A rendering of Sony's space at the Officine Stendhal at Via Stendhal 35 in Zona Tortona. The space is designed by London-based studio BarberOsgerby and has been constructed from sound-absorbing cones to transform it into an anechoic chamber as a backdrop to Sony's new products
The Milan Furniture fair promises to be as vibrant as ever, although the recession is still likely to loom large. On the following pages is a sample of the events we're looking forward to (that we know about so far). But busy or not, the vita is far from dolce. With Silvio Berlusconi announcing a €300 million stimulus package last month, Cosmit president Carlo Guglielmi made no bones about the fact that a lot of Italian companies are going through hard times. "Do we need a Marshall plan to work out the crisis?" he asked. "No, our country doesn't need to be redesigned, but we need a lot of love and commitment."
Last year the Poltrona Frau Group abandoned its vast and spotless space in Hall 12 at the Fiera for a warehouse in Zona Tortona, proving that the area is changing to become a stronghold for the more corporate design scene, pushing the younger and newer talent elsewhere. Cappellini is staying put this year and has some interesting launches in the pipeline. We are particularly excited to hear that it is working with London-based Raw-Edges, but the nature of the project had not been revealed at the time of going to press. We did however get a preview of New York designer Todd Bracher's insect-like tubular steel stool, Alodia (pictured opposite).
Alodia stool by Todd Bracher for Cappellini
It was easy to miss the Italian manufacturer in the vast fairgrounds last year, so this year Mattiazzi is focusing on an exhibition in Zona Tortona instead. Creative director Nitzan Cohen (icon 077) has worked with London-based Industrial Facility on a CNC-milled solid wood chair with armrests (pictured) which will form the focus of the exhibition.
Industrial Facility's chair for Mattiazzi
Moroso is sticking to the same designers it worked with last year. Front has designed an armchair inspired by the beaded seats for cars. It's meant to create a comfortable surface that stimulates circulation. Tokujin Yoshioka's Memory chair (pictured) has an ever-transforming design as it is created from a fabric made from recycled aluminium and is moulded into shape by its user.
Tokujin Yoshioka's Memory chair for Moroso
Spazio Rossana Orlandi received last-minute funding to stage a large-scale exhibition of Nacho Carbonell's new work at the Spazio Gianfranco Ferré, by the Castello. The space is normally used for catwalk shows and will provide a grand backdrop for Carbonell's sculptural pieces. The show is called Diversity and will present a collection of 15 different chairs, made using Carbonell's trademark plant derivative raw materials.
ROYAL COLLEGE OF ART
This year will be the first time that the new head of Design Products at the Royal College of Art, Tord Boontje, takes his students to Milan, so all eyes will be on their show. The exhibition is set up as a hotel with the designs responding to the functions of the different spaces. If you haven't yet seen last year's graduate and Brit Insurance Designs of the Year winner Min-Kyu Choi's foldable British plug, you have to come and check it out. Also look out for Felix de Pass' desk (pictured overleaf).
Desk by Felix de Pass from the Royal College of Art