Milan: Atelier A1's show in Galleria Bonaparte 07.05.09

words Anna Bates

One of our favourite group shows during Milan design week was by Belgian design collective Atelier A1.

The group of six independent practices - who share a studio in Brussels - set up a quiet, mature show in Galleria Bonaparte, holding their own despite being located right next door Moroso's vibrant and over-excited M'Afrique exhibition. Judging by comments from the steady stream of visitors, there was something about the simple, refined products on show that was perhaps more in tune with the zeitgeist than Atelier A1's neighbour.

Big-Game showed a collection of wooden blocks. Clumpy and awkward, they were saved by their decoration - a coat of lacquer that dissolves into dots resembling halftone printing. They used the same effect on mirrors, turning visitors' reflections into pop-art images. Sylvain Willenz's collection of products uses steel reinforcement bars coated in high gloss polyester, and is similar in style to something designed by Barber Osgerby.

From Diane Steverlynck we liked the fabric and wood Leaning storage that can be folded "like a fan" when not in use.

Nathalie Dewez played about with cold LED tube lighting to try and give it a warmer image. Her collection included an elliptical red aluminium sheet folded over a LED tube hanging from two nylon wires, so the light was distributed sideways, while Marina Bautier presented a beautifully refined collection of oak furniture.

top image Sylvain Willenz
picture Michel Bonvin

image Big-Game
picture Michel Bonvin

image Diane Steverlynck
picture Michel Bonvin

image Marina Bautier
picture Michel Bonvin

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