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Elle Decor Italia

33 names you must know if you want to talk about design

Geographic anthology of names and last names of the Milano Design Week 2017, between well-known faces and new talent, Salone and Fuorisalone

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The eco of Salone del Mobile 2017 has been resounding since last April, proving the Milano Design Week as the most anticipated, strategic and influential appointment in the international design scene.

So why not to travel through again its protagonists, starting with the encounters and interviews of Elledecor.it editorial team? So, meanwhile the designers and companies are already working on new products and spectacular installations in view of the 2018 edition, here are those names and faces that, under various viewpoints and ideas, have caught our attention (and the one’s of our photographers), between the fair and Fuorisalone.

Here the anthology of names and last names, ordered by nationality and origins, all indeed gathered in Milano, on the occasion of what is without a doubt the most important event of the field, able to combine creativity and business.

Let’s start from the Far East, with one of the most resounding and compelling cases of this Fuorisalone 2017: Tokujin Yoshioka, born in Japan in 1967. His works are between design, contemporary art and architecture and he has brought more than one projects to Milan, with different partners. He realized, in collaboration with the Korean giant, LG, the most fascinating and sought after setting in town, winning the Milano Design Award 2017: S.F_SENSES OF THE FUTURE, a lights metaphysical and technological show, on stage at Superstudio Più in via Tortona.

Yoshioka also signed the poetic project of vases, “Glass Fountain”, with Glas Italia, set up outside the new store of Issey Mikaye, with whom Yoshioka himself often collaborates.   

Tokujin Yoshioka with Glas Italia. Photo by Ugo Dalla Porta

Tokujin Yoshioka with Glas Italia. Photo by Ugo Dalla Porta

From the Orient to Europe: from the U.K. the indisputable star is Tom Dixon, honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for having made the Fuorisalone history with 27 years of attendance and successes. With the Multiplex event at the Galleria Manzoni he opened up his varied and always richer universe of newness and collaborations, from the open bed/sofa platform Delaktig he developed with Ikea to the bike tidbit realized with Moto Guzzi: Tomoto, a unique edition.

Tom Dixon at the Galleria Manzoni with the concept Multiplex. Photo by Federico Floriani

Tom Dixon with the bike Tomoto for Moto Guzzi. Photo by Federico Floriani

We met Yves Béhar. Born in Switzerland, but Californian by adoption. With his studio in San Francisco, Béhar melts technology and design to the utmost degree. For Samsung, he has designed “The Frame”, an almost invisible TV, resembling a picture frame: a system of sensors measures the luminosity of the screen, and compares it with ambient light so, when the TV is switched off, it vanishes. He told us: “The future of technology is to adapt more and more to the needs of people, while becoming more discrete. Today the big companies such as Samsung are keen to risk in order to experiment unprecedented ideas and so this is a new “golden era” for design, which I see as accelerating nnovation”.

Yves Béhar. Photo by Ugo Dalla Porta

Germany is represented by Konstantin Grcic, who, with the functionality and simplicity with which he loves to define himself, has designed for Cassina the Soft Props: a modular sofa that very well represents the DNA of the company and the new development started and guided two years ago by the creative director Patricia Urquiola.

Konstantin Grcic for Cassina. Photo by Andrea Penisto

From Northern Europe here is the unique case of Royalty at the service of design: Prince Carl Philip of Sweden has started a collaboration with the Swedish company, Hästens, bringing a wave of novelty to the iconic image of the most refined beds in the world since 1852. Not everyone knows that the handsome Prince is a graphic designer and with friend Oscar Kylberg has established in Stockholm the Bernadotte & Kylberg studio: the two, on the occasion of Salone del Mobile, have refreshed the graphics and patterns of the Hästens classic blue check.

Prince Carl Philip of Sweden and Oscar Kylberg. Photo by Luca Privitera

French designer Philippe Nigro, who works and lives between his native country and Italy always in balance between experimental research and pragmatic analysis of the “know-how” of the factories and artisans with whom he collaborates, has involved our perception with the Filigrane collection and the installation in Transition, studied for Lea Ceramiche. Nigro stages a world of illusion and reality, natural and artificial, presenting ceramic sheets like marble blocks waiting to be sculpted.

The Milanese duo DWA-Frederik De Wachter and Alberto Artesani works on the same track of investigation between property and appearance of a surface. Always for Lea Ceramiche, they studied the geometrical concept “XYZ – Slimtech”, using digital printing.


Philippe Nigro. Photo by Andrea Penisto

The duo DWA-Frederik De Wachter and Alberto Artesani. Photo by Ingrid Taro

The historic French maison Louis Vuitton in Milan presents itself as usual at the prestigious Palazzo Bocconi, launching the extension pieces of the “Objets Nomades” collection, started in 2012. For LV here is a roster of international creative minds of prime importance. Among them: Brazilian brothers Humberto and Fernando Campana, who in the new sofa Bomboca evoke the shell from which  Botticelli’s Venus appears, and Dutch Marcel Wanders (also protagonist at the Fuorisalone with Wonderglass at the Istituto dei Ciechi venue and with Moooi), who intertwines the leather in a series of LV monogram logos bringing to life the Diamond Screen. And the Raw-Edges couple (Yael and Shay, who met in Jerusalem and work in London), who propose the leather, wood and brass The Shelf piece, keep experimenting with foldable objects and ideas.  

Humberto Campana and the Bamboca sofa for LV. Photo by Marco Menghi

Marcel Wanders and the screen fot LV. Photo by Marco Menghi

Yael Mer and Shay Alkalay of the Raw Edges duo, for LV. Photo by Marco Menghi

From Spain we met Jaime Hayon of Madrid, author of the colorful world of Caesarstone  quartz and of the concept Frizt Hotel for the Danish company Republic of Fritz Hansen, where he combines Mediterranean vivacity with the rigor of Norhern Europe.

From Portugal we present Emmanuel Babled, whose studio is in Lisbon: in Milano he launched a revolving chair made of  a block of cement. 

Jaime Hayon for Fritz Hansen. Photo by Marco Menghi

Emmanuel Babled. Photo by Luca Privitera

Gordon Guillaumier, Maltese by origin, but cosmopolitan by education and now Milan-based, has designed for Alf DaFré Jetty, a minimalistic bed made of metal tube elements with a Japanese inspiration, and the living room collection Rigadin in grooved wood.

Gordon Guillaumier. Photo by Andrea Penisto.

From Argentina here is Francisco Gomez Paz, but today working in Milano, one of the greatest names in the lighting field. He won the Lighting Award 2017 by EDIDA (Elle Deco Internation Design Awards) for his project Candela and don’t forget about the study of dematerialization of structure and function he did with Ivy for Luceplan.


The Argentinian, Francisco Gomez Paz with Ivy for Luceplan. Photo by Filippo Messina

Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin of Studio Formafantasma work always with light, in the wake of the Gomez Paz's essentialism. Both very Italian – Trimarchi is from the Sicily region and Farresin from Veneto – but now settled down in Amsterdam, presented WireRinf for Flos: “It’s an exercise – they told us at Euroluce – of reduction, a luminous source reduced to its essential components: a LED circle and an electric cord unexpectedly become the structure of a flat-pack lamp with sculpture - like qualities”.  They also set up their lighting projects at Spazio Krizia: it was a not to be missed destination of this Milano Design Week 2017.

Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin of Studio Formafantasma with WireRing for Flos. Photo by Filippo Messina

And still in the lighting field, Milanese Davide Groppi designed an unusual hanging lamp with a rechargeable battery and a… prophetic name… QuiQuoQua: with no electric cord you can take it around wherever you go!

Davide Groppi with the portable lamp QuiQuoQua. Photo by Filippo Messina

Let’s go in depth in the Italian scene, always recalling names, encounters and projects of various nature and kind.

An exceptional trio: Atelier Biagetti (Alberto Biagetti and Laura Baldassari), with curator Maria Cristina Didero. The team, with that sacrilegious irony that distinguishes its body of works, has shaken us up with the setting of “God”, a satire about the obsession money that looks like a blend of bank vault filled with gold bricks and a luxury supermarket.

Alberto Biagetti, Laura Baldassari andMaria Cristina Didero. Photo by Luca Privitera

In the fascinating industrial space of Fabbrica Orobica, Paola Lenti and Francesco Rota have presented their new collection in balance between outdoor and indoor, playing with colors and materials, ceramics and carpets.


Paola Lenti and Francesco Rota.Photo by Martina Scaravati

Enrico Fratesi of the Italian-Danish studio GamFratesi staged, with outstanding success according to both audience and critics, the concept of retail of the future: the multi-sensorial experience called Elle Decor Concept Store at Palazzo Bovara.

The journalist of ElleDecor.it interviews Enrico Fratesi on the occasion of the Elle Decor Concept Store set-up at Palazzo Bovara. Photo by Lea Anouchinsky

Not designers or architects but entrepreneurs to keep in mind: Renzo Rosso and Pasquale Junior Natuzzi, second generation respectively of the Diesel and Natuzzi companies. Both presented their own brands in great shape! Renzo Rosso brought to life the first ever Diesel Living Pop-Up, still open, in a former jewellery atelier in the 5 vie district. PJ Natuzzi from Puglia is taking the family company towards a new era, in the name of harmony in design and life.

Andrea Rosso of Diesel Living. Photo by Luca Privitera

Pasquale Junior Natuzzi. Photo by Ingrid Taro

The Made in Italy and 105 years of Poltrona Frau: Ludovica + Roberto Palomba of the Milanese studio Palomba Serafini Associati introduce for the very first time in the collection of the historical company, a low sofa, perfect oasis to relax and chill out.

Neri&Hu, duo based between Shanghai and London, awarded Designer of the Year EDIDA 2017, have also collaborated with Poltrona Frau. And then French Jean-Marie Massaud, who intensifies the mastery of the company with a collection of sculptural chairs.  

Ludovica + Roberto Palomba for Poltrona Frau. Photo by Filippo Messina

Neri&Hu for Poltrona Frau. Photo by Filippo Messina

Jean-Marie Massaud for Poltrona Frau. Photo by Filippo Messina

In the limelight two women, both gallery owners with an evergreen taste and knack for searching and finding names and ideas, between the history of design and future. 

Rossana Orlandi, who, like every year, has orchestrated at her own eponymous gallery in via Bandello a kaleidoscopic world of talents and proposals, promoting the Eindhoven friends Nacho Carbonell (Spanish but living in Holland), Piet Hein Eek and the young Italian Guglielmo Poletti, who has presented the collection Equilibrium, created for his his graduation thesis at the Design Academy Eindhoven.

Rossana Orlandi. Photo by Andrea Penisto

Nacho Carbonell at Rossana Orlandi. Photo by Andrea Penisto

Piet Hein Ee at Rossana Orlandi. Photo by Andrea Penisto

Guglielmo Poletti at Rossana Orlandi. Photo by Andrea Penisto

The other woman protagonist of the international design panorama is Nina Yashar, of Iranian origins but living in Milano since 1963. In her massive, mesmerizing warehouse Nilufar Depot planned by architect  Massimiliano Locatelli, she blends with masterful competence and vivacity Ponti, Mollino, Sottsass, Parisi with India, Persia, Japan and Brazil and new one of a kind pieces.

Nina Yashar of Nilufar. Photo by Ugo Dalla Porta

A new creative mind to take note of and watch over? Without a doubt, Matteo Cibic, hailing from Vicenza, picked by the jury of the Elle Deco International Design Awards as the new talent of the year. Easygoing and ironic, he designed for example per Foyer Goranu the series of little Vaso Naso containers.


Not to forget Giulio Iacchetti, contemporary interpreter of the glorious tradition of Italian design. Iacchetti this year put the sofa-bed at center stage of his work, proposing Meda: “I started from the idea of giving back dignity to an object like the sofa-bed, which already in its hyphenated name leads to an identity crisis. All my products have a name of an Italian village or city always with 4 letters… and this is Meda!”

Matteo Cibic with Vaso Naso. Photo by Luca Privitera

Giulio Iacchetti. Photo by Ingrid Taro

Giulio Iacchetti with the sofa/bed Meda. Photo by Ingrid Taro

Honorable mention goes to Enzo Maiorano and his team at Archiproducts Milano: in their headquarters in via Tortona 31 they put on stage “the Design Experience” week, brilliantly blending architecture, design, virtual reality and… urban art, inviting designer Serena Confalonieri to embellish their external façade.

Serena Confalonieri and Enzo Maiorano photographed at Archiproducts Milano, in via Tortona 31. Photo by Luca Privitera

We would like to close this Best of Salone 2017 anthology and journey with the words of Architect and Professor Beppe Finessi, met in April at la Fabbrica del Vapore on the occasion of the exhibition he curated, “Salone Satellite. 20 years of new creativity”. When we asked him “What today makes your eyes light up?” – he replied – “the little great constructive inventions, the little things that change the world, the work on humor, on the smile. Cleverness is an absolute value, and there are many ways to work well”.

See you at next Salone del Mobile 2018! 

Beppe Finessi has curated the exhibition “SaloneSatellite. 20 years of new creativity” at La Fabbrica del Vapore. Photo by Ugo Dalla Porta. 

by Caterina Lunghi / 5 September 2017


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