MILAN — It wouldn’t be Milan Design Week without the annual plethora of initiatives and product launches organized by fashion and luxury brands. Here is a roundup of some of the most eye-catching and innovative projects.
The dialogue between fashion and design was at the center of the “Nina Chez Valentino” project on stage at the Valentino Milanese flagship on Via Montenapoleone. During Milan Design Week, five rooms of the store were revamped to accommodate a selection of furniture pieces from Nina Yashar’s prestigious Nilufar Gallery. The charming pieces were matched with iconic designs from the brand’s fall 2018 collection designed by Pierpaolo Piccioli, who for this range reworked specific themes and motifs he found in the fashion house’s rich archives. “I think in our current times there is the necessity and desire to reflect on the idea of identity,” Piccioli said. “I admire Nina’s approach, which is a mix of creativity and knowledge of the past. I think we share the same desire to create something timeless, which reflects the influences of the past but is totally present and personal.”
Bulgari developed an impressive installation to pay homage to the B.Zero1 jewelry line and to the company’s DNA. A mazelike itinerary covered in printed silk wallpaper featured several display cases showing the B.Zero1 production’s steps. Bulgari’s heritage codes were interpreted via three partnerships with international design studios, including artistic duo Ivan Navarro and Courtney Smith, Italian Storagemilano and Holland-based MVRDV. This last created a tunnellike mirrored room displaying the materials used at the brand’s different stores, including “a new, concrete and resin material developed [by MVRDV] with Delft University [of Technology], which will appear on the facade of the brand’s flagship in Kuala Lumpur,” explained Silvia Schwarzer, Bulgari interior design director.
Loewe presented a range of 50 blankets and tapestries, available for special order, along with 12 limited-edition tote bags, on sale exclusively at the brand’s Milan store until the global launch in October. These products were developed in collaboration with textile artisans scouted by the Spanish brand across Europe, Africa, India and South America. “Over the last years we’ve been working with so many different companies and artisans from [around] the world and I just thought how do we bring all that together?” said Loewe creative director Jonathan Anderson, explaining the decision behind this special collection. The proceeds from its sales will benefit charities supporting women in minority communities.
Moschino partnered with Kartell on a new table lamp in the shape of the signature brand’s teddy bear. Wearing a white T-shirt, bearing the “This is not a Moschino toy” moniker, the lamp, created by Moschino creative director Jeremy Scott, reflects the playful attitude of the two companies. “Having been a longtime fan of Kartell, I feel so lucky to be included in their roster of collaborators, who rank as some of my biggest heroes,” Scott said.
The Luisa Beccaria brand made its interior design debut with a tableware collection, which is exclusively available for pre-orders at Moda Operandi. Reflecting the romantic, poetic and hyperfeminine aesthetic of the fashion house, the collection includes a high-end range of plates, glasses, tablecloths, table mats and napkin sets embellished with flowers and butterflies. Among the standouts presented with a suggestive installation at Lubar, the trendy café managed by Luisa Beccaria’s siblings Lucrezia and Ludovico Bonaccorsi, there was a beautiful linen eyelet tablecloth worked in white and green, as well as linen mats in pastel tones.
Roberto Cavalli’s creative director Paul Surridge presented a collection of luxurious crystal vases at the brand’s flagship. Available in a limited number of 100 pieces, they are produced by specialist Arnolfo di Cambio, a company established in Tuscany’s Colle Val d’Elsa in 1945, which also manufactures the Roberto Cavalli Tableware collection. The sculptural creations, weighing between 20 and 30 kilos each, are developed in a chic color palette of Champagne, amber, gray and black and feature an abstract interpretation of the fashion house’s signature wild animal patterns.
Antonio Marras’ boundless creativity gave shape to myriad projects, which the Sardinian designer and artist collected under the “Premiata Ditta Marras & Co.” program. “The months before Salone del Mobile were super busy, and I actually realize only now that we have done so many different things,” said Marras, who collaborated with several companies to develop many product ranges. For example, he teamed up with furniture-maker Saba to customize the company’s “New York” chairs and sofas with three new upholstery fabrics; he developed painted vases, dishes, tiles and pillows with Kiasmo; he designed and painted tablecloths, runners and aprons with linen specialist La Fabbrica del Lino and realized a new wallpaper for Wall & Decò. As in previous years, Marras installed a beautiful restaurant, managed with Italian fresh pasta producer La Famiglia Rana, inside his Milanese headquarters, where a flower shop was also created in the courtyard. Marras’ signature artistic style is also on show in the center of Milan, where an impressive 6,458-square-foot artwork realized by him covers the facade of the Teatro Lirico, which is being gutted and restored after being closed for 25 years, and where he staged his spring 2018 show.
Ermenegildo Zegna presented Toyz, a collection of luxury lifestyle items for modern gentlemen. “Since the company celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, we were inspired by a fabric from 1968 [that] we developed in a new woven leather version, and that we used to craft the objects,” explained Ermenegildo Zegna’s artistic director Alessandro Sartori. The collection, which will officially hit stores in November just in time for the holiday shopping, includes a record player, a soccer ball, headphones and a skipping rope, among others.
“This season we were inspired by the Veredas, which are small urban settlements consisting of two or three streets in the outskirts of Colombian cities,” said Marni creative director Francesco Risso, explaining the idea behind the colorful installation hosted inside the space of the brand’s showroom on Viale Umbria. “The people living in the Veredas are mostly artisans producing different types of objects, such as bags and shoes and here we tried to re-create the same atmosphere by highlighting the craftsmanship of the Colombian tradition.” Colored panels and hammocks made of loom-woven cotton were juxtaposed to wood tables displaying some of Marni’s lifestyle products, including PVC picnic baskets, striped bags and sculptures of hens. The collection also included PVC chairs with the back in the shape of playful monsters.
“There are many fashion weeks, but there’s only one Design Week in the world, and it’s in Milan,” said Missoni’s creative director Angela Missoni, praising the event “for its extraordinary energy. All the youth is here and everything is visible, accessible and open to the public.” Missoni’s contribution to the weeklong celebration was an installation created by American artist Rachel Hayes, who first collaborated with the brand last year, when she created the artwork hanging over the runway of the label’s spring 2018 collection. This time, Hayes conceived a large-scale environmental art project entitled “Blowing in the Wind,” focusing on the theme of light and air and housed in Missoni’s showroom in Milan’s arty Brera district. Inside, three suspended metal macro-structures were covered in small, colorful gelatine plastics moved by fans and lit by projectors to diffuse reflections. Outside, in the entrance corridor, patchwork bands of colored, semi-transparent fabrics created a long, suspended canopy to interact with natural light and wind. “What’s amazing in working with Missoni is that they push me to be my best self,” Hayes said. “That’s how this project feels particularly, because this was still a sketch in a studio and now we’ve turned it into an experience.”
Tiffany & Co. feted the European debut of its home and accessories collection — launched in the U.S. in October — hosting an event in its expansive Milanese flagship overlooking the Duomo cathedral. For the occasion, the jewelry house’s chief artistic officer Reed Krakoff tapped five female artists to conceive creative installations, on display in the store’s exterior windows throughout the entire Design Week. Anna Galtarossa, Shantell Martin, Marilyn Minter, Laurie Simmons and Anna-Wili Highfield reinterpreted the collection’s sterling silver, copper and glass handcrafted greenhouse with a contemporary twist, engaging disciplines ranging from sculpture to collage and aesthetics ranging from Pop Art to Surrealism. “We chose to elevate the greenhouse from Home and Accessories because it is a perfect expression of Tiffany’s craftsmanship and a symbol of the power of creativity,” Krakoff said. The home collection also included everyday objects as porcelain plates and mugs half color-blocked in the brand’s signature blue hue and sterling silver rulers, pencil sharpeners, first aid boxes and tin can designs, among others.
Salvatore Ferragamo teamed with Hong Kong-based designer Alan Chan to host his Silkroad collection of sleek chairs inside the label’s women’s and men’s stores in Via Montenapoleone. The dark hickory design seats were a modern reinterpretation of 17th-century European Conversation Chairs and combined Western culture with essential Asian aesthetics. Available in different sizes, the chairs encourage people to meet and converse through their distinctive serpentine form backseat with a shared armrest, inspired by Kyoto’s bamboo forest. At the brand’s store for women, such seating elements were installed in the shoe area. “I thought this [chair] was tailor-made for this space,” Chan said. “Before they had sofas here…and they were quite strong and powerful and maybe more comfortable than this, but you don’t need that kind of comfort because you’re trying shoes. And by the time you put shoes on the floor, the furniture fights against your product, while this is so simple and understated elegant, so the focus is still on the shoes,” added Chan, also underscoring the functionality of creating small private sections through the backseat structure. At the same time, Salvatore Ferragamo’s window displays showcased furniture pieces of Molteni&C’s Heritage Collection, including items designed by Gio Ponti, Yasuhiko Itoh and Ron Gilad.
Pal Zileri unveiled its newly revamped Via Manzoni boutique in Milan, restyled by creative director Rocco Iannone, a Giorgio Armani alum who joined the company last year. With a site-specific installation in the boutique, Iannone also presented a capsule collection of a new backpack in the same Rubelli fabrics seen in elements of the store. Called Tadzio, as the protagonist of Luchino Visconti’s “Death in Venice” — the city is a link in Pal Zileri’s brand narrative — it is available in five combinations and in only 20 numbered pieces for each fabric, retailing at 900 euros. Iannone’s eclectic taste is reflected in the store, decorated with Philippe Starck and Gio Ponti seats contrasting with an 18th-century French gilded mirror and vintage wooden tables. “I wanted this to look more like a home than a store, creating small, cozy areas on each of the three floors,” the designer said. Next up, is the restyling of Pal Zileri’s London store. A corner at the Pal Zileri boutique.
Kiton opened the doors of its Palazzo to the public for the first time, celebrating men’s wear elegance in international art with an exhibition curated by the gallery Robilant+Voena, comprising 10 works by the likes of Antoon Van Dyck and Giovanni Boldini. The paintings illustrated the evolution of men’s wear from 1700 to 1900, linking to Kiton’s sartorial tradition and to its origins in Naples, with the brand’s fabrics on the panels supporting each precious work. “We are a family company, but we thought this was the right opportunity to open our home,” said ceo Antonio de Matteis. “Fashion and design will increasingly fuse, and this is the most important week for Milan.”
Vogue Italia opened the doors of its editorial headquarters in central Milan to the public hosting the “Life in Vogue” project, which saw the magazine’s editor in chief Emanuele Farneti tapping eight international designers to revisit different offices through their vision.
“It was essential for us to host an event during the Salone del Mobile,” said Farneti, underscoring the importance of enhancing Italian artistic disciplines in the world for the glossy title. “Even though the idea of making life at the office more similar to life at home has been tossed around for many years now, nobody has ever gone so far as to present the office as the object of an authentic interior design intervention.”
The blend of renowned and emerging designers and architects invited to reimagine the work spaces included Mario Bellini; Michael Bargo; the Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel studio; Sabine Marcelis; Faye Toogood; Patricia Urquiola; the Muller Van Severen duo, and the Quincoces Drago studio. These personalities took over different areas, such as the meeting room; the graphic artists’ and beauty editor’s offices, and creative director Giovanni Bianco’s and Farneti’s bureaus. In particular, English designer Faye Toogood reimagined the editor in chief’s office decorating the walls with hand-painted canvases depicting human faces and silhouettes and furnishing the space with round-edged large table and design chairs, all offered in light, natural hues.
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