by Anmol AhujaJun 21, 2022
While the fervour in Milan sought to return to its entropic usual, following the festivities of Milan Design Week 2022, Fuorisalone kept the ruminations and musings over the future of design alive with its announcement of the Fuorisalone Award winners. With the Milano Design Award produced by Elita as its predecessor, Fuorisalone builds on the experience to provide their growing audience with a platform that recognises the most memorable works and installations presented during the Design Week. While most international design awards select their winners as the conclusion of a selection process, the Fuorisalone Award named its winner through a week-long voting session through its digital platform. The award, launched at Milan Design Week 2022, brings to limelight the winners under two main categories - Audience Awards for the most distinctive installations showcased in Milan, selected by an international audience, and Special Mentions for works based on the relevance of content for the design sector selected by a technical committee. The award was made possible with the contribution of the Lombardy Region, through the call DEMO - Iniziative ed Eventi di Design e Moda, translating to Design and Fashion Initiatives and Events.
Here is a look at the winners in each of the categories of the Fuorisalone Award 2022.
The Audience Award
From among the 20 most memorable installations and events at MDW, shortlisted by Studiolabo and Fuorisalone, the winner was selected from an audience vote for the first time around, speaking to the democratic outlook of the awards. Apart from being experienced by people in physical attendance of the event, the shortlisted projects were displayed on a dedicated page at Fuorisalone.it, open for voting from June 7, 2022.
In the finale of the design week, the Audience Award was bestowed to Divided Layers by Kohler and American artist Daniel Arsham. The installation was inspired from a 3D printed sink named Rock.01, which Arsham had designed in collaboration with Kohler. Designed as an enlarged portal leading to the innards of a sink, the large-scale immersive art experience exhibited a series of vertically stacked panels combined to form a walkable tunnel. While the platform that leads viewers to the eye of the white tunnel and through the reflections of the pool below imparts the installation with the allure of contemporary art, it is the Baroque setting of the historic Palazzo del Senato where it rests that stirred up more speculation of its design and concepts. The project battled an array of exceptional projects, including the Floating Forest by Stefano Boeri Interiors, The Art of Dreams, Animal Factory, and See the Stars Again by Flos.
Supporting the values that bind the collective design industry and its inimitable sense of culture, the selection of the special mentions was carried out by a technical committee comprising observers and jurors. The observers in charge of selecting the content under the categories were Clara Bona, Elisa Massoni, Patrizia Scarzella, Walter Terruso and Basil Green Pencil. From the best works, projects, and activities of interest for the design world selected by the observers, the jury panel named the winners of a special mention in four categories – interaction, sustainability, technology, and communication. The jury comprised notable members of the design fraternity including Mariagrazia Mattei, Nicola Ricciardi, Mauro Martino, Patrick Tuttofuoco, Francesco Zurlo, Cristiano Seganfreddo and Davide Fassi, along with Federica Sala, Paolo Ferrarini and Valentina Ventrelli as design advisors.
The special mention for the 'Interaction' category emphasised immersive works that indulged the public in a sensory experience, encouraging active participation. With an interactive installation created for people to experience multiple forms of sustainable energy and 'play' with the resultant sensorial effects, Feeling the Energy designed by Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) and Italo Rota for Plentitude as part of the INTERNI Design Re-generation exhibition was recognised with a special mention in the same category. Transforming Milan's Botanical Garden into an energy park, the installation creates a path adorned with arches and sculptural arrangements in copper wire for the visitors to simultaneously experience energy production through the sun, wind, and even people’s movements. The installation harvests and stores energy during the day, using it to illuminate the Botanical Garden in the evening.
The most discussed topic of Salone del mobile, sustainability, was also one among the most important categories that heralded works imagining new solutions for a better tomorrow. Reflecting on Alcova's cluster of historic buildings, Chicago-based studio Refractory made its international debut at the Milan Design Week and won the Special Mention Fuorisalone Award for sustainability with their multisensory exhibition named Holotype. Encompassing the notion of decay harbouring a beauty that serves as a comforting antidote to perfection, Angie West and Alberto Vélez brought together crafted furnishings by Refactory, superimposing it with imagery of paleontological specimens and frontiers by American photographer Sarah Wilson. While discussing the exhibition, the co-founder of Refractory Angie West stated, "Makers and artisans dig into a collective dilemma, a reverence for materiality, a desire to be durable, and the drive to enhance livelihoods that have been historically suppressed."
The research project by Huawei Milan Aesthetic Research Center, curated by Robert Thiemann and titled Tomorrow Living, won a special mention in the Technology category. Premiering at the digital cultural centre MEET, the documentary explored the theme of how design and intelligent technology will shape our future. The documentary was screened in four chapters – Responsive, Resilient, Restorative, and Responsible – along with an immersive site-specific experience by multidisciplinary studio Space Popular.
With an intent to recognise works that adopt an inclusive language embracing human diversity, the special mention in the communication category was bestowed on In search of lightness by Hermès. In the quest for lightness and as a challenge to gravity, textiles became the central theme for Hermès' home collection. Under the artistic direction of Charlotte Macaux-Perelman and Alexis Fabry, the objects were staged in four structures that resembled vast water towers, but appear light with the use of wood and translucent coloured paper that radiated light. Creating a timeless style with the lightness of lines, the exhibits further explored the concept in materials including porcelain, leather, cane, and one of Hermès’ favourite, cashmere.
The Fuorisalone Award 2022 brought together an unprecedented mix of both the physical and digital worlds. While representing the activities and connections of Milan Design Week, the award also maps the complexity of the data gathered from the Fuorisalone.it platforms over the last two years. Contemplating the data in an organic form, the winner of the Fuorisalone Award 2022 is granted the 'network sculpture', and a related NFT. The physical expression of the digital diagram is an abstract mathematical construct by Mauro Martino, an expert in AI. The unique approach in presenting an NFT to the winners is an extended initiative backed by Studiolabo to always develop new and innovative communication processes and languages capable of creating a direct relationship with the context, making the most of the opportunities offered by digital. In an exclusive interview with STIR, Paolo Casati spoke about the awards, stating that, "The award is intended as a gesture of gratitude addressed both to the companies that invest in this event and to the public that attends it, making it unique and special. This is why the award will be pointed out by the public, according to a simple principle: that of memorability of the installation. That is, the capacity to involve and relate to the public."
(Text by Sunena V Maju, intern at STIRworld)
STIR takes you on a Milanese sojourn! Experience Salone del Mobile and all the design districts - 5vie, Brera, Fuorisalone, Isola, Zona Tortona, and Durini - with us. STIR’s coverage of Milan Design Week 2022, Meanwhile in Milan showcases the best exhibits, moods, studios, events, and folks to look out for. We are also excited to announce our very own STIR press booth at Salone del Mobile - Hall 5/7 S.14, Fiera Milano RHO.
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