gallery exhibition Dear Future in Los Angeles.
Dior Maison and Philippe Starck
“With Christian Dior, there is this perfect balance, both firm and subtle, between masculinity and femininity, which seems to be the secret of the longevity and importance of his work. That is how I see Monsieur Dior, and that is how I wanted to conceive this collection, which is ultra-technological and entirely graceful,” shares French industrial designer Philippe Starck as he unveils his latest collection in collaboration with Dior. The new collection, which notably features the Monsieur Dior armchair, is designed to achieve a timeless quality. The scenography of the space where Starck exhibits these pieces creates a backdrop for the drama he unveils. Conceived as an immersive experience, the exhibition space – at the centre of which the new products are unveiled – is enlivened by a captivating video and musical installation devised with Soundwalk Collective.
Louis Vuitton and Marc Fornes
Created in 2012, the Objets Nomades by Louis Vuitton brings to Milan Design Week, a wide range of products and furniture pieces by internationally renowned designers. This year, eleven new objects are being exhibited in a space specially set up for the occasion within the courtyard of the historic Palazzo Serbelloni. A fascinating coral-like installation, the Nomadic Pavilion is designed by Marc Fornes of THEVERYMANY. The ultra-thin structure is made up of more than 1,600 sheets of anodised aluminium, each of which had to be custom-cut and decorated. In the signature style of French architect based in New York, the Nomadic Pavilion aims to be a new example of the nomadic architecture proposed by the House in Milan, after the creations of Charlotte Perriand (2015), Matti Suuronen (2017), Georges Candilis (2018), Shigeru Ban (2019) and the Nova House of last year.
Dolce&Gabbana and Antonio Aricò
“In a FAR AWAY LAND is a YELLOW LIMONAIA.
Crafted from EARTH of IMPRUNETA, forged and decorated by happy hands. Cherubs, lemons, curls and drapes welcome golden branches warmed by yellow glass. A crystal Limonaia shines secretly on the rooftops of Milan.
A ray of light warms it and transforms all its vases in citrus skin.
A great weaving welcomes the steps of those who discover it.
A baroque broom ornate with jewels peacefully rests in the shadows of lemons.”
- Antonio Aricò
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana envision the Gen D project (Generation Designers) to translate their openness towards the future. At this year’s, presentation of Gen D, ten designers invited by Federica Sala present at the Palazzo di Dolce e Gabbana Casa. Italian artist Antonio Aricò created a yellow baroque inspired gazebo-like space for his new collection titled Limonaia. As the artist’s earlier verses suggest, the setting is a surrealistic space where antique artistic details meet a modern quirkiness—much like his recent Magna Graecia collection — resulting in a frame that appears to have jumped out of a Greek tale and drenched itself in yellow.
Moroso and Diesel
This year, Diesel Living returns to Milan Design Week to make a statement on the brand’s attitude of fearlessness, irreverence and irony. In an audacious, 3-D expression of the Diesel lifestyle defined by a surreal window takeover in iconic Diesel Red, the pop-up marks the Italian retail clothing company’s collaboration with Moroso. The window displays the most recognisable designs from the Diesel Living collection fabricated in monochromatic red and arranged in a fun-house style with additional furniture tableaus set on the walls. Displayed at the pop-up are the Wood Wave collection, the High Cloud sofa, Nebulone coffee tables, and The Diesel Living with Lodes lighting collection.
Continuing its dialogue with the city of Milan, Giorgio Armani opened the doors of Palazzo Orsini—the company's historic headquarters—for the first time, to the public attending the Salone del Mobile, to showcase new additions to the Armani/Casa a Palazzo. The show presents the new outdoor range in the secret garden, as well as precious crafted furniture displayed in the prestigious frescoed rooms on the first floor, which can be accessed through a continued path in the garden, that takes one inside the historic building. The atelier of Giorgio Armani Privé haute couture, thus gives way, in part, to the display of Armani/Casa design, a testimony of the continuity of a recognisable style that is constant and somehow identical both in fashion as in furnishings, owing to the attention to materials, the artisanal care in making them, and a sense of a gentle, refined preciousness.
Loro Piana and Cristián Mohaded
“A unique, dreamy landscape that defies the imagination of each one of those travelling souls, who travel and meet those monumental contractions in the form of towers, alive with colour and memory of a living land. In which we feel identified by each of those parts that build everything. Apacheta is a message to our Pachamama, it is history, it is culture, it is honesty and respect,” defines Argentinian designer and artist Cristián Mohaded about Loro Piana Interiors’ Apacheta at Milan Design Week 2023. The installation inside the Cortile della Seta, at Loro Piana’s Milanese headquarters, transformed into a dreamlike landscape inspired by the Andean tradition that has always accompanied travellers. Nestled among the tower-like installations in the centre of the Cortile della Seta, the pieces of furniture designed by Mohaded are there to be admired looking like stones, softened by using tactile materials by Loro Piana Interiors. “We approached Cristián knowing his passion for craftsmanship, his research in materials, his extreme love for them, for their textures and contrasts. Everything he creates starts from this and we thought it was the right artist to entrust with our own materials. When we saw the project, we had the immediate certainty that it was beyond expectations. Cristián has not only put all his magic into the materials but has infused the design with all the values we share,” explained Francesco Pergamo, Director of Loro Piana Interiors Division.
STIR’s coverage of Milan Design Week 2023 showcases the best exhibitions, studios, designers, installations, brands, and special projects to look out for. Explore Euroluce 2023 and all the design districts—5Vie Art and Design, Brera Design District, Fuorisalone, Isola Design District, Tortona District, and Milano Design District—with us.
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