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Form Function and Desire

Form Function and Desire


An annual confluence of the infinite possibilities in design and interiors Salone Del Mobile is a precise blend of form, function and desire

Bollywood likens the idea of brothers and sisters getting lost in a fair – to reunite within a span of three hours. Given the global reach of our film industry; in the contemporary mode – what if the siblings got lost at Salone Del Mobile. Would they ever reunite?  With the display area exceeding 200,000 m2 they eventually may, but perhaps in a sequel!

Similar to a ritualistic convergence which brings together the faithful’s, every year in April; Salone serves as a sanctum sanctorum of design and aesthetics. Design enthusiasts across the globe converge, get inspired and celebrate. The various pavilions serve as a testimony to all the esoteric and exoteric possibilities that exist in the realm of good design. For Italy, Salone acts as a barometer which lets it gauge its pre-eminence as a capital of design. For the brands it’s a display of their brand value, strength and an opportunity to form successful associations. The event also sees the participation of independent designers who showcase their inherent design ideas across a multitude of products.

The length and breadth of the design confluence is akin to a river necessitating the presence of rivulets like Salone Satellite, International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition, Euroluce, Workplace3.0 and The Salone Events. This year too, the river and rivulets were a concoction of branded entities like Hermes, Cassina, Louis Vuitton, Minotti, Giorgetti, Tom Dixon, Poltrana Frau, Atelier Swarovksi Home – Aldo Bakker and Tomas Alonso. And these are only a handful!

From installations to exhibits to products, the sole idea at Salone was to demonstrate the grandeur of design and define its power to enthral, entice and tempt. Germans Ermics paid homage to iconic Japanese designer Shiro Kuramata with Ombre Glass Chair (2017). Originally designed by Shiro the Glass Chair was one of the most influential furniture designs of the 20th century. The rechristened version sets a precedent for the direction of design in glass, in which the simplicity, transparency of the material is emphasized. Delta Light turned the surroundings of the historic Palazzo Crivelli into a monumental lighting installation. The feat was achieved with the help of Architect OMA, who utilised the three-piece XY 180 to design an installation which served as an apt example of geometry and symmetry. Pink was the focus in Franco-Italian designer Marc Ange’s Le creation ‘Refuge’. Based on his adolescent experiences, the pink bed with pink leaves was an instant rage on the social media.

In the business of design, Milan is synonymous with luxury; this fact was accentuated with xLux – a pavilion launched for the Interior Furnishing Accessories Exhibition in the 2016 edition. xLux is devoted to timeless luxury reworked in a contemporary vein. This year around the the International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition was split into two style sections, Classic, Design and xLux. The classification was a clever intervention to categorise manufacturers and ensure no corners are left untouched. xLux served as a  perfect fit for luxury brands which started off producing classical and design products but added an element of modern-day.

This year Salone Satellite entered into its 20th year, showcasing its best exhibits in two decades. More than 500 projects from around the world which were selected last October by a prestigious selection committee were displayed. Studio Avni’s critically acclaimed ‘Marigold Series’ was one of products showcased in this segment. Commenting on the development, Designer Avni Sejpal said “The exhibition is an attempt to rethink the entire history of the Salone Satellite event, looking back at the work of all the designers who looked to SaloneSatellite for advice and dialogue with the manufacturing and critical world, and for contact with other young designers engaged in thinking up new design ideas, in the domestic realm particularly, in different parts of the world.”

Salone kept its date with sustainability too with Euroluce the International Lighting Exhibition. 40,000 square metres of exhibition space was occupied by 485 exhibitors including Lasvit, Flos, Ingo Maurer and Roll & Hill. Recognised as the global benchmark lighting exhibition with a keen focus on integrating design and technology, Euroluce is also the most avant-garde trade fair in the field of eco-sustainability and energy saving. Few gems from Euroluce included Yoruba Rose by German Designer Ingo Maurer and Lollipop by Boris Klimek.

Good design entails an aura of positivity; it improves the functionality of an individual in the productive sense. Hence the design ideologue has moved beyond the borders of home and interiors into workspaces. Workplace 3.0 which saw the presence of 100 companies accentuated this fact with new design requisites for “inhabiting” the workspace. ‘A Joyful Sense at Work’ an exhibit curated by Cristiana Cutrona furthered this idea of workspace innovation with four different possibilities designed by Primo Orpilla Verda Alexander/Studio O+A (United States), Arash Ahmadi/ Ahmadi Studio (Iran), Ben van Berkel/ UNStudio and Jeff Povlo/SCAPE (Holland) and Alfonso Femia and Gianluca Peluffo/Studio 5+1AA (Italy).

Design is a thought process which is infinite in its reach. But this infinity has to be calibrated for mortal souls to comprehend its meaning. The calibration paves the way for the end product which elucidates the finer aspects of design; giving it a form which can be seen: a function which can be understood: and aesthetics – akin to a nubile temptress which can be felt. For all such possibilities and beyond Italy will continue to cajole us year on year with Salone Del Mobile!


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