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12 Designers Handpicked from Isola Design

It is impossible to focus on a handfull of designers when each one from Isola Design Festival 2024, during Milan Design Week, transcend boundaries of design thinking. Each design looks into new ways of generating value through ideas, projects, and solutions at Isola. Bringing together designers from diverse backgrounds and nationalities, Isola has inspired a holistic approach that transcends borders and traditional ways of seeing design. Yet we scrutinise 12 designs from the lot that got our attention.

Seats of Comfort

QDS from Italy

The Solar Lounger

Three seatings from Quasidesign; all three colourful, quirky and surprisingly comfortable.  Ranging from a Solar lounger in a sinuous form to a quirky seater in bright orange and a multipurpose piece of ingenuity, these three forms of seating, that look fancy and yet maintain its functionality are designs from Italian firm Quasidesign Studio.

The Solar Lounger, made of polyethylene with a matte finish, not only lends an elegant and contemporary appearance but also ensures durable resistance to external weather conditions, guaranteeing its beauty and functionality over time.

Sweep by Quasidesign.

Sweep is an armchair crafted with a core of curved metal, ensuring solidity and support, upholstered with soft padding varying in textures. Quirky and stylish it delivers on support and comfort as well.

Dionea by QDS.

Dionea is comfortable seater capable of accommodating the body in various situations, limited only by the imagination of its user: sitting upright, lying down, curled up like in a nest, with crossed legs, in meditation, reading a book, or in company, sipping a glass of wine.

Modern Craft

Yet Design Studio from Turkey

The story of the Ripple Armchair is of the combination of contemporary design and traditional craftsmanship. The wooden frame stands out as the representative of the design with its strength and durability, while the quilt draped over it is a craft of the past.

Designed to revitalise and preserve the cultural heritage of traditional Turkish quilting, this armchair stands out as a contemporary interpretation of the traditional quilting craft and aims to breathe new life into the vanishing quilt art.

More Than a Toy

Tanay Kandpal from Netherlands 

This project by Indian designer  based in Netherlands Tanay Kandpal explores how a collection of Channapatna craft objects, from the South of India; an unacknowledged eastern origin of the Memphis design movement, “returns” to Milan to reclaim its inclusion in contemporary design discourse. Utilitarian exploration of the craft results in the Āṭike (Toy) Lamp. Handcrafted in Channapatna, lacquered wooden pegs twirl and stack into an accent lamp. Pivoting at its centre, the lamp embodies the playful sensibility of the toy-making craft.

Architectural Reverie

Alejandra Design from NYC

According to architect Alejandra Rojas the collection responds to the curious observation of “misplaced” remnants encountered during summer walks in the city like the geometries emerged from the sight of a six-pack beer ring holder discarded on the streets of NYC.

“As an architect, I started interpreting this as a 2D section drawing that intrigued me. I began mapping this drawing in my head and soon it evolved into a whimsical 3D structure,” says Alejandra.

The aim to raise awareness of the state of our streets, saturated with litter to the extent that it has integrated into our daily lives. Alternatively, they seek to convey the potential for beauty in ordinary objects often deemed as trash.

The final pieces are made in clay using traditional slip casting techniques and fired in a kiln. Each piece is then hand glazed to create varying effects that emphasizes the patterns creating beautiful geometric textures.

Hand Spun

Richa Gujadhur from Mauritius

The hand-woven, indoor/outdoor designs of the MORIS Collection by Mauritian designer Richa Gujadhur are inspired by local handcrafted “rotin” furniture, hand-woven baskets, and traditional architecture. They are designed by Richa with traditional metal working and hand weaving methods combining modern recycled materials. The varied palette of customisable sizes, colours and patterns make for contemporary pieces with an international appeal that can be tailored to suit and characterise diverse environments.

Simple Seats

Ohm Studio from France

Made of one metal sheet, two pleats, and four screws, Bloc by France-based Ohm is a line like that is marked by simplicity. The conception is clear simplicity, triviality, and sends us back to the notion of frugality, aligning with the maxim, “To make something better with less.”

Polished to Last

Roc Biel from the UK

London-based Industrial Designer Roc Biel who specialises in high-tech, user-focused design has created stools made in steel that reflect the surroundings it is in.

“Made in an era where the boundaries between the real and the digital blur, I am proud to introduce a collection of stools that challenges perception. These two stools, evoke architectural marvels from a dystopian future; they are designed to inspire and provoke thought,” he says.

The production techniques, drawing from Japanese joinery and intricate packaging design, result in lightweight yet sturdy stools, each weighing about 8kg.

Raised from Remnants

Phlox from Amsterdam

Amsterdam-based textile designer Phlox is intrigued by everyday life and is inspired by everyday materials that are often overlooked. The materials that she uses are sustainable and repurposed for new purposes.

“Throughout the years, I’ve been documenting the four seasons, focusing on the materials and colours that define each one. The changing wardrobe choices throughout these periods have allowed me to capture the evolving colours of nature and fashion. In this process, I’ve found beauty in unexpected places, like the lint and remnants from the dryer, which mirror the seasonal variations in clothing colours and fabrics. These by-products have become key elements in my art, symbolising renewal. My work connects the cycles of nature, the trends in fashion, and the overlooked details of daily life, highlighting the ongoing cycle of change and the nature of style,” she says.

Lamp from Basics

Length Breadth Height from India

A design Studio based In Ahmedabad comes up with Trey-Thyme/Noir/Mud table lamp that is a masterful fusion of artistry and functionality, meticulously designed to elevate any interior space with its refined aesthetic and versatile appeal. Its slender neck, elegantly sculpted and flawlessly proportioned, exudes sophistication and grace, while the smooth surface of the ceramic base, finished in a captivating palette of muted green, deep black, and warm earthy brown, showcases the artisanal craftsmanship and attention to detail inherent in its creation.

Stories from Traditional Materials

Shailesh Rajput Studios from India

Crafted with attention to detail, Product designer Shailesh Rajput creates light fittings that are made from shells and even a bead called rudraksha that has mythical properties according to its association with Lord Shiva of Hindu religion. Crafting around such natural stones and surfaces, the light from these LED fittings gives a diffused light, each of them different from the other, adding to the mystery of the products.

Flowers of Colour

Atelier Iris Nijenhuis from Amsterdam

Iris Nijenhuis is an Amsterdam based fashion and product designer with a passion for experimental shapes and structures. Artisanal craftsmanship and innovative techniques go hand in hand in her work, which includes eye catching textile wearables and various interior objects such as wall panels, dressed lampshades, vases and pinned flowers.

By experimenting with laser cutting, she developed a modular technique in which the fabric is cut into small puzzle pieces that form the basis of the design process.

Harvested from Nature

Yu Watanabe from Japan

The light fitting made from bamboo uses a lacquer that is called Urushi lacquer, a sustainable, biodegradable and beautifully glossy natural Japanese sap harvested from the trees in a respectful way. Unfortunately, the traditional craft of Urushi is in decline due to the emergence of alternative materials. This project aims to revitalise this craft and create a space that connects us with nature.

Crafted by hand by skilled artisans, each product is created in respect of the slow, yet continuous production of natural material. This circular design has a wide range of applications and the potential to restore the relationship between nature and people contrasting the modern reliance on single-use plastics.