Conran’s picks from the 2012 Milan Salone (Part 2)

Following on from this morning’s post, we  look at the key trends and the best stands in Milan.

Silas Swinstead, Franchise Manager, Conran Shop

Top three installations/stands

1. La Cura by Studio Toogood

La Cura by Studio Toogood at MOST lingers most in my mind. The installation was an enjoyable and memorable sensory experience – plus it was a genuine pleasure to be put in touch with my personal creativity again, even if only for 20 minutes! Faye Toogood’s spade chair was my favourite piece of furniture at the show: beauty in simplicity and remarkably comfortable.

Spade chair by Faye Toogood

2. COS popup shop

The COS foldaway popup shop at Ventura Lambrate was beautiful in its simplicity and utility. It emphasised how the Scandinavian aesthetic remains at the heart of the modern concept of ‘good living’.

3. Tom Dixon’s Stamp Lamp production facility

I know Alice has already picked one of Tom Dixon’s lamps, but I’m afraid my heart was stolen by another. The Stamp Lamp is a metallic ‘snowflake’ which can be bent into a three-dimensional – and quite beautiful – lampshade.

Tom set up an on-site production facility for the lamps – they are created by the metal-stamping machines used in car factories. The steam locomotives decorating the space added plenty of drama!

Here’s a video of the stamping machine:

P.S. I also have to point my guilty pleasure: Lee Broom’s crystal bulb. It’s an ingenious evolution of his Decanter Lights into a usable, replaceable standalone fitting. Well done Lee!

Jared Mankelow, Senior Product Designer, Conran Studio

Top three changes in product design

1. Process

Companies like Kartel and Zanotta strongly featured process – sketches, models, prototypes – as well as finished products. . This is a great way to communicate what goes into developing a product – and perhaps sell more product on that basis.

What’s more, it keeps designers happy! We love to know the development process behind products we see, and we love getting such detailed credit for our own designs.

2&3. Junctions/connections and leg details

This is about high-end manufacturers showing off the build quality of their work – and thereby justifying their price tags.  There was a sharp focus on how different materials butt up against each other and the mechanical fixings and structure behind furniture.

A lot more of the key elements to products are being exposed and manufacturers are finally starting to embrace this. Forms are flush, robust and sturdy with the visual language starting to affect how products look.

Paul Middlemiss & Eleanor Davies, Buying Team, The Conran Shop

Top three big trends

1. Reimagined classics

A lot of the big names were exhibiting redesigns of classic pieces, like Charlotte Perriand’s 50s shelves (by Cassina), Joe Colombo’s 1965 chair, and Richard Scultz’s Petal table (from Kartell).

You could call it celebration of classic design, or lily-livered conservatism – though the pieces were too nice to complain too much.

2. Technology

Whether it was Domus’ The Future in the Making event (complete with canapes 3D-printed from Nutella), or the very placement of Tom Dixon’s MOST show in the Museum of Science and Technology, tech was just about everywhere in Milan.

Dixon punched furniture from sheet metal. Assa Ashuach demoed his Digital Forming software, we may or may not turn traditional product development on its head. Dominic Wilcox raced a 3D printer to make a model of the Duomo (he won, just). Not since the Industrial Revolution has such pride been taken in the manufacturing process itself.

3. Colour

Debate rages on as to whether orange or yellow is the colour of the year (we know what Pantone think), but one thing was clear at Milan: bright is alright.

So there you have it: Milan, via Conran. Anything we missed?

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1 Comment

Filed under Good design, Milan Design Fair 2012, THE CONRAN SHOP, TRADE SHOWS AND EXHIBITIONS

One response to “Conran’s picks from the 2012 Milan Salone (Part 2)

  1. Last but not least: we think this ‘furniture tasting’ waffle iron, featured over at Design Sponge, is worth a mention:

    http://www.designsponge.com/2012/04/furniture-for-breakfast.html

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