by Bianca FelicoriSep 10, 2021
At a time of huge economic, social, and cultural instability, we need to reconsider our position (as designers, architects and artists) in this society. The disciplines are facing a much-needed revision of issues, aims, and our own role on planet Earth. The pandemic crisis has only accelerated a process that was already underway. This new vision of the discipline of design and architecture is clear in the new generations, who are addressing the urgencies of our time in the best possible way. I have selected for you some young designers who will participate in the 2021 edition of the Salone del Mobile in Milan, Italy, to show you how these young talents are actually working to radically change the disciplines.
These designers work at different scales, tackling different themes, but are united by a desire to solve everyday problems, from the climate crisis to female inclusion, from the defence of LGBT rights to the study of new recyclable materials. The selection includes some confirmations of individual designers and collectives that are growing steadily and are well established in Europe, and a selection of promising young designers. The idea is to stimulate the public through the presentation of projects whose themes reflect contemporary issues to which the design world is called to respond.
1. Parasite 2.0
Parasite 2.0 is a design and research agency based in Milan and London. Founded in 2010 by Stefano Colombo, Eugenio Cosentino, and Luca Marullo, it specialises in temporary architecture, interior, and exhibition design. They investigate the status of human habitats, acting within a hybrid of architecture, design, and scenography by rethinking the relations between nature and artifice. Their projects explore conflicts, speaking of a primitive future. Discover what a contemporary sensuality might look, feel, smell, sound or even taste like in Parasite 2.0's iridescent, colourful and leaking environments. On the occasion of Milan Design Week 2021 they presented their last project, Antropofago Productions at Base Milano.
Antropofago Productions will be presented in the exhibition called Baratto, which is more like a workshop than an exhibition. Inside a big tent we will find a selection of objects and research selected through an open call, but also daily workshops between music, visual arts and design. Within the programme we find emerging artists such as Jean Baptist Gambier, Jonas Hejduk and Cecilia Del Carmen Juarez Balta, but also more consolidated realities such as Stock-a-Studio, Atelier Brenda and Errring Studio.
2. Francesco Forcellini
Francesco Forcellini was born in Milan and raised in Florence. He graduated from Milan Polytechnic in Design Innovation. He founded his own studio after working in London and in The Netherlands for internationally recognised design studios and agencies. Forcellini applies a design approach that aims at purity and innovation, seeking an uncontaminated harmony of objects through a clear and essential design that highlights the material, physical and conceptual qualities of the products. Innovation is pursued by conducting continuous research into materials, technologies, finishes (both new and traditional) and their possible uses, then working on the archetypes and meanings of the products to find new formal expressions. The final project's consistency is achieved through the creation of a product that is both pure and essential, which is by fully integrating material, technology, finish, form and meaning.
On the occasion of the MDW21, Forcellini made two collaborations together with two famous brands. For Tonelli he designed Whirl launch as a minimal graphic representation of the vortex; it has an external frame of inclined mirrors that creates a play of perspective, making the image mirrored in the centre look more dynamic and energetic. He collaborated with Cappellini with Trace, a family of vases with the digital aesthetics of 3D printing blended harmoniously with the artisanal craftsmanship of ceramic, making each piece unique.
Adaptism is a design lab created by Paul Youenn and Eliott Vallin, who are passionate about industrial, fashion, and collectible design. Their primary objective is to bring together these three universes with our creations, it can be garments, furniture, installations. The name 'Adaptism' came naturally to them, it's a philosophy that aims to embrace change and honour the matter. “We always start with the material, we are interested in its cultural heritage, the latest production methods and its technical potential to create adaptive pieces. Tapestry 270 is an investigation into the transition between the indoors and outdoors," they mention. Through delving into the heritage of tapestries they found out their importance to warm-up, protect spaces and tell stories.
"By taking a microscopic view of the fibre we were able to understand its structure and enhance its protective aspect. We wanted to tell the story of the material by showing where its characteristics come from, and how the tapestry can protect the interior space of the house, as well as, in the form of a garment protecting the body,” say Youenn and Vallin. To embody the transition of the Tapestry from an indoor piece towards an outdoor garment they selected the Merino Wool. The white shapes seen are the patterns of the garments created, and the rest for the interior space. Through this process nothing is going to waste.
4. From outer Space
From outer Space is a transdisciplinary design and research practice led by Anna Paola Buonanno and Piergiorgio Italiano, exploring the spatial implications of economic, social and environmental issues. The practice makes interiors, installations, objects and interfaces, within the physical and digital environments, handling languages and tools borrowed from architecture, design and visual arts. They have been selected for the “The Makers Show” at Supersalone and they will present Tavolo 2, born from the previous research, and embodies some of the needs that contemporary living has encountered in recent times. They started by asking themselves, “Is there a possible alternative to design production? Is it possible to conceive contemporary, affordable furniture using semi-finished materials? Can trademarks, production data and imperfections be seen as new decorative motifs?”
Although apparently simple, the shape of Tavolo 2 is the result of a complex design process: the piece is made using a single sandwich panel – an aluminium honeycomb panel used in the naval and railway sectors, produced by Abet Laminati – with zero waste, and it’s dry-assembled, thus reducing resources and transformation processes. The clean, anodised finishing of the surface makes it interact with environment and lights, while the lightness of the material, its durability and strength, make Tavolo 2 an open platform that fits into the domestic landscape.
5. Emy Bensdorp
DAE (Design Academy Eindhoven) is participating in Fuorisalone of Salone del Mobile with the exhibition Missed Your Call in a former bakery factory built in 1898, a hidden industrial architecture in the centre of Milan, which was most of the year closed to the public. Among the participants we selected Emy Bensdorp and her project Packing Up PFAS. For Bensdorp (b. 1993), the challenges of today make the most interesting design topics. She utilises her dual background in design (Design Academy, 2020) and psychology (Leiden University, 2016) by combining deep-dive research with a hands-on design approach.
She aims to create work that matters socially and sustainably with her design studio, Claybens. Bensdorp materialises her concepts with a keen eye for colour and shape into various forms and products. The toxic chemical group PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) is polluting our environment. It doesn’t degrade and is very difficult to clean up because of its attachment to soil. This project offers a solution by transforming PFAS polluted clay soil into bricks. All that remains of the material’s dirty past is the stamp stating the location of origin and amount of PFAS removed.
6. Charlotte Bombel
Charlotte Bombel is another participant of the Missed you call exhibition. Through light and furniture design, Bombel’s work explores how the objects and products that surround us reflect ways of living. She believes curiosity is the most important character trait people should have: without it, there is no reason to observe and do research, and therefore no innovation. Bombel brings with her curiosity and a constant affection for nature and materials. It starts from an idea, distant and abstract, but this becomes a deep dialogue with the materials and the product itself.
With a background in biology, she finds ways to combine scientific research with her interest in the sensual and emotional qualities of objects and spaces. Biologically, humans react to light differently, based on colour and height. We therefore require lamps that adapt to a broader range of needs due to the home’s evolution into a multifunctional hub for rest, work, and leisure. “SCOPE'' is a lamp that creates different light moods by illuminating a multicoloured surface. Using “SCOPE”, there is the possibility to adapt the light setting, “Light is one of the most fundamental and mystical phenomenons we know. Depending on how it is implemented in our homes, offices or public spaces, light influences our sleep, productivity, cognition and wellbeing. I explored ways to reproduce the feel of natural light for our interiors," she says.
Click here to read all about STIR at Supersalone, a STIR series on the best of exhibits, moods, studios, events and folks to look out for at Milan Design Week 2021.