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Conran Contracts in Milan 2010

Natasha Notara is the only female member of Conran Contracts. Her snazzy stilettos sit stylishly under the desk amid a mass of, admittedly, very finely tailored brogues.

In the last of our reports on Milan 2010, she takes us around the ‘contracts’ best of it…

Being my first time in Milan for the furniture fair I was amazed by the change of this city to accommodate the great Saloni del Mobile. I was also amazed by the amount of crazed furniture obsessive’s (including myself) that stomp throughout  the city during this week of mayhem carrying their tourist maps and clutching their Fiera Tickets to their chests like their life depended on it. After seeing the queues to get them, I soon understood why.

Josh Beach, our Head of Contracts and I began our day on Via Tortona, home to Super Studio and many small garages turned into exhibition spaces for the up and coming furniture designers and graphic artists. The area is such that even though it is one main road, there are passageways leading off with young artists hanging out on the sun soaked streets. At some point Josh and I stumble upon a furniture/art/knitting exhibition going on where part of an art install had a functioning candy floss machine, churning out clouds of spun sugar and encouraging  one to eat the install to help create the art – I didn’t need much encouragement.

Further down we saw some fantastically original pieces, one of my favourite discoveries being two designers from The Hague:


Tiddo de Ruiter,

In Super studio we met with the Tom Dixon guys where they showed us a new chair they thought would work perfectly for Contracts:


Once at the fair itself we headed straight to Vitra and had to fight through the crowd to get on to the stand –  Josh’s crutches came in very handy…

This year Vitra was showing off some new additions to their brand, the Suita Sofa range by Antonio Citterio, the new size of the ever popular Eames Lounge Chair, the upholstered version of the Eames Plastic chair and Chairless.

As Vitra is usually a one stop store (with its accessories as well as furniture) it was great to see that they had taken this chance to add some more quirky vintage styling pieces and the result was a very at home feel.


Here I am trying out the Chairless by Vitra. As you see it’s basically a giant elastic band that you put around you. Very zen.

At Kartell we saw the new products from Starck. These are great pieces for the Contract market; durable, instantly recognisable and they won’t break the budget.

Next we moved on to Magis and were lucky enough to meet the designer Thomas Heatherwick and discuss his new product the Spun Chair.

Josh was brave enough to try it out, even though he did seem to keep his eyes closed throughout…

Conran Contracts is our contract furniture and lighting division. They are supplying furniture for the bedrooms, restaurants and the Spa for Hotel Verta, which lands very soon at The London Heliport, and will be the first integrated hotel heliport solution in the world.


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Filed under Conran Contracts, Milan Design Fair 2010

Studio Conran: Designers on the look out..reports from Light & Building and Milan fairs

Earlier this month, Studio Conran dodged the ash clouds to visit the Light+ Building trade fair in Frankfurt. Shannon Smith, a Senior Product Designer reports:

L+B is a biennial event, covering a diverse cross-section of the lighting, electrical engineering and building automation industries.We continue to work with Yamagiwa in Japan and are currently working on a range of beautiful lighting control panels for a Finnish company so, thought it an ideal opportunity to lace up the sensible shoes and wander through eleven halls of the imposing Messe Frankfurt. With over 2000 exhibitors, there were plenty of inspiring innovations worth mentioning, however as we reflected wearily on the flight home, there were a couple of cleverly beautiful design solutions that stuck clearly in our minds.

OCCHIO PIU

Once we stopped gaping at the eye-catching exhibition stand complete with waterfall, rainforest and a battalion of iPads, we realised that the comparatively unassuming design of the Occhio Piu lighting system was actually rather good. Every interchangeable component in the modular spotlight assembly was laid bare for public scrutiny, expressing not just a great functional versatility, but incredible aesthetic attention to detail. Although Occhio Piu was cleverly designed to suit various light sources, it was clear that Occhio, along with vast the majority of exhibitors at L+B, viewed high performance, energy efficient LEDs as the way forward.

www.occhio.de

LUCEPLAN

A dazzling highlight of the Luceplan stand, and indeed the entire L+B show was the Hope pendant light, designed by Francisco Gomez Paz and Paolo Rizzato. Hope is a lightweight, refreshingly contemporary take on the traditional chandelier, constructed from a series of thin, polycarbonate ‘fresnel leaves’. Each leaf has a highly polished outer surface, and a textured inner surface of concentric micro-prisms that reflect and refract light much like crystal. Assembly is dead simple, with each ‘stem’ snapping easily into a central steel armature without the need for tools.

Image courtesy of messefrankfurt.com, luceplan.com and gomezpaz.com

More from Milan

Carlos Queiros, another Senior Product Designer here at Studio Conran was also out and about at the Milan Design Fair last week and was Lorraine’s travelling companion on that long overland journey home.

You’ve heard the story but we couldn’t resist these pictures:

“An extra night in Milan usually sounds great…but not at the prices these hotels were charging.

We needed to find a way out of the city. Maximus, the Italian Taxi driver was our chosen chauffeur. After calling his wife of 25 years to tell her he was going to be ‘late for dinner’, we set off stopping off first for some much needed sugar treats….next stop Nice”

Maximus: (shame he doesn't look more like Russell Crowe)

...still working...honest

Still working...honest...

...Paris Darling

Lorraine keeping stylish throughout!

Carlos is the Senior Designer on our exciting and ongoing collaboration with cult German coffee and retail brand Tchibo - our new range is due to launch on the 12th May – more nearer the time!

Here’s some stuff at the fair he loved:

“Milan was full of thought provoking products; the bit that I always most enjoy is the attention to detail from some of the Italian big furniture manufactures.

As a fellow designer it’s always interesting to meet other designers at Milan to discuss their designs. On this occasion the designer who stood out was Thomas Heatherwick.

He explained and demonstrated his fun new chair SPUN, which he’s designed for Magis…

Thomas Heatherwick's SPUN Chair designed for Magis

The Concrete table by Arflex also really stood out – it’s great that it’s made from concrete – no wastage.”

More about Carlos and Tchibo next week.

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Filed under Light & Building Fair 2010, STUDIO CONRAN