The foremost virtue of Milano Design City is that it offers a stage for furniture and design companies to present their new collections. Though most of the brands have transformed the cancelation of the usual sector showcases into an opportunity to reinforce their virtual presence – live shows, streaming, digital talks, Instagram happenings and much more, during the months of lockdown and beyond – there is still nothing quite like the direct experience (visual, at least, if not always tactile) of the potential and quality of a product: its subtleties, workmanship, details, materials, comfort.
Starting on 28 September, the showrooms have become the settings for new creations for 2020 making their debut in Milan. Some firms have unveiled complete collections, while others have offered just a taste, postponing the overall presentation until next year while stimulating curiosity and expectations.
We have toured the design destinations of Milan and its protagonists in this unusual citywide exhibition, and selected ten new developments to see and experience in all three dimensions, for a change.
Visionnaire presents – inside the Beauty collection – the Amos table, based on an initial collaboration with the duo Draga & Aurel. The table, with its sculptural appearance blends materials like concrete corroded by sea salt and metal cast in sand (for the monolithic base) and crystal ground by hand (for the top), triggering tactile and visual sensations. The result? A halo around a lunar surface.
Poltrona Frau reissues the Kyoto table by Gianfranco Frattini, as part of the 2020 collection. A project that keeps faith with the original design by the great master, from 1974. The simplicity inspired by Japan and the richness of the solid wood, showcased by the skillful interlocking structure, make the table a timeless product.
Physical and design research are combined perfectly in Oblique, the revolutionary table lamp designed by Vincent Van Duysen for Flos. A natural evolution of the classic office arm lamp, Oblique has an ingenious combination of LEDs and lenses, requiring only a small space to produce an extremely bright and asymmetrical beam that is cast obliquely on the surface. Wireless, with a USB-C port for charging external devices, it offers another system in the base for recharging smartphones.
B&B Italia presents Blitz in its window display, the new sculptural table created by Mario Bellini. A flat, slim and geometric outer structure meets its natural completion in the sinuous curved inner forms. The whole structure is made with bamboo, whose natural grain forms a contrast with the soft black shellac-effect finish of the internal parts. In a limited edition of 100 pieces.
Roberto Cavalli Home Interiors goes back to its eclectic, audacious and vividly animalier roots. In the Tifnit chair the inner covering in Tigresse printed velvet suggests a passion for exotic nature that has always been an earmark of the brand, while the gold highlights of the external structure and feet add a luminous touch.
Minotti has collaborated with the studio Nendo to create Torii. Airy, with construction details connected to the Japanese tradition, the Torii groupable seats play with rounded volumes, light thicknesses and apparently simple forms. One standout in the wide-ranging collection is Torii Nest, a small chair with a back in woven leather, triggering the effect of Vienna straw, inserted in a frame of solid ash that rests on a base in the same type of wood.
With the Mattonelle Margherita, Mutina works on color together with the artist Nathalie Du Pasquier, giving rise to a detailed project that intertwines different aesthetic and formal languages. The collection has a dual spirit: simple and minimalist, on the one hand, translating into elements in solid colors, creative and courageous on the other, thanks to a wide range of graphic effects. The world of Mattonelle Margherita is made up of 41 different hand-drawn patterns.
Studiopepe has created Roundcut for Gallotti&Radice, a modular system of shelves in hand-burnished metal. A refined furnishing complement, made precious by the variety of types of marble available for the fronts. The shelves can be installed in two different positions (above or below), rotated by 180°.
Soft, sinuous forms, a concentrate of comfort and delicacy, with inimitable design by Cristina Celestino. The collaboration of the designer with Billiani has led to Corolla, a seating collection with rounded volumes (the undulated forms reference the world of fashion, along with the textures and quality of the coverings), made lighter by the base in crafted wood, a stylistic signature of the company.