We’re great believers in Fate, in the guiding principle that if it is meant to be, it will be: not least because it protects us from the expectations of achievement.

Further proof of the veracity of Fate was provided by our meeting during Milan Design Week 2018 with the project Moorwerk by Jan Christian Schulz.

Moorwerk by Jan Christian Schulz, as seen at ein&zwanzig, Milan Design Week 2018

Milan Furniture Fair 2018, at least amongst those more design led manufacturers, is/was largely about consolidation, largely about new materials, new colours, slight changes to existing objects, with one or the other family proudly presenting their latest members. Which is no complaint, far from it, Milan’s speciality traditionally being the new for the sake of the new, that misguided belief that one has to present something new every year. You don’t. Present something new when you’ve got something new to say, something new to contribute, something meaningful.

Largely ≇ exclusively and there were a few new projects to be found which did have something new to say, did have something new to contribute, were something meaningful. If not enough for a handful. Sure we could have added another project just to compete the quintet, there being no shortage of candidates to choose from, but then just as we don’t expect manufacturers to publish for the sake of the new rather for the quality, so we don’t publish for the sake of the five….

As ever we didn’t see everything, have without question missed things we shouldn’t have missed, things we will regret missing later, apologies all round, but, and with that in mind, our Milan Furniture Fair 2018: High Four!!

Milan Furniture Fair 2018 High Five

Whereas exhibitions in which designers show prototypes and discontinued projects by way of explaining who they are, where they come from and how they work, are a, relatively, regular occurrence, exhibitions in which manufacturers do such are much, much rarer: with the exhibition Typecasting Vitra make a very rare and very welcome exception

And in doing so don’t just present an image not only of Vitra past, but also take a look into the future…..

Vitra -Typecasting, as seen at Milan Design Week 2018

Curated by Carwan Gallery Beirut co-founder Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte, Unsighted presents projects by eight international designers; the title making reference to the fact that the designers weren’t told for what they were being commissioned, had no external context; were working, as it were, Unsighted.

During Milan Design Week 2018 all became clearer…

Unsighted, Milan Design Week 2018

With his two faces the Roman God Janus looks simultaneously forward and backwards, standing in constant watch over transitions, the passage of time, beginnings, ends.

The easy connection to make is with January, that month of the year when we are invariably reflecting and hoping in equal measure: the more complex connection to make is with a well-crafted architecture and design exhibition, one which effortlessly links reflections of the past with proposals, visions and excitement for the future. Nothing existing as it does in isolation. And everything requiring a transition.

Our five gatekeepers for January 2018 can be found in San Francisco, Brussels, Basel, Milan and Cologne.

5 New Architecture & Design Exhibitions for January 2018

Backrests appeared to be a major feature of those new products Konstantin Grcic presented at Milan Furniture Fair 2017. Or perhaps better put, from those new product we saw by Konstantin Grcic, we interpreted the backrest as being central components. But it wasn’t all about backrests, a few thoughts on new products for Magis, Plank, Flos and Mattiazzi.

Noctambule by Konstantin Grcic for Flos, as seen at Milan Furniture Fair 2017

Much as we moan, moan, and moan about Milan Furniture Fair, it is a rare opportunity to get a snapshot of where individual designers are currently at: differing products for differing manufacturers being displayed in relatively proximity allowing for a nice overview. A few considerations on the latest projects by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Vitra, Magis, Flos and Mattiazzi.

Verticale by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec for Flos, as seen at Milan Furniture Fair 2017

As older readers will be well aware, little gets us down quite like Milan Furniture Fair. Every year our only wish as we cross the Alps is that we will find something to make us thankful that we did. Milan Furniture Fair 2017 produced more such moments than the average year, which we suppose means we’ll be back next year!!

Our Milan Furniture Fair 2017 High Five!!

While it’s hard to feel anything even vaguely resembling joy in a month which sees the UK start its senseless and cowardly, withdrawal from the European Union … life goes on!!

Our five top distractions for April 2017 features new design and architecture exhibitions in Berlin, New York, Paris, Dessau and Milan.

Ettore Sottsass (Photo Barbara Radice, 1984 © and courtesy Studio Ettore Sottsass)

“When I was very small, a little boy of five or six years old, I was certainly no infant prodigy,

Studio Daphna Laurens present Prototipi @ Salone Satellite Milan 2016

Unbelievably, Eindhoven based design studio Daphna Laurens have never, ever, participated at Salone Satellite, that section of the Milan furniture

Low Chair and Stool by Kaspar Hamacher with Tannerie Radermecker, on the wall Bag on Wall by Mathias van de Walle with Ralph Baggeley, as seen at Belgian Matters, Milan 2016

As we believe is now traditional at this time of year….. ….. every year at Milan Design Week the Belgian

Modular bicycle bag/briefcase by Silvio Rebholz and Louis Michel, from the Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart project Più di Pegoretti (Photo courtesy AKB Stuttgart)

Every time we are in Milan, be it for the Design Week or simply to enjoy the city without the

Design is 10 Years Old - Lamp/Side Table by Clemens Lauer, as seen at kkaarrlls 2016, Milan

It’s been a good long while since we last posted about the Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe’s kkaarrlls collection, and thus

New Order by Stefan Diez for HAY, as seen at Milan Design Week 2016

Established in 2002 Danish label HAY have quickly risen to become an important player in the European furniture and home

Ulisse Daybed by Konstantin Grcic for ClassiCon, as seen at Milan Furniture Fair 2016

To the casual observer selecting five outstanding products from the Milan Furniture Fair is a neigh on impossible task, so

XXI Triennale International Exhibition: 21st Century.Design After Design, Milan

If the etymologists are to be believed “April” has its origins in the Latin verb “aperire”. To uncover, to open.

Just as January means Cologne, April is Milan. And normally only Milan. In 2015 however we managed to spice things

"Community: Italy Architecture, city and landscape from the postwar period to 2000" at the Triennale Design Museum, Milan, Italy

December can be a trying month: always having to think of others; always having to patronise bars and restaurants you’ve

In our design calender post on the inaugural Memphis Exhibition in Milan we noted that although important for the development

Celebrated as the salvation of design. Denounced as kitsch. Fresh & invigorating. Vain & hifalutin. A watershed in design history.

A New Layer Taiwanese lacquer art seen through Swedish eyes at The Röhsska Museum Gothenburg Sweden

As Noël Coward famously observed, only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun, and it takes a

USM - Rethink the Modular, Milan Design Week 2015

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Fritz Haller and Paul Schärer’s USM Haller modular furniture system USM instigated a series

Uffici Chair by Nitzan Cohen for Mattiazzi, as seen at Milan Furniture Fair 2015

Several visitors to the Milan furniture fair with whom we spoke, including some whose judgement on such matters we value

Belgium is Design - Confronting the Masters, Milan 2015

As is becoming traditional the interregional initiative Belgium is Design used Milan Design Week to present a showcase of contemporary