Milan Welcomes New Designers
For many design enthusiasts, the SaloneSatellite is the must-visit pavilion within the Salone Milano. It is where creativity flourishes without restrains, it is where design exists at its bare essentials, at its purest if you may and it is the rite of passage for designers making their name in the design world. SCALE puts the focus on the winners of the SaloneSatellite 2022 and finds six others that are equally worthy of attention.
The 23rd edition of SaloneSatellite with 600 promising young design talents known as the “jewels in the Salone’s crown” occupied three pavilions and came under a theme of “Designing for our future selves with a particular focus on sustainability”.
According to the creator of SaloneSatellite, Marva Griffin who considers herself mother to all the new designers, “The participating designers hailed from 48 different countries, five of which – Cyprus, Congo, Cuba, Nigeria and Qatar – are SaloneSatellite 2022 new entries. This is a testament to the networking opportunities of the leading springboard for emerging talents on the international design scene.”
Griffin, one of the longest serving members within the Salone who created this programme to introduce new talent to the design world, is always excited with the prospect of finding the winning teams says, “I’m always very touched when I have to announce them. I wish all could win!”
This time around, the jury, led by Paola Antonelli, selected three projects (plus special mentions) for their designs that “stand out because of the message they embody, focusing not just on the formal incisiveness of their design but also their sustainable, communicative, interactive and ludic element, essential for the lives of adults and children now and, hopefully, also in the future”.
It is the innovativeness that is brought to the fore: of products that make use of video tapes, of plastics, to used tyres and in some cases just simple solutions, creating a concrete bench or perhaps the most simple method in the formation of a bunk bed. It also puts focus on the new generation who are much aware of their culture, from where they come from, of the issues that affect the world, and find solutions by thinking differently. And that perhaps is at the core of the Salone Satellite, the raring to go youthfulness, their grounded personalities and the inclusive products.
Global Context and Local Roots
Nigerian-Canadian designer Lani Adeoye with global roots and outlook, represented by her brand Studio Lani formed by many cultures and insights, won the first prize with ‘RemX’, a refined prototype walker made by a combination of natural materials used for many decades in Nigeria by Yoruba people, a tribe Adeoye is part of.
“It’s a piece that is supposed to help us rethink how we design for elderly or people who need assistance while walking,” she explains. “It’s inspired by [my] grandfather, who was basically embarrassed by medical products as they look very clinical. That is why materiality was important to me; I wanted to design something that doesn’t look medical, an aesthetically fine object that is functional and sustainable, so that you’re not forced to use it but you enjoy it being in your environment.”
Studio Lani has also brought to the SaloneSatellite a product range that reflects her design sensibilities and exemplifies her process, which is “tapping into my global knowledge pool while being considerate and sensitive to the nuances of a given context”. This collection called Ekaabo which in the Yoruba language of Nigeria means welcome echoes West African hospitality. “Its biomorphic forms evoke an organic rhythm, while its use of materials from the earth offer a sense of warmth infused with contemporary interpretations of heritage materials.”
With products ranging from sofas to chairs and light fixtures, all her products follow a concept of design that people connect with on a deeper level, beyond function.
“Essentially, I want to design purposeful pieces, with strong intangible values,” she says.
New Product from Old Movie
Studio Gilles Werbrouck
Studio Giles Werbrouck by two Belgian designers brought to Milan an innovative limited series lamp that was made using an obsolete product — the VHS tape. The designers are super pumped to be at Milan and being part of the Salone as an exhibitor, They say, “ It is a slightly overwhelming experience that gives young designers a lot of exposure and allows us to meet the right people within one week in one place as everyone that matters is present in Milan for this event.”
“The product is the result of the hybridisation of Hugues Loinard’s work and mine,” says Gilles Werbrouck, “What is interesting with that material is that the actual product (the videotape) is obsolete in our society, taking it apart and using the tape is a sustainable way to give it a new space in our home. On top of that, most people born before the 2000’s have great memories with these, so there is an emotional aspect to using these too.”
Hugues Loinard is a visual artist who, amongst other projects, experiments with plaster and jesmonite moulding. For this specific limited series of lamp, the duo decided to work with jesmonite as it is much stronger than plaster but also because it hardens quite rapidly.
“We were also very strict on the 1 lamp = 1 movie rule. Each lamp is made from one entire movie (not more or less than that), therefore some lamps will be more elaborate because the movie is longer and vice versa,” says Werbrouck.
The two designers work on small series and on lighting and wall installations through commissions and “now that the LAMP series is done, we will focus on a new project to come,” they say.
Serbian designer Djurdja Garčević (from Young Balkan Designers) won the third prize with her project ‘Meenghe’ a family of products designed to make the streets and parks more ergonomic and comfortable.
“These urban mobiliary elements are made out of shredded car tires. It’s a proposal to solve the problem of excessive used car tires by producing these products for the cities that are constantly growing,” says Garčević who found that the Salone was a great place to see what the rest of the world is creating, “The best part is all those young people with remarkable minds and fresh new ideas.”
From Plastics to Sculptural Masterpieces
Polish designer Cyryl Zakrzewski in cooperation with Boomplastic (material development) and Nowymodel.org foundation (machine park) aim is to find possible solution to the problem of plastic pollution.
The Continuum collection that they have brought to Milan is a vision of future furniture design in the context of the current ecological crisis.
While we think of plastic as an unneeded waste, Zakrzewski thinks that we need to put to use this material as it is here to stay, “We think it works much better as furniture and decorative material, where its longevity is very welcome. The title “Continuum” refers to the longevity of plastic waste,” according to the designer.
From Nexus Coffee Table to sideboards, Zakrzewski’s designs are fluid and sculptural, almost luxurious, with its near perfect undulations and carvings and strong wooden base that serves its structural needs. The table tops are made from 100% plastic waste that is water resistant and recyclable.
“Each top sheet is specially designed and carefully manufactured and resembles natural stone,” says Zakrzewski.
A Collective from Taiwan
SMSC is a design collective with members from architecture, art, design and computer science with their work related to bionics, computational design, digital fabrication, new materials & processes exploration, and have created many awarded projects at various scales.
As Simple As That
Austrian designer and artist Jakob Glasner who focuses on social and political systems and their physical interpretations has brought two of his designs to the Salone and both are characterised by an intelligence of material along with a simplicity in design that makes both fascinating yet deceptively uncomplicated.
The Loft bed concept, that Glasner calls f=mg is “a declaration of love to gravity, making the most of using gravity intelligently based on a clamping technique. Adapting to the smaller living conditions in cities, this is a loft bed that takes no leg space and uses the height of the room to expand into the bed. It can then be transformed to a regular framed bed too,” he explains.
A loft bed that takes no floor space and can easily be transformed into a day bed on the floor seems like a no brainer but the innovation lies in its simplicity of use and the beauty of its form. This design has also won the 2021 Red Dot award for the design concept.
The Method in Drinking Water
Interdisciplinary artist and designer, Qatar-based Nada Elkharashi has designed a new set of everyday drinking objects that examines cultural understandings and makes them part of its essential qualities to guide a new, improved, and healthier daily routine. Each object triggers an embedded meaning, causing the user to react and respond to cultural traditions and values principles. Each drinking object re-imagines a healthier, more mindful everyday world, advancing the quality of life and increasing the overall well-being of individuals and communities for better cultural development. The design approach draws attention to the relationship between how we drink water and the effect of water on our bodies.
“A gulp is an opportunity to refocus our consciousness and positively impact our mental and physical health. It denotes that everyday drinking objects should not be thought of as detached things but should be seen as stimuli whose character is determined by their meanings,” says Elkharashi.
While this project was developed during Elkharashi’s Masters in Design Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University of the Arts in Qatar, under the advisory of Marco Bruno and Yasmeen Suleiman, she is here at the Salone as a part of the Young Balkan Designers is a regional talent platform founded in 2011 by Mikser organisation to develop creative potential of the Balkan region in the field of sustainable product and furniture design.
All of Elkharashi’s works are based on material and thematic research, of a corelation between action and stimuli.
Danish design studio Felicia Arvid creates designs for furniture and acoustic panels playing with fabric, and stretching them to create three-dimensional shapes. Arvid who is a fashion designer seems to know the properties of the fabric and her furniture pieces are a form of draping fabrics.
“The concept behind the collection is creating a new type of furniture without the use of PU foam as an alternative to the traditional upholstery furniture designs. By eliminating the use of foam, the furniture only consists of two components – fabric and steel. Clean and simple usage of materials –easy to assemble and disassemble and recycle individually,” explains Arvid.
The collection consists of a bench, a chair, a lounge chair, a pouf, and a room divider. All these items are made with a new recycled polyester material developed by the Danish fabric company Gabriel. The fabric is compressed which makes it rigid enough to hold a body weight. Draping the fabric on to the steel frame creates the illusion of a dense piece of furniture when it is just the air between the materials which makes the volume.
Architect Anna Arpa always had an urge to see things in its most basic, decrease the scale from architecture to product design, focus on the detail and the choice of the material. She says, “Everything lies in a delicate balance of proportion and materiality.”
And it is to this core of crafts making that she comes back to after acquiring a masters degree in architecture, reviving her interest for wooden artisanal pieces which was fired by having spent her childhood at her uncle’s craftsman laboratory in Milan. “This is where I grew up and – after ten years of studying and working abroad – this is where I am coming back.”
“one-woman-breakfast-table is the starting point of my personal work in the field of furniture,” she says as she brings attention to her table, a piece of extraordinary workmanship, a table that shows its wooden joinery, “I am currently developing a research into the field of wooden joinery, applying that to minimal pieces of furniture.