By  on April 19, 2011

MILAN — Across Milan, from the big, raw show spaces of leafy Lambrate, with their peeling paint and concrete floors, to the sprawling Fiera, where brands large and small show their latest wares, designers were in a playful mood.

They mixed the hard with the soft, stitching brightly colored yarn onto rustic wooden chairs at Moroso, and encouraged fair goers to play with magnetic wallpaper at Vij5, or bits of fabric upholstery for benches at Tuyo Design Studio.

“We like playful things, we like our furniture to be a game, and for people to have a close relationship with the object,” said Maria Margarita Garcia Munzer, co-founder of Tuyo. “We want you to do your own thing.”

This year, too, there was a riot of modernist children’s furniture: The German firm Richard Lampert created a desk with a chalkboard top, while designers at the Italian company Magis whipped up modular bunk beds and miniature office cubicles for tiny design lovers.

Here, a selection of some of the standouts of Milan Design Week.

SEBASTIAN BRAJKOVIC: The Amsterdam-based designer said he’s fascinated by the relationship between time and motion. His Lathe VIII design is meant to show what a chair looks like in the split second it’s turned from one position to another. He calls this a “metaphysical explanation of movement.” His silver aluminum Lathe Table is inspired by the same idea. It has a grooved top — like a record — that looks as if it’s spinning.

LAURENS VAN WIERINGEN: Dutch designer Laurens van Wieringen said there is no one theme that sums up his work. “I start with a blank sheet every time, and I just give life to my own weird ideas,” he said. His wooden Buffet Cabinet was inspired by a 1968 Lancia automobile and his Fruit Boom was a treelike frame for apples, pears, oranges and lemons. “A friend’s child honestly thought that fruit originated from the supermarket,” he said. “My aim here is to put fruit back on the living room table.”

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