By  on January 19, 2007

MILAN — Spanish designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada has brought a ray of Technicolor to this city with a colorful furniture installation at the Macef home show, which kicks off today.

"When you walk into a dark and somber house, you feel sad. Color is fundamental; it brings joy, and from a creative standpoint, there's lots you can do with furnishings. It's nice not to be tied down to seasons, as you are with fashion," said Ruiz de la Prada.

She introduced home linens in 1998 and later housewares, but this is the first time Ruiz de la Prada is showing a full-fledged furniture collection, licensed to a Spanish company called Moblalia. She also designs colorful tabletops made from recycled glass, and plates and tea sets.

The installation, spread over 4,300 square feet, is part of Macef's makeover project spearheaded by the fair's artistic director, Giulio Cappellini. The restyling began a year ago, to update and rejuvenate a fair founded in 1964. So the show can better compete with such showcases as Maison et Objet in Paris and be more influential, organizers created new event areas and avant-garde exhibitions.

For the second year, Macef is dedicating a whole area to celebrate a guest country, this time Spain. Last year, the fair celebrated Japanese design.

"The contemporary industrial Spanish culture is one of the few realities that today can inspire Italian [design-related] projects," said Paolo Taverna, general manager of Fiera Milano International and director of Macef. "When the organizers approached me, I thought it was a good way to show my idea of the home and design after Japan, which was more about technology," said Ruiz de la Prada.

Confirming that designer home collections and furniture continue to gain momentum, Ruiz de la Prada set up a chromatic explosion infused with the same joie de vivre that characterizes her clothes. There is a built-in kitchen on a multicolored chess-board floor, electric blue and geranium pink flower- shape divans, poufs, modular and stackable cubes that serve as shelves and beds with star-spangled wood headboards.

"I wanted to make this big space stand our from the stand-after-stand layout with the idea of a colorful and relaxing oasis," said Ruiz de la Prada.

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