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XL EXTRALIGHT® partners with Panter & Tourron for Milan Design Week 2023

Inspired by the Radical Design movement, the installation SOFTSCOPE frames challenges for a fossil-free future with sustainable Organix 3.0 material.

by STIRworldPublished on : Apr 03, 2023

Renowned for their innovative material Organix 3.0, design firm XL EXTRALIGHT® is known for emphasising research and creativity, specialising in the production of thermoplastic, expandable, and cross-linkable compounds, as well as the manufacturing of ultralight outsoles. To mark Milan Design Week 2023, XL EXTRALIGHT® called upon Lausanne-based design studio Panter & Tourron to craft a distinctive architectural urban installation. Titled SOFTSCOPE, the installation is set to be placed in the courtyard of Capsule Plaza at Spazio Maiocchi in Milan, Italy.

At the crossroads of technology and society, Panter & Tourron has envisioned a pseudo-domestic interior for the installation, that is part conversation pit and part public stage. The pyramid-shaped monolith features a soft, textured surface that takes its design cues from sneaker design, inviting users to sit down, relax and engage with each other on a low bench that borders the perimeter and a hollowed central section with integrated seating. What this spatial design essentially does is invite users into a dialogue, both at a private level as they explore the exhibition throughout the day, and at a public level through the Capsule Plaza's series of talks that will transform the installation into a platform for meetings.

While the monolith borrows from sneaker design, the conceptual underpinning of the installation design draws from the Radical Design movement of Italy, founded in Tuscany in the 1970s. Echoing the forward-thinking spatial utopias of that period as well their social and environmentally positive attitude, in engaging with this novel material, Panter & Tourron similarly frame the new challenges faced by design practices today, seeking a vision for a possibly more sustainable future.

Panter & Tourron, founded by Stefano Panterotto and Alexis Tourron, focuses on material exploration and technical innovation to create cutting-edge objects and imagery. They often collaborate with brands and partners, offering their specialised expertise in commercial projects and research across product design and spatial design. With their award-winning work, the duo has redefined the concept of luxury through their innovative approach.

They extend this approach in constructing SOFTSCOPE, choosing XL EXTRALIGHT's Organix 3.0 material powered by Balance, banking on its soft and colourful properties. The material produced using bio and circular feedstock from recycled organic waste products, such as waste greases, not only provides a sustainable alternative to traditional building materials but also highlights the potential of innovative materials in significantly shaping a sustainable future. Reflecting on the theme for the Milan Design Week 2023, 'Laboratorio Futuro' or reflection on how we imagine our future.

<em>SOFTSCOPE</em> by Panter & Tourron and XL EXTRALIGHT® for Milan Design Week 2023| STIRworld
SOFTSCOPE by Panter & Tourron and XL EXTRALIGHT® for Milan Design Week 2023 Image: Courtesy of XL EXTRALIGHT®

The soft and spongy material, Organix 3.0, is typically used as a lightweight outsole for footwear, but for the first time, Panter & Tourron has re-contextualised it as an outdoor building material. Making the installation water, UV, and bacteria-resistant, as well as free from harmful chemicals, thus marking a new branch of research into versatile and sustainable technology. “We wanted to switch the perspective on XL EXTRALIGHT® and invert the point of view on the material. Inspired by the design language of sneakers sole-units, we shift the material from the technical membrane connecting people to the ground, to become the soft and tactile outer skin for the entire structure,” relay Panter & Tourron in a press statement.

By employing careful considerations in their design language for the installation, XL EXTRALIGHT® and Panter & Tourron have created a space that invites visitors to interact with the installation and each other, creating a dialogue and fostering a sense of community. "For the 2023 Fuorisalone, we had the idea to create something that could communicate Organix 3.0's brand pillars and its main properties in an unconventional way, which is why we began a conversation with Panter & Tourron. Their forward-thinking attitude and remarkable focus on research into new design codes and visual experiences have enabled them to reinterpret our DNA and make it tangible on a larger scale,” shares Carlo Vecchiola, foam design product and brand manager at XL EXTRALIGHT®.

In conversation with STIR, Stefano Panterotto of Panter & Tourron expands on the details of SOFTSCOPE.

STIR: How is SOFTSCOPE different from all of your past projects?

Stefano Panterotto: We work across different media and fields so diversity in our practice is key. We love working on different scales and moving from the detail (objects) to the spatial (places and installations). In this case, we are both experimenting with a material (and a colour), human interaction with an object/installation and the relationship between the work itself and the space around it that contains it.

STIR: What is the significance of the use of colour in SOFTSCOPE?

Stefano: We are inspired and influenced by the fashion and art world, but like many artists and designers before us, we try to create our personal colour library. We are interested in colours that are difficult to define and also stand the test of time. In this case, we chose a very specific tone of indigo that sits perfectly between blue and purple, almost impossible to define.

STIR: What inspired Panter & Tourron to use Organix 3.0 in a non-traditional manner for an outdoor installation?

Stefano: We liked changing the perspective on the material and making it visible, the real protagonist, in order to fully showcase its amazing characteristics and performance as a bio-based material.

STIR: How does the use of Organix 3.0 for SOFTSCOPE push the boundaries of what is possible with the material?

Stefano: Usually bio-based materials are alternative options that are more sustainable but often not comparable in term of specs and performance. In this case, the material is as performative as its non-bio-based counterpart, making it suitable for the most extreme condition as an outdoor material.

The installation will be open for visitors from April 17-23, 2023 at the Capsule Plaza courtyard in Spazio Maiocchi, Central Milan.

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.

(Text by Khushi S Tandon, intern at STIRworld)

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