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Posts Tagged ‘Milano’

(smow) blog 2013. A pictorial review: September

After the relative calm and civility of July and August, September sees a more than inconsequential upping of our professional pensum. In addition to our regular pilgrimage to Vienna Design Week, September 2013 also saw the opening of Lightopia at the Vitra Design Museum, Made in Slums – Mathare Nairobi at the Triennale Design Museum Milan, the International Marianne Brandt Contest in Chemnitz, and the acquisition of Finnish manufacturer Artek by Vitra……

Cologne Design Week 2013 Objects for the Neighbour

Cologne Design Week 2013: Objects for the Neighbour

Vitra acquire Artek Eames meets Aalto Jackson Gallery Basel

Jackson Gallery Stockholm present a collection of Alvar Aalto furniture at Design Miami Basel 2013

International Marianne Brandt Contest 2013 Jury discussions

International Marianne Brandt Contest 2013: The Jury in discussion

Triennale Design Museum Milan Made in Slums Mathare Nairobi Jiko Ya Mabati

The cooking device Jiko Ya Mabati. As seen at Made in Slums - Mathare Nairobi, Triennale Design Museum Milan

vitra design museum lightopia

Vitra Design Museum Lightopia

vitra design museum lightopia alberto garutti temporali global light map

Temporali by Alberto Garutti and a map of global light usage. As seen at the Vitra Design Museum, Lightopia

Vienna Design Week 2013 Passionswege Riess Oscar Wanless

Vienna Design Week 2013: Passionswege - Oscar Wanless @ Riess Email

Vienna Design Week 2013 Marlene Klausner Depot 0411

Vienna Design Week 2013: Marlene Klausner – Depot_0411

Vienna Design Week 2013 Passionswege Bertille + Mathieu J & L Lobmeyr

Vienna Design Week 2013: Passionswege - Bertille + Mathieu at J & L Lobmeyr


Milan Design Week 2013: Droog 20+, Up to a beautiful future

A few weeks ago in our post on the opening of the Droog Lab exhibition The New Original in Guangzhou, China we noted, “….knowing Droog we’re fairly certain that “The New Original” will be presented in Europe before too long. ”

Droog didn’t disappoint and the objects were displayed in Milan as part of the show “Droog 20+, Up to a beautiful future”, 20 years of Droog celebrated by looking forwards rather than the more conventional backwards.

Milan Design Week 2013 Droog 20+ Up to a beautiful future

Milan Design Week 2013: Droog 20+ Up to a beautiful future

The background idea to The New Original is relatively simple: copying, according to Droog Lab, isn’t always direct replication, more often than not copying involves a level of alteration, for example to meet local needs or reflect social and /or cultural differences. Since the popular conception is that the Chinese are world champions in copying, Droog Lab visited China and copied everyday Chinese objects, albeit with an adaptation for the European, western market.

The result is a truly engaging collection of objects.

While “Teapot with Handle” by Richard Hutten was chosen as the Poster Girl of the exhibition we were much more taken with Glass Lantern and LED Bulbs, both also from Richard Hutten and both objects which not only represent an excellent interpretation of the brief, but are truly delightful creations. Delightful creations that never would have been realised without The New Original.

Similarly the Family Vases and Five Function Cabinet by Studio Droog are lovely pieces of work and ones that could only have arisen within the context of such a basic research project.

We don’t know what the long term plans are, we however expect you will soon find one or the other in you local Droog shop.

Milan Design Week 2013 Droog 20+ Up to a beautiful future Family Vases Five Function Cabinet Glass Lantern

Five Function Cabinet, Family Vases and Glass Lantern from the Droog Lab project "The New Original"

A further highlight of the far too compact “Droog 20+, Up to a beautiful future” was the results of the Rijksstudio project, Studio Droog’s cooperation with Amsterdam based design studio deJongeKalff.

Rijksstudio is a digitalised databank of 125,000 works from the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam’s collection and publicly available as a free online resource. Having digitalised the works Droog and deJongeKalff then went a stage further and borrowed images and moments from the databank and transformed them into real objects.

Copying, with an adaptation. If you like.

The highlights of the collection for us is Napkin Collar, a napkin ring inspired by a 17th century ruff, however notable mentions must also go to Tasting Glasses and Rubber Tablecloth.

One of the things we like about Droog is the fact they are essentially a design research agency, a conceptual troupe who sell products to finance the rest of their work.

Older readers will remember the 2011 Why Design ? symposium at the HFBK Hamburg when Andreas Brandolini said more or less the same about the early days of the Neues deutsches Design movement in Berlin: they sold products to raise capital. The products themselves having little or no meaning for their creators.

For ultimately much like there is no show without business, so to can design never completely free itself from industry.

The question is what is produced, how, in what quantities and with what motivation.

You don’t have to like everything Droog do. And we certainly don’t. But you do have to respect and admire the way they do it.

And hope that they continue doing it for the next twenty years.

Milan Design Week 2013 Droog 20+ Up to a beautiful future Johannes Vermeer

Rijksstudio with an homage to Johannes Vermeer at Droog 20+ Up to a beautiful future, Milan

Milan Design Week 2013 Droog 20+ Up to a beautiful future Napkin Collar

Napkin Collar, Tasting Glasses and Rubber Tablecloth at Droog 20+ Up to a beautiful future, Milan

Milan Design Week 2013 Droog 20+ Up to a beautiful future LED Bulb

LED Bulb by Richard Hutten at Droog 20+ Up to a beautiful future, Milan

Milan Design Week 2013 Droog 20+ Up to a beautiful future Teapot with Handle

Teapot with Handle by Richard Hutten at Droog 20+ Up to a beautiful future

(smow) in Milan: kkaarrlls 2010

For us one of the true highlights of Saloni Milano 2009 was the kkaarrlls showcase from students at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe.

Not least because in comparison to many of the student shows at Milan 2009, the kkaarrlls show displayed some real potential. And talent.

And so excellent to see the project rolling on again for Milan 2010.

As ever we’ll have to wait until we’ve actually seen the items before deciding.

However from the photos we like the look of “Screw Rider” by Anna Brugger and “Pl(a)ywood” by Silvia Knüppel. And good to see that the truly excellent “Kantbank” by Andreas Grindler is going to be there again.

We will keep you updated!

Screw Rider by Anna Brugger kkaarrlls Milan 2010

Screw Rider by Anna Brugger kkaarrlls Milan 2010

Playwood yb Silvia Knüppel kkaarrlls Milan 2010

Pl(a)ywood by Silvia Knüppel kkaarrlls Milan 2010

Kantbank by Andreas Grindler  kkaarrlls Milan 2010

Kantbank by Andreas Grindler kkaarrlls Milan 2010

smow in Milan: Ciao

It’s almost time.

The exhibition halls are half-empty, the beer fridge in the press room half-full and the hold of our Lufthansa plane back to Leipzig is being waterproofed on account of the 6 kilos Italian rainwater we are now carrying with us.

It’s been a fun week – and a heart-felt thanks from us to all who made it possible and who made it what it was, both here at the exhibition centre, but also Superstudio, Zona Tortona and all the off-site shows and exhibitions.

But although we are leaving Milan, we take with us a notebook full of observations, interviews, anecdotes, thoughts and plain nonsense.

We haven’t, for example, as yet said an thing about Kartell, Lampert, or Thonet. Or Les Belges. Bauhaus. Phillipe Starck. Pizza. And we have a second Silvio Berlusconi video.

All that will come in the coming week or two, in addition to the “usual” infos, updates, reports and product descriptions.

But our next tour is already planned.

We haven’t told the (smow)bosses yet, but from 03.06-07.06 the International Design Festival takes place in Berlin.

And we’ll make sure you can read all the best bits here.


DMY International Design Festival Berlin

smow in Milan: And loving that Venice feeling

They say that in every life a little rain must fall. The amount that has fallen in Milan in the past 24 hour is however ridiculous.

And unjust.

It has rained so much in Milan the horse shrank

It has rained so much in Milan the horse has shrunk

We don’t know what the Milanese did to annoy Tlaloc, BUT WE WEREN’T THERE!!!! And had we been, and had we seen what the Milanese were doing we would have tried to stop them.

As it is, however, we were forced to flee our tent at 3.15 this morning – enjoyable as the water bed effect through the tent floor was, we have an awful lot of state of the art technology with us, and two Moleskine notebooks, and weren’t keen to test how waterproof they all are.

As we arrived at the campsite cafe the first evacuees were already making themselves at home and in the course of the night/morning ever more were to join us.

It's spelt "djik" and yes you should have built one....

It's spelt "dijk", and yes you should have built one....

What we found a little disappointing was the number of Dutch teenagers seeking refuge. Had their grandparents found themselves in a similar predicament they would have simply constructed a network of dykes and so both diverted the rainwater away from the tents and artificially lowered the ground water level thus preventing any further problems. And in all probability they would have then used the reclaimed land to raise a new breed of cattle that produced milk with a particularly low water content from which one could make an excellently creamy, hard cheese.

That the current generation of Hollanders instead choose to flee half naked into a campsite cafe is truly a sad indictment on the current state of Holland.

We blame the euro.

Camping in Milan can be recommended - just avoid the pitch in bottom left of the site.

Camping in Milan can be recommended - just avoid the pitch in bottom left-hand corner of the site.

However, we know and appreciate that around the world there are thousands of persons who are forced to flee their homes under much more distressing conditions. And if they worst we have to do is get up three hours early in order to avoid a wet laptop then we know we can count ourselves very lucky.

And finally a big thank you from us to the staff at Camping Milano for the friendly and uncomplicated help and assistance they offered in the night. Much appreciated.

The (smow)tent at 7.30 this morning - Like the Galstonbury Festival, just without the music.

The (smow)tent at 7.30 this morning - Like the Galstonbury Festival, just without the troublesome music.

smow in Milan: Unnamed Foldable Cardboard Chair

In our entry on the designersblock showcase we mentioned a foldable cardboard chair that had caught our attention.
Now we know as well as everyone else that are our heads are readily turned by free beer and bagpipes (thanks Calum) – and if you throw in some dub and finest Italian ska and we would lie for you in court.
And so we thought we had better wait a day or two before saying anything more about Stuart Miller’s fine folding cardboard chair. In case we found something better. We thought we had last night, but no…

Stuart is a student at Glasgow Caledonian University, and the chair is part of his final year project. And as yet unnamed.

As your smow(blog) team were impoverished, over-worked and under-nourished students at Glasgow Strathclyde University, regardless of much stick we took from the oinks at Glasgow University we could at least take solace in the fact that the Glasgow Tech students were even lower down the social scale than us.

That hasn’t changed, but Glasgow Tech became Glasgow Caledonian University and the industrial design department has also grown up. And there were genuinely a few good works from the Glasgow students on show in Milan, but the pick was Stuart’s chair.

It is comfortable. It is stable. It looks good.

But the important factors are the ease with which it folds flat and its lightness.

Stuart brought two chairs with him in a budget airline – and we all know how strict they are; on account of the weight we once had trouble checking a club sandwich in as hold baggage…

They are light.

And fold flat.

And as such perfect for either keeping in a cupboard in case extra guests turn up unannounced; for putting in the car if your heading-off somewhere and planning camping or stopping for a picnic; or if your flying off to a holiday cottage in the sun and don’t fancy sitting on a cheap plastic chair.

Theoretically you could even strap them to the back of your bike…

The range of uses is almost unlimited – for example, as seating while decorating a room – yet the stability and comfort remains.

And as you can see from the video – they take seconds to assemble.

As we said earlier: “Took a problem, analysed it, solved it. And that with style and comfort. Lovely.”

In terms of the “extra seating market” the folding chair was, until now, the unquestioned king, queen, prince and illicit son idling in exile and planning his bloody revenge …

Until now…

A foldable chair made from a recycled cardboard is a real alternative. And not only because of the space and weight savings – aesthetics are also important.

And so if Moormann, Lampert or SCP are reading…

(P.S. Sorry, we weren’t thinking when we made the film, hence the sideways image :( And sadly here in Milan we have neither the software nor the RAM to change that, but once we’re back in Leipzig…)

smow in Milan: A stolen moment

Make up your own joke… we like:

“Apparently, he had heard that there are some classics here that never go out of fashion  – and wanted some tips”

“Lets go to Kartell, they’re also 100% plastic”

We can’t promise a prize for the best suggestion, but send your “entries” to and who knows.

smow in Milan: A stolen moment

smow in Milan - and in good company

smow in Milan - and in good company

What the war on terror being won and everything, it appears Barack Obama has turned to his Secret Service to help save the American economy.
We know its a weak joke, but they sadly didn’t seem to understand what we meant when we asked what the delivery time is for Waterboards.

smow in Milan: A stolen moment

smow in Milan - Walter Benjamin shows his support for Perim.2072 by Bastian Goecke

smow in Milan - Walter Benjamin shows his support for Perim.2072 by Bastian Goecke

At the kkaarrllss showcase we couldn’t help noticing that the students were using a copy of  “Das Kunstwerk” [The work of art…] by Walter Benjamin to support the lamp.

A subtle critic on Benjamin’s Marxist ramblings,  a rejection of modernism or just typical student forgetfulness.

Fascinating ;)

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