ARCHITECTURE, DESIGN, INTERIORS + PROPERTY
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A MOTIVATE PUBLICATION
ISSUE 213 / OCTOBER 2021
The Design Issue
Sculptural expression Discover Nairy Baghramian’s powerful and organic sculptural works
The art of the handmade Tigmi Trading’s Moroccan rug collection honours the craftswomen behind it
The enchanted garden Ana D’Castro reveals her first solo show at Leila Heller Gallery in Dubai
Bespoke living TAM Studio discusses its bespoke approach to furniture design
Crafts of a nation An exclusive reveal of one of MENASA’s collections for Expo 2020 Dubai
Natural connection An elegant home on Mexico’s Riviera Maya sits discreetly in the jungle
Photography by Andrea Ferrarik
Colour code This Swiss home has been transformed into a bright playful space for a young family
Photography by David Luraschi
Wash Basin and WC: RAK-VALET Furniture: RAK-JOY UNO Wall and Floor: TOKYO CONCRETE
Editor-in-Chief Obaid Humaid Al Tayer Managing Partner and Group Editor Ian Fairservice Group Director Andrew Wingrove Editor Aidan Imanova Designer Hannah Perez Sub-editor Max Tuttle Chief Commercial Officer Anthony Milne Group Sales Manager Manish Chopra Senior Sales Manager Neha Kannoth Sales Representative - Italy Daniela Prestinoni General Manager - Production Sunil Kumar Assistant Production Manager Binu Purandaran Production Supervisor Venita Pinto Contributors Karine Monié
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Photography by César Béjar
Berlin apartment by Dimorestudio Photography by Beppe Brancanto
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Photo by Young Habibti
The past month has not been short of excitement as we begin to observe the world getting back on its feet after a year of slowed down business and activity. This reignition is not without reflection, however, as was evident at this year’s Milan Design Week, which saw the world’s biggest design fair, Salone del Mobile, take on a new one-off concept: one that is much smaller and brings an altered view on how furniture and living spaces are exhibited. Gone were the colossal pavilions of the past featuring ample scenographies and collection launches. supersalone presented a much more modest approach, conscious of a change in attitude towards wastefulness and the renewed (and more mindful) approach to our living and interior spaces. The concept of ‘timelessness’ took centre stage, with many brands looking back at their archives, to some of their iconic pieces that have survived the test of time. These pieces reveal what works. While it is important to innovate, going back to the roots of what made pieces successful is an important exercise when creating objects that are conscious of today’s needs while simultaneously carrying forward ideas from the past that are functional, responsive and modern, even today. Nature as a source of inspiration was also a prominent theme this year, with many collections using it as inspiration. Peter Saville’s collaboration for Kvadrat is a whimsical take on the Welsh countryside, while Studiopepe’s installation for Mohd Design is a reminder to take care of our natural environment. What was most heart-warming about the installation was seeing children on a school trip learning about the different flora and fauna that comprises the installation, while being surrounded by some of the most iconic design brands. A scenario such as this one reveals the importance of good design and its ability to communicate social messages and shape attitudes in the right way. While many societies of the past understood the importance of living in harmony with nature, and – as clichéd as it has become to say this – the recent health crisis has brought back a stronger understanding of its importance. While observing these shifts, we become hopeful that our industry is becoming more reflective of its complicity in many of the crises of our modern age. With so much rapid growth happening around the world, sometimes a look at simpler days could help show us the way to approach many of the issues we face today.
Aidan Imanova Editor
Including: Acerbis, Cassina, Flos (photography by Antonia Adomako), Hermès, Molteni&C, Natuzzi and raawii (photography by David Luraschi)
On the cover: A collage featuring Milan Design Week highlights, designed by Hannah Perez
Velaria sliding panels, Eos shelves.
Design Giuseppe Bavuso
Noble metal Presented by Maison Pouenat and Yann Le Coadic, the Ehrerō collection celebrates the simplicity and beauty of a challenging material WORDS BY KARINE MONIÉ
ince its debut in 1880, Maison Pouenat has become a reference for combining traditional ironwork techniques and bold designs. This is, however, the first time the French company is presenting a collection of objects designed entirely in metal. “Although this approach poses a technical challenge, I hope that it will allow the greatest number of people to discover the simplicity and nobility of metal, rendered through a functional and balanced aesthetic,” says Jacques Rayet, CEO of Maison Pouenat. For this première, the brand has entrusted young and promising designer Yann Le Coadic, who – while at the helm of interior architecture practice Lecoadic Scotto, alongside Alessandro Scotto – launched his studio YLC this year. The result takes shape through the Ehrerō collection, which features timeless pieces at the intersection of functionality and aesthetics. Ideal proportions and beautiful finishes characterise these everyday objects, which reflect the two principles that guided Le Coadic throughout his creative process. Firstly, the designer rediscovered the fundamental essence of metal by playing with its lightness and
flexibility, and introducing removable parts such as pivots and wheels. Secondly, forgotten elements from European culture and French heritage such as saddles and easels – to name only a few – were revived. Among these unique creations, which offer a visual journey through time and space, are the Kaletha chair in dark sanded aluminium; the indoor and outdoor Buthakaa armchair with an adjustable backrest and seat; and the Rotalibros bookcase, which also acts as a rotating pedestal table. The Portacopa pedestal table, Cabaïtee easel, Bankho stand, Ahstro and Ahbaniko wall lights, Barrha bar and Bitrinah showcase are also part of this series. Once more, Maison Pouenat presents a contemporary take on metal, this time with Le Coadic, who didn’t hesitate to put his creativity and talent at the service of a pure material, transforming it to shape both practical and refined objects.
THE DESIGN ISSUE
Sculptural expression Recently awarded the 2022 Nasher Prize, Iranian-German sculptor Nairy Baghramian expresses herself through powerful and organic pieces, inviting viewers into a fascinating dialogue WORDS BY KARINE MONIÉ
Sitzengebliebene / Stay Downers, 2017
his year, after a prolonged time of separation from people and places during the pandemic, the work of Nairy Baghramian stood out to the jury as exemplary for its consideration of the body, human relationships and the built environment, through sculpture that champions the often-overlooked objects, people and experiences at play in daily life,” says Jeremy Strick, Nasher Sculpture Center Director. Born in 1971 in Iran, Baghramian has lived and worked in Berlin since 1984. She is the sixth artist to receive the Nasher Prize, which rewards living sculptors for their outstanding contributions to the field. “I knew exactly what it means to be in a society where culture is almost non-existent,” she remembers. “So, my desire was [that] wherever and whenever I could be related to art, I would take that opportunity.” For the past 30 years,
Baghramian has explored this medium, creating pieces and installations with a vast array of materials — from silicon and resin to wood and cast aluminium — that question architectural, sociological, political and historical contexts and deal with feminism, functionality, abstraction and vulnerability, among other topics. “Sculpture has so many layers and components,” says Baghramian. “It’s a very complex medium. It challenges you on a high level. It seems that it can be static but it’s always moving. It needs to be seen from different perspectives and it even looks back at you from different corners.” For the artist, this visual language became a way of transforming and formulating her ideas and
desires. “I think it’s the language that I speak the best,” she confesses. For art historian Briony Fer, one of the Nasher Prize jurors, Baghramian’s creations have a “powerful effect” with their “organic shapes made of inorganic materials,” becoming “works of art that are sorts of massive contradictions.” Among Baghramian’s recent work is Knee and Elbow — commissioned last year for the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts — which evokes a couple of primary joints in the body that could collapse. They are represented by two arches in pink and white marble, assembled with polished stainless steel fittings. “Knee and Elbow are standing for changing positions and allowing new questions,” Baghramian says. In her Misfits series, she explores the idea of the playground as a political space and its limitations through sculptures inspired by assembly-building toys.
Photo: Timo Ohler
THE DESIGN ISSUE
Fluffing the Pillows D (Silos, Gurney), 2013
Photo: Timo Ohler
“Baghramian’s visual language is rooted in traditions of sculptural form and shape, but she transforms those traditions into profoundly personal relationships with diverse references — from the architectural to the anthropomorphic — where curvaceous, stretched, folded forms compete with linear structures, all delivered with Baghramian’s intensely researched and deft technical and material innovations,” says artist and Nasher Prize juror Phyllida Barlow. “An encounter with Baghramian’s sculpture is to discover how the work’s occupation of space
challenges the space the viewer occupies. There is a bodily, visceral clash between the viewer and the sculpture.” The other members of the jury this year were: Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, director of Castello di Rivoli; Pablo León de la Barra, curator at large, Latin America at The Guggenheim Museum; Lynne Cooke, senior curator at The National Gallery of Art; Sir David Adjaye, architect at Adjaye Associates; Hou Hanru, artistic director at MAXXI; Yuko Hasegawa, director of 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art; and Sir Nicholas Serota, chair of the Arts Council England. On 2 April 2022, Baghramian will receive her award — designed by Renzo Piano, the architect behind the Nasher Sculpture Center — at a ceremony in Dallas in the United States. The prize comes with USD 100,000, which represents a financial contribution to the production of the artist’s sculptures. Already included in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Modern in London and the Tamayo Museum in Mexico City, among others, Baghramian’s work will be showcased in solo exhibitions at the Secession in Vienna (Austria) from 20 November to 23 January, and at Carré d’Art in Nîmes (France) from April 2022. id
Coude à Coude/Elbow to Elbow, 2019
Photo: shift studio Berlin
Drawing Table (homage to Jane Bowles), 2017
Photo: Dimitris Parthimos
Knee and Elbow, 2020
Photo: Thomas Clark
Nairy Baghramian, Clark Institute, Williamstown, USA. Courtesy of the artist.
THE DESIGN ISSUE
The art of the handmade
Australia-based Tigmi Trading presents its new Moroccan rug collection, ‘Dar Youk’, which honours the craftswomen behind it WORDS BY KARINE MONIÉ IMAGES COURTESY OF TIGMI TRADING
ur business began with our connection to Morocco and the culture, history and artisanship of its people,” says Danielle McEwan, founder of furniture, lighting and home accessories brand Tigmi Trading, a name that refers to ‘my home’ in the Berber language. “We were lucky enough to meet our good friend Nina Mohammad-Galbert of Artisan Project on one of our early trips to [the country]. Nina has worked tirelessly to transform the rug industry to become more sustainable, and to improve the lives of craftspeople and their communities. We learned so much about the journey of the weaving process from [her] and she introduced us to the Women’s Cooperative in Ain Lueh.” The encounter in this small alpine village perched on a mountain top in the Middle Atlas led to a true collaboration, which resulted in the creation of the newly launched Dar Youk collection (Dar means ‘home’ in Arabic and Youk means ‘one’ in the Tamazight language). “We would like to shine a light on the role of the female weavers, the artists who helped to create [these pieces],” McEwan confesses. Made with natural hand-processed wool and plant-based dyes with a minimal human- and environment-impact production process, this line presents the Moroccan carpet in its raw form. Neutrals of beiges and whites combine with abstract patterns and touches of chocolate, greens and pinks for a contemporary twist. “There are four different designs that can be made in any size, and every piece is made to order, which reduces waste and promotes conscious living,” says McEwan. “Our style has always been to connect old and new, history and modernity. We wanted to use something as classic as the traditional Moroccan checkerboard pattern.” This collection reflects Tigmi Trading’s essence, which consists of creating unique pieces made ethically and sustainably, and honouring and preserving traditional craftsmanship while providing financial security for the makers. “In the western world we are exposed to so many beautiful Moroccan designs, yet the artisans that make them are merely a footnote, reduced to the term ‘artisan-made’ with so little known about the true work of these women, their
kinship and individual talents,” says McEwan. “With this collection, Tigmi Trading [wants] to acknowledge the female artists – in addition to Nina Mohammad-Galbert – who have helped us: Hachmia A’Douri, Secretary, who has been with the cooperative since it opened; Khadijah Ouchkek, Treasurer, who joined in 1979; and Khadijah El Abdi, who started her training in 1987. All three women started at the age of 12, along with Hajou Ammraoui, El Hachmia Douiri, Fatima Abaraou, Mahma Bahousse, Rachida Ghenam and Fatima Balhoussaine.” THE DESIGN ISSUE
The enchanted garden
Portuguese architect-cumartist Ana D’Castro’s first solo exhibition at Leila Heller Gallery showcases her encompassing relationship with colour and space WORDS BY AIDAN IMANOVA PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOACHIM GUAY
THE DESIGN ISSUE
milan design art week
rom my father’s side, my grandfather was an artist and from my mother’s side, the family business [was in the manufacturing of] industrial paints. [So, from] an early age my fascination with paints, pigments and synthetic components was always there,” begins Ana D’Castro, whose first exhibition, ‘The Enchanted Garden’, is currently on show at the Leila Heller Gallery in Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue. “I have always loved colour, and I remember since an early age being fascinated with the vibrancy of each gradient and how you mix them to create other colours. It’s a very precise method where you sit in a laboratory and measure with great precision how many milligrams of each dye can be mixed to create a determinate tone,” she explains. ‘Enchanted Garden’ is composed of a series of abstract paintings in which colour is the protagonist and acts as a tool for expressing emotion using a juxtaposition of different pigments and layers; some lying flat, while others – thick flickers of paint like flower petals – seem to be almost ready to escape the canvas. The artworks also offer a glimpse into how light interacts with colour and the surrounding environment during different times of the day through the artist’s layered approach. Initially, we see the first layer – the faded horizon where colours bleed into one another – and then the second, where richer patches of oil paint create a more heavily textured and tri-dimensional effect. The ‘petal’ effects, lastly, flow across the canvas as if flying in an invisible wind. All in all, D’Castro’s ‘Enchanted Garden’ is a study of colour in itself, where paintings present an explosion of chromatic emotion, composed into a series of either multi- or monochromatic canvases. “Through my practice, my aim is to manipulate colour and the subtle variations of the same gradient,
in order to create volume, depth and perspective within the canvas. While composing the movement of the piece, I carefully study how colour will add or subtract light and shadow into the ensemble. Colour plays a major role in my artworks, and I am constantly looking for the exact tone, the role it plays by allocating in a specific place, and how instantly this act either dilutes or enhances the volumetric composition,” the artist shares. The exhibition itself is set up using a specific foundation concept created by the artist, where a modular system forms the base of all canvases, with the prime module being two metres by two metres. This module is then multiplied into triptychs and diptychs or subdivided into smaller modules of 1m x 1m and 0.5m x 0.5m, just like a structural metric grid that is fundamental to any architectural foundation. id
THE DESIGN ISSUE
F Bespoke living Tamilla Jazayeri has set up TAM Studio in Dubai to create bespoke pieces that are specially tailored to individual tastes WORDS BY AIDAN IMANOVA
or Tamilla Jazayeri, designer and founder of Dubai-based TAM Studio, creating bespoke furniture led her to set up her own practice, which was founded in 2016 and has since grown into a full-fledged interior design studio. Having worked as a designer for international retail brands such as Bloomingdale’s Home and Habitat UK, Jazayeri began to observe the growing need for bespoke furniture in the UAE, as the market mainly offered franchised furniture brands, with “very few exceptions.” Jazayeri moved to the UK from Iran at a young age, and later graduated from Central Saint Martin’s University of Arts in London where she studied Spatial Design. She took an interest in socially driven projects in the early days of her career, which led her to travel to places such as Japan, Spain and Indonesia, and eventually led to her move to Dubai in 2012, where she established herself as a designer and then founder of her own design studio. “This was a period when Dubai was finding its feet in the design world, and I was truly surprised and inspired by the high level of craftsmanship and the range of materials that were available to us in a desert,” Jazayeri says. “Travelling from Al Quoz to Sharjah as a woman to meet and collaborate with various workshops felt raw and adventurous, and reminiscent of my international work experience. This soon became a hobby, as I had always enjoyed the process of product-making and problem-solving – and that’s how TAM Studio was born.” Inspired by the minimalism and functionality of the Bauhaus movement and the work of architect Le Corbusier and painter Wassily Kandinsky, TAM Studio created its first UAE-made collection called ‘Line’. TAM Studio has since exhibited pieces across multiple exhibitions in London, as well as at Maison & Objet Paris. The studio then “naturally” grew from creating furniture to interior design, driven by the demand of its clients, by incorporating both fields into the overall design. “Bespoke furniture is a demanding process which involves great knowledge in materials, design development, technical knowledge, prototyping and production,” Jazayeri explains. “We have come a long way in the furniture field and now, with a growing design team, we are focusing on small and larger-scale interior design projects. This transition has also made it easier for us to create more cohesive environments where the design language is consistent across the space.”
For the designer, creating with a bespoke approach – whether it is furniture or interiors – should be “a onetime investment”. “‘Good design’ with poor production or execution is ‘bad design’ and this is our message to our audience. I find that our market is very saturated with replicas and designers who are willing to recreate existing work, taken from social platforms such as Pinterest, with little knowledge of material, technicality or production,” she says, adding that the design community should come together to form a regulatory platform to assess quality and delivery. Despite the challenges, TAM Studio has had its busiest year yet, having completed its largest residential project, ‘Home Island’, and is currently in the process of completing its studio space (a bungalow close to the beach), which is set to become its “creative hub” and a place to invite friends, partners and clients to. The studio is also working on smaller residential projects across Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as well as developing a custom furniture collection which will launch online ahead of this year’s Dubai Design Week.
THE DESIGN ISSUE
Expo 2020 Dubai
Expo 2020 Dubai
hat can design and craft reveal about the essence of a place and its people? How can it connect and find shared values with others? Expo 2020 Dubai’s Design and Crafts Programme has launched MENASA – Emirati Design Platform to offer a glimpse of what these answers could look like. Showcasing more than 40 local and international designers who have created exclusive curated design collections, MENASA tells the stories of the UAE through the lens of its crafts and artisans. While the millions of visitors to the Expo site will have the opportunity to explore and experience local Emirati crafts
and traditions through MENASA, many will perhaps be pleasantly surprised at the outcome. The platform’s curated and experimental approach showcases traditional crafts through a contemporary lens, which has given rise to unexpected results. By collating local, regional and international voices, what we eventually find is a collaborative spirit that highlights the power of craft as a tool for communication and cross-cultural dialogue. “The collective approach of MENASA, which means ‘platform’ in Arabic, is inspired by the theme and spirit of Expo 2020 Dubai: ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. By bringing together
artisans and designers from the UAE and around the world, we are nurturing a rich cultural and creative dialogue that will contribute to a meaningful legacy after Expo 2020 closes its doors,” explains Dr Hayat Shamsuddin, Senior Vice President, Arts and Culture, Expo 2020 Dubai. MENASA is divided into two main counterparts: ‘Craft Stories’ and ‘Designer of the Week’, the latter highlighting 24 UAE-based emerging and established designers as well as public and private organisations that support the local craft and design community, revealing the breadth and vibrancy of the local contemporary design scene. Each will present new collections
that were especially created for MENASA, with many expanding outside their usual design practices. ‘Craft Stories’, on the other hand, presents a dialogue between local and international designers and artisans who have been invited to collaborate with and explore Emirati crafts and culture in new ways. Traditional skills and heritage merge with contemporary approaches and innovation in techniques and materials, highlighting seven crafting traditions including clay, safeefah (palm frond weaving), talli (embroidery), sadu (Bedouin weaving), gargour-making (wire-crafted fish traps), pearl diving and coffee-making.
Crafts of a nation MENASA – Emirati Design Platform brings the collective voice of the contemporary design and craft scene in the UAE to a global audience
WORDS BY AIDAN IMANOVA PHOTOGRAPHY BY MOEZ ASHOR AND NURIA GALI COURTESY OF EXPO 2020 DUBAI
THE DESIGN ISSUE
Expo 2020 Dubai
Each craft is matched with a local and international designer as well as a design organisation in a series of collaborations that reveal a multi-faceted story of the UAE, its landscape, people, values and identity. A series of documentaries, shot on location around the UAE, further highlights these stories, offering insights into the coming together of diverse cultures through poetic narratives. The pairing of local and international designers was done deliberately to reveal specific stories from
the UAE, explains Samer Yamani, Curator, MENASA – Emirati Design Platform, Expo 2020 Dubai. The story of ‘Safeefah’, for example, is one of ‘weaving communities’, as the craft itself is identified as a communal act where (predominantly) women work together to weave various objects using palm fronds. To tell this craft story, Yamani selected Estudio Campana, who had set up the Campana Institute in the 1980s to offer creative education to marginalised children and families. The designer brothers have been
paired with Al Ghadeer UAE Crafts, a non-profit organisation that empowers underprivileged women through sustainable Emirati crafts. “Community building through creativity is a core message [here], so the selection of Estudio Campana and Al Ghadeer was not random, but [made] because they have an aspect that unites them,” Yamani shares. “I was trying to pair partners who share similar values and vision. [Here,] design becomes the tool of bringing them together, and craft becomes the medium.”
Another collaboration brings together Emirati sisters Sheikha and Afra Bin Dhaher and Rwandan artist Chris Schwagga to design a collection called ‘Safari – Barari’, inspired by the Gargour craft, that tells the story of the flora and fauna of both regions. The collection forms two parts. One part, designed by Schwagga and crafted by female artisans from Rwanda, features metal sculptures of the UAE’s oryx and the Rwandan ‘Inyambo’ royal cows – emblematic animals that symbolise beauty and prosperity
Expo 2020 Dubai
across both cultures; while the second part includes accessories designed by the Bin Dhaher sisters that recreate a traditional Rwandan beadwork craft which is then wrapped around the metal-wire sculptures to resemble headdresses. “We started by researching existing Rwandan beaded accessories to get an idea of the craft itself… then, we looked at our local flora and landscape and started gathering information on the plants that we found most interesting, visually,” the sisters share.
“From there, we began designing the patterns; each belt dedicated to a particular element (fauna or flora). Because the beadwork was based on a grid, it automatically resembled pixel art. We thought it would be very interesting to explore this further and try to make it more dynamic and break the grid, in a sense. The results were very interesting as they were re-interpreted by the artisans who did the beadwork. Whatever element they added or eliminated became part of the process.” “[The process] was interesting
since the wire used for the Gargour craft is very similar to the wire I use in the making of my sculptures in Rwanda, so it made the process easy for the artisans that came with me to execute the work,” Schwagga says. “Our artistic universes aligned beautifully,” he adds. “I was pleasantly surprised by our similarities and especially how culture and nature are some of the main sources of inspiration. The beaded belt has been part of the culture in Rwanda for the longest time; they have great value and are a sign of beauty. By
decorating the cow and oryx with them, we are celebrating them the way the ‘Inyambo’ cows are celebrated in Rwanda.” The seven collections from Craft Stories (alongside the wider content of MENASA) will be showcased and available for sale in a dedicated design space located on the ground level of the Rove Expo hotel, next to Al Wasl Plaza. It also features a dramatic 13-metre-wide window display designed by Carmello Zappulla and Rami Al Ali, who merged 3D printing with local crafts. id
THE DESIGN ISSUE
SHAPESHIFTER: IMAGINING A SUPER SALONE identity travels to Milan to visit supersalone (and other satellite events and installations around Milan Design Week), curated by Italian architect Stefano Boeri, which reimagines the design world’s most important design fair, Salone del Mobile, as an entirely new concept WORDS BY AIDAN IMANOVA
INCLUDING... INTERVIEW WITH STEFANO BOERI HIGHLIGHTS FROM SUPERSALONE LATEST COLLECTION LAUNCHES INSTALLATIONS
milan design week 2021
hen plans for the ambitious supersalone were first revealed, many were sceptical about what a one-off concept of Salone del Mobile could look like: for Salone is the exhibition that has long served as the backbone of Milan Design Week and is the most visited design fair the world over. With the cancellation of the 2020 fair due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the postponement of the 2021 edition from April to September, doubts set in around whether the event would happen at all. But much to many people’s surprise – and delight – supersalone opened for business (even inviting in the general public), albeit with fewer international participants and visitors. Those present were able to browse new collections and successful products from the past (some of which have come back as re-editions), not on booths as one is used to but mounted on a series of parallel walls designed by architect Andrea Caputo, featuring scannable QR codes for information and purchasing. Curated by Italian architect Stefano Boeri, who is best known for his ‘vertical forest’ towers including Milan’s own Bosco Verticale, supersalone is a somewhat radical concept that bravely responded to a fall in overseas trade visitors and the rise in consumer demand for home furnishings. Can you explain the main idea behind the supersalone? How did it respond to the current conditions of the world and the design market as a whole? Stefano Boeri: We knew it could not be a traditional show and we knew that the long shadows of the pandemic would not fade yet. For these reasons, we imagined a supersalone which was certain [to be] smaller in size in comparison to the usual Salone del Mobile. International visitors, for obvious reasons, were present in fewer numbers, but no less reduced in strength [or] in the ability to attract and show the future of living and furnishings. [We called it] super because it was the first Salone to bring the entire public of users to Fiera Rho Milano every day for an event that was both cultural and commercial. Also, super because, again for the first time, all visitors were able to book and purchase the products that represented the best of national and international design seen at the fair. Why did you decide to change the way products were to be exhibited at the fair? SB: The exhibition set-up was designed with long parallel partitions, created for specific product categories, which allowed companies to showcase their identity and products on vertical walls using, in some cases, even horizontal surfaces, [both of
which] are modular. [It was a] fluid and dynamic display network that allowed the visitor to freely navigate within a huge national and international archive of creativity, excellence and know-how. The proposed format was that of a large design library that celebrated the renewed attention and
care for contemporary living spaces, and whose scenography enhanced and harmonised the novelties and creations displayed in the catalogues by the companies, together with their historical products. How did supersalone approach the idea of reuse? With special attention [paid] to circularity and sustainability, all materials and components of the set-up have been designed to be disassembled and subsequently reused. Furthermore, thanks to the Forestami project, an entire forest of 200 trees was created at the entrance to Porta Est which, at the end of the six days of the event, was moved, ready to be put in dwellings in the Milanese metropolitan area. Why did you decide this year to make the fair open to all? We believed supersalone to be a great celebration of objects, open to all – as in the past with the Milanese Fiera Campionaria. supersalone was not only a commercial venue, but a great experience for family – and joyful, with a commercial, playful and cultural dimension at the same time. The period that has just passed, despite the
drama, was a time of great reflection, thought and work on introspection, on family relationships, on proximity, which inevitably led to a desire for renewal and improvement of furnishings and domestic spaces. That’s why we opened supersalone to all. The future is a combination of B2B and B2C commercial venues. What message did this particular edition of Salone offer to the design community, brands and visitors? This is the time to use the resources we already have available, increasing their potential, advantages and qualities. It is time to start over from what we have, from existing spaces, contexts, behaviours and social relationships. Sometimes it is enough to look carefully at the things we have and understand that assembling them together, composing them in a different way, means not doing a simple addition but a multiplication, capable of bringing out extraordinary results. It means regenerating the Photography by value of individual objects Gianluca di Loia in a different composition. The world of Italian design has always been a great example of this approach. That is where we have to start again. supersalone was not only an extraordinary opportunity to show new products, but also to sell warehouse products as well as a marketing format that – on a different scale and time – could be reproduced. Reflecting on supersalone now, what is your view on what you have achieved? We were expecting attention, curiosity and surprise. And so it was. Also, debates and comparisons, which are part of the game. We did it and we are happy we did it. And with us [were] companies, the world of schools and one of designers and institutions. With supersalone we have shown how Italy is able to produce exceptional responses in some situations – even emergencies. Following the Venice Film Biennale, supersalone has been the second major international event that Italy has produced in a few weeks, giving a signal to the whole world. We are very proud we took the risk, and the great response from the public and companies has confirmed that we have done the right thing. THE DESIGN ISSUE
Soriana sofa by Afra and Tobia Scarpa
Featuring an immersive gallery of images and videos, Poliform’s installation at supersalone showcases photographs by Paolo Roversi, which are part of the book Time, Light, Space. Published by Rizzoli in 2020, the volume depicts the brand’s 50-year journey and highlights its creativity and innovation in the industry. Showcased alongside the installation is what the brand calls its ‘new icon’, the Le Club armchair (part of its 2022 collection), which was inspired by the voluminous hide armchairs of the clubs of the last century and designed by Jean-Marie Massaud. Other pieces in the collection include the Bristol sofa, the Lexington night systems, the Drop mirrors and the Symphony sideboards.
Le Club armchair by Jean-Marie Massaud
With an array of new designs and a selection from its archives, Cassina’s latest collection was revealed within the eclectic atmosphere of three apartments in its Milan showroom in via Durini. Its latest pieces – designed by the likes of Michael Anastassiades, Jeffrey Bernett, Philippe Starck and Cassina’s art director Patricia Urquiola – sat alongside iconic pieces by Vico Magistretti and Afra & Tobia Scarpa. Never-produced-before pieces by Danish architect Bodil Kjær were also introduced for the first time, as well as items by Franco Albini and Charlotte Perriand. Making a comeback is the Soriana collection by Scarpa – which was awarded a Compasso d’Oro prize in 1970. The piece is defined by its curves and wrapped with upholstery that is fixed with a giant metal brace to form relaxed creases around its body. The latest version includes new chromatic combinations and a redevelopment of its construction and materials with more eco-friendly alternatives. The original, polyurethane structure has been substituted with a series of bags filled with microspheres made from BioFoam®, featuring a base made from biopolymers that are produced from natural resources. The reissue is part of Cassina’s larger mission to recover and safeguard the works of Tobia Scarpa.
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A designer who is continuously making her mark on the design world for its innovation is Sabine Marcelis, and her first collaboration with Natuzzi does not disappoint. Her contribution to the brand’s Circle of Harmony collection is the Block sofa, which is available as a three-seater sofa as well as an armchair and ottoman. Its sculptural form combines with soft upholstery to emphasise the square lines of the monolithic natural bamboo base, which appears
as if moulded from a single block of material. The sofa, which is available in linear versions of different sizes, is characterised by a marked lightness, providing the option to move them about according to one’s needs, thanks to the wheels in the front part of the base. It responds to the need for versatile, multifunctional furniture, embracing the philosophy of liquid, mobile spaces, where what is needed is always where it needs to be.
Block sofa by Sabine Marcelis
265 Chromatica by Paolo Rizzatto
The opening of D Studio’s 2,153-square metre multi-brand showroom coincided with Fuorisalone 2021, featuring B&B Italia, Maxalto, Azucena, Arclinea, Flos and Louis Poulsen. The launch was marked by an installation dedicated to Michael Anastassiades’ ‘Coordinates’ lighting sculpture for Flos in the new Argent Moon finish. This year, Flos also revealed a new edition of its 265 lamp, first designed by Paolo Rizzatto in 1973. The new 265 Chromatica uses colour as a design tool rather than a decorative element, underlining the geometry of the pieces that make up the lamp. Created upon the request of Rizzatto himself, it was further developed with Flos’ curators Calvi Brambilla. The palette consists of three primary colours that define the function of each single part of the lamp.
Photography by Ambra Crociani
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© Lorenzo Cappellini Baio
Serenissimo table by Lella and Massimo Vignelli
When MDF Italia acquired long-standing Italian brand Acerbis, its mission was to elevate its presence in the international market. It appointed creative directions Francesca Meda and David Lopez Quincoces to spearhead the brand and lead it into a new, dynamic future, while maintaining its vision for the cutting-edge and knack for combining functionality with the avant-garde. Acerbis has long collaborated with some of Italy’s most trailblazing designers and its Remasters collection – which makes its debut at supersalone – celebrates just that. Digging into the brand’s archives, the collection features the relaunch of creations “whose modernity remains progressive, even today”.
With fitness and wellbeing influencing today’s lifestyles, gym equipment and digital fitness technology brand Technogym’s array of products revealed its commitment to creating design-centric equipment that is not only suitable for professional gyms, but for homes too. Showcasing some of its more compact pieces, the Technogym Bench has been designed to offer 200 different exercise options featuring weights, elastic bands, dumbbells, weighted knuckles and a training mat.
“We’re updating them for how we live in our homes today, with new proportions, new materials and new colours,” the designers explain. Each archive design was carefully chosen to highlight an era of iconic experimentation. These include the Life modular sofa unit by Roberto Monsani, an avant-garde design that was never released to the public, which now sees its initial Plexiglas® frame reimagined in curved wood; as well as the Serenissimo table by Lella and Massimo Vignelli. Comprised of elemental shapes, the table is available in refined metallic finishes or soft tones of stucco, featuring a vast glass surface – over three metres long – extended atop an altar-like base, creating a harmony composed of monumental proportions.
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Swedish brand de Sede’s Sculptures 2021 collection reveals its dedication to transforming leather into seating, inspired by Brutalist forms. A reinterpretation of its classic DS-600 modular sofa is the new DS-602, which now offers expandable seating options as part of its back-to-back feature, as well as a new array of materials. In addition to the traditional de Sede leather upholstery fabric, it is also available in fabric variations. Keeping to Brutalist forms, the DS-707 armchair and sofa by Philippe Malouin recounts the origins of modern aesthetics.
Among some of the interesting collaborations this year is Diesel Living and Wall&Deco’s new wallpaper line featuring 12 graphics in three different colours. A renewed fascination with ‘Trompe-l’œil’ is expressed in the graphics of Architectural Color Block and Shadow Concrete, both featuring concrete. While one recreates a Brutalist architectural pattern, the other superimposes gradients and shadows of tropical plants. A more playful twist on Trompe-l’œil can be seen in the Freaky Fur and Wrinkled Lines. The former is a reproduction of a realistic ‘90s faux fur print that creates the illusion of a soft material on the walls and plays with ironic colours, while the latter is a representation of a striped fabric, sculpted by folds and creases that create an immersive 3D optical effect. The natural landscape is interpreted by Desert Flowers, a collage of macro flowers and agave plants, and Forest Camo, where the detail of a vintage photo of a forest becomes a pure graphic pattern while maintaining a natural feel.
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Baxter’s 2021 collection takes inspiration from the worlds of art, fashion, design and architecture, featuring an enterprising use of colour and democratic ideas around space and the combination of objects. Taking cues from different styles and eras, the collection appears as if built over a period of time. One of the heroes of the collection is the Barret armchair, designed by Draga & Aurel. Inspired by the 1970s, it features a rigid polymer shell and is upholstered in soft curled leather. Paola Navone also presents an evolution of the Milano project – the project was first designed in 2020 – which now includes a bed and the Bergère armchair. The pieces highlight the importance of ‘maximum comfort’ through enveloping and soft design. In addition to the new products, Baxter has also revealed its latest materials and colours, which include two shades of green with hints of wood and lichen, as well as purple, pistachio green and lavender with orange accents. The material palette includes Travertino white marble, Lichen Onyx and Cipollino Abyssal marble.
Barret armchair by Draga & Aurel
Sopovria Re side tables by Sovrappensiero
Born in 2016 as an offshoot of interior design company Jumbo Group, JCP Universe describes itself as an ‘experimental brand’ that aims to explore the boundary between art and design. For supersalone, it imagines “another world” through an installation called ‘Backworld’, which comprises its otherworldly designs and is conceived by the likes of designers Nanda Vigo and Alessandro Zambelli.
milan design week 2021
Outdoor furniture brand Talenti revealed its latest pieces as well as some abstracts from its 2022 catalogue, with many collaborations featuring Ludovica+Roberto Palomba, as well as the Leaf collection designed by Marco Acerbis. The George collection (one of our favourites this year), comprises a sofa featuring a stainless steel structure that is covered with a slightly padded rope weave, whose materials are reminiscent of the nautical world. It was designed by Ludovica+Roberto Palomba, whose other collections include the Panama egg, featuring a cosy nest-like swing, as well as the Argo Alu.
Perhaps one of the most compelling showcases at supersalone was the installation ‘Flight D.154.5’ by Molteni&C, featuring Gio Ponti’s Round armchair, designed in 1954 and now reissued in collaboration with the Gio Ponti archives. The installation, directed by Ron Gilad, celebrates the acclaimed Italian architect and the flair of the 1960s. Conceived as an interior of an aeroplane, it features animated windows that look out onto an imaginary sky. The Round armchairs, in leather and fabric, are arranged in a line at the windows to host passengers on their trip. The installation also features the original Olivari Cono handles, which were made for Villa Planchart in Caracas. In its essence, the installation aims to promote a message of hope, leading us to reconnect and create new experiences.
George collection by Ludovica+Roberto Palomba
Round armchair by Gio Ponti
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milan milan design design week week 2021
cc-tapis, which celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year, showcased its latest collections across supersalone and its newly renovated showroom, which is housed inside an 18th-century Milanese building – complete with washed-in grey walls and tactile materials. The French-Italian brand, whose rugs are produced in Nepal, teamed up with its long-term collaborator Patricia Urquiola, alongside Belgian duo Muller Van Severen and Italian artist Edoardo Piermattei, to present three dynamic collections, each with its own distinct identity. The results are mostly playful and light-hearted, showcasing the innovative spirit of the brand. Urquiola’s Venus Power is a ‘manifesto’ on the powerful attributes of femininity and its inherent
presence in all things. Comprising floating shapes that form the phrase ‘We all come from Venus’, its strong black lines define the perimeter of the rugs which allude to graffiti. Completely hand-knotted by Tibetan artisans, the decisive black lines of the design are hand-carved to gently rise in a soft and curved 3D form, which is repeated in the silhouette of the rugs, a tribute to feminine archetypes. Piermattei’s Dagallà is a collection of three different rugs, which he presents alongside artworks specifically created for the cc-tapis showroom. They have been designed to represent a link between Eastern and Western cultures (the Arabic derivation ‘Dag Allah’ means ‘saved by god’ and the Italian word ‘dagala’ refers to islands of vegetation). With this concept in mind, Piermattei has designed ‘new formations’ that emerge from the surface of the rug, which give rise to a new word – ‘Dagallà’.
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Tacchini’s latest collection, Timeless Traces, reveals five new pieces inspired by the romanticism of the past which is used as a tool to redefine what the future of interior landscapes could look like – both contract and residential. Blending sinuous shapes and luxurious materials, the collection reveals new designs by Lebanese duo David/Nicolas, Karen Chekerdjian (who has designed the Elephant armchair and ottoman) and Gordon Guillaumier alongside re-editions of its iconic pieces by Tobia Scarpa and Gastone Rinaldi. The hero of the collection is the Victoria modular system, designed by David/Nicolas and comprising armchairs, corner sofas, chaises lounges and ottomans. A tubular supporting frame – available in polished chrome, matt black chrome and black lacquer – serves as the product’s base, giving it a floating appearance and creating a sort of crown at the back. A series of small tables with mirrored tops completes the line, which can be combined with the other elements to create endless compositions. Malta-born Guillaumier’s monumental Togrul table features a base in rigid polyurethane that is finished in clay, made from 100% raw earth and applied by hand by master craftsmen. The marble top is available in a round version with different finishes. Timeless Traces was on show at supersalone, as well as on view among the ruins of a Roman villa in Sirmione, located outside of Milan. 42
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Pastoral pop Peter Saville has created a textile collection for Kvadrat that’s inspired by the spray-painted markings found on sheep in the Welsh countryside
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t has become almost customary for creatives outside the sphere of interior design to conceive collections for various global brands. The latest to join this collaborative endeavour is British graphic designer Peter Saville, whose collaboration with Kvadrat features a collection of upholstery, rugs and curtains. Saville – who is known for designing album covers for the likes of Joy Division and New Order, as well as being creative director for the city of Manchester – has been a long-term creative consultant for Kvadrat on all aspects of its visual communication. Aptly named Technicolour, the textile collection is inspired by smit marks – spray-painted markings on sheep that are commonly used by shepherds across the UK, and which Saville used to observe on family holidays in Wales. He likens these marks to ‘rural graffiti’. “…I would see the sheep that were marked with these multi-coloured codes and [that] made me wonder what would happen when those colours were impermeable and made [it all the] way through to a kind of weaving, and ultimately to product,” he explains. “I am excited by how the collection brings the industry of the land, in raw form, into the living environment. The collection’s elements offer an experience of texture and colour, ranging from the expressionistic to the subliminal.” The craft-oriented collection, which arches from agricultural to industrial, consists of a palette of untreated wool tones that contrast with DayGlo hues, recalling the dynamic contrast between the vivid colours used to mark sheep and the earthy tones of natural fleece. The upholstery and the rugs are
crafted from 100 per cent English wool and manufactured in England. The most subtle in the collection is the Fleck upholstery, featuring neutral backgrounds but with a discreet chromatic depth that only appears to the eye upon close inspection. The rugs, which are handwoven and knotted, and later tufted by robots, are crafted from pure new wool and feature three iterations. Flock takes a more pastoral perspective and has a strong connection with the sheep that provided the wool for its creation. It features richly voluminous, irregular weft yarns created by randomly spinning coloured flocks of wool by hand. Fleece, on the other hand, embodies a more urban attitude, featuring random sparks of colour naturally sprinkled across an irregular, soft, unsheared surface that recalls natural fleece. Meanwhile, Field is composed of fine bamboo viscose yarns, bringing an industrial approach to colour and colour gradations, and uniting hues in a way that is reminiscent of sheep markings. The two curtains in the collection are made of iridescent Trevira CS; Flux is defined by a colourful
striped rainbow motif, while Fade is transparent and reveals eight colours with hints of neon that emerge with movement. “To me the collection is an observation that looked like graffiti in the countryside but clearly wasn’t,” Saville says. “It’s kind of like ‘pop pastoral’.”
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Sublime nature Studiopepe’s lush intervention for design retailer Mohd brings together a harmonious dialogue between architecture, furniture and landscape
hat was once a hangar for building airplane engines and later an abandoned photography studio is now home to design retailer Mohd’s headquarters in Milan, restored by Milanese duo Studiopepe. It forms part of Mohd’s design space, Officina Milano, which was inaugurated during Supersalone 2021. Studiopepe’s intervention features a delightful dialogue between nature and architecture and was inspired by the company’s vast portfolio of brands and design plurality – all set within almost 500 square metres of natural light-filled industrial space. ‘Botanica Collectiva’ is as experiential as it is sensorial, placing furniture, lighting and accessories within an enchanting indoor garden, complete with various flora and live butterflies flying overhead or perched on leaves in clusters. It offers a narrative-driven ecosystem of its own, where design and nature coexist in harmony, while encouraging a sense of intimacy and exploration. “We conceived this space as an indoor garden, and we wanted to focus on [the ideas of] beauty and plurality. The beauty is in all the differences,” Arianna Lelli Mami, co-founder of Studiopepe tells identity. “We also wanted to bring together different brands to create interesting interior compositions, like our client, Mohd. So, the beauty of the space is in its plurality, in the connection and synergy of spaces.” 46
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Amid the lush vegetation are glimpses into the ‘homes of tomorrow’, showcased as various living scenographies and featuring some of Mohd’s most prominent brands including the likes of Flos, Gubi, Ligne Roset, Vitra and Baxter. These settings include a lounge area, home office, living area, study and dining rooms, as well as outdoor scenarios – all capturing the countless creative ways in which we could live. These ideas can be further explored using the various touch screens as well as through the Materioteca (materials library), a private space where one can learn more about Mohd’s partner companies. The various living settings are divided using tactile and earthy-coloured wooden partitions that have been covered using finishes by Matteo Brioni, who was chosen for his use of natural elements such as sand and earth. “We wanted to offer a positive message [with this installation], and to tell people to take care of nature and to take care of their environments and where they live,” Mami adds. The butterflies, she says, were used as a metaphor for this, as well as to symbolise beauty, transformation and connections to nature. “We also curated the species of plants, specifically choosing those from Sicily, from the Mediterranean climate, as they are very good for the butterflies and have sweet flowers that are perfect for pollination,” she says. ‘Botanica Collectiva’ was one of the many projects at this year’s Milan Design Week that highlighted the importance of respecting and living in harmony with nature. The installation is also exemplary of the studio’s artful and experimental approach to design, which often relates to topics around the dialogue between opposites. id
milan design week 2021
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A celebration of textures Hermès presents its latest home collections within a ‘village’ of monolithic chambers
et inside five monolithic lime plaster volumes that rest on terracotta-hued sand, the latest Hermès home collections – which include an array of furniture, objects and textiles – celebrate the tactility of raw and natural materials. Referencing North African vernacular architecture, the structures feature carved partitions, inside which one discovers the brand’s latest creations. Made from leather, textiles, metals and stone, the pieces are displayed on altar-like plinths – and sometimes inside wall carvings. The collections play with the idea of unexpected material combinations, where a seat can be crafted using paper microfibres and cashmere is interwoven with golden threads. Among the highlights from the collection is Studio Mumbai’s Sillage d’Hermès armchair, which features an organically shaped, throne-like seat inspired by ‘faraway places’. Made with a wooden structure, it is coated with a composite material inspired by papier-mâché techniques and handcrafted in Puglia. Also by Studio Mumbai is the Lignage d’Hermès table, which is made with blue limestone from Hainaut in Belgium, engraved with a precise repetition of narrow lines. A theme we have seen a lot during Milan Design Week this year is the rebirth of many emblematic pieces of the past – and in the case of Hermés, it is no different. The collection sees the rebirth of the Sarazine table lamp, first designed in 1966 by Jean-Michel Sarazin. Its structure is created using natural cowhide leather which has been beautifully saddle-stitched, while the lampshade is made of writing paper. And of course, the signature hand-woven plaids by Hermès Studio make an appearance, their chromatic geometric combinations forming visual connections with the surrounding architecture. 50
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Previous page: Hermès' latest collections were showcased within monumental architectural volumes, decorated in geometric patterns and vibrant colours. Inside one can glimpse Jasper Morrison's Équilibre d’Hermès chair. This page; clockwisde from left: Studio Mumabi's Sillage d’Hermès armchair and Lignage d’Hermès table; hand-woven plaids by Hermès Studio; Chromatic baskets made from leather and wicker, designed by Hermès Studio.
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Creative harmony A ceramic series designed by Omar Sosa for raawii is exemplary of a creative collaboration between people creating out of their comfort zone PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID LURASCHI
he two creatives – Omar Sosa and Nicholai Wiig-Hansen – first met in Belgrade. Danish designer Hansen (who has designed pieces for the likes of IKEA, Normann Copenhagen and Fritz Hansen) is the co-founder of ‘democratic’ lifestyle design brand raawii, while Omar Sosa is a creative director and co-founder of Apartamento magazine. A collaboration between the two felt inevitable, especially after Hansen asked Sosa to design objects for the brand. Sosa took three years to think it over. “It would have been difficult for me to initiate the process of designing an object if it wasn’t for Nicholai’s insistence and support,” Sosa shares. “The truth is that the design process [itself] was rather fast. It took about a month from the first drawing to having the first
three pieces in different colours,” he adds. “However, the process of me deciding to step into industrial design took a little longer. I have huge respect for industrial designers and artists that have devoted their lives to design. I just wanted to take time to decide whether I had something to say in that world or not.” The omar/raawii ceramic series was launched during Milan Design Week last month and comprises four shapes in nine colours that can be used in any way one wishes. The collection features two bowls (deep and shallow), a carafe and a vase, which are all stackable, while the harmonious colours – ranging from tawny and cinnamon to coal and electric blue – can be combined with one another. All the pieces in the series are glazed earthenware and slip-cast.
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“The colours and simplicity of form that raawii has been using since its first pieces were my inspiration,” says Sosa. “I didn’t have any concrete use in mind when I designed these pieces – they came up out of instinct and I would like people to find their own uses. I find that much more rewarding.” The collection was then completed by involving photographer David Luraschi, who has worked on a number of fashion campaigns, as well as illustrator Olimpia Zagnoli, who wrote a short story around it. In this collaboration, each person finds themselves working outside their usual creative comforts and discovering potential within new spheres of art and design. Perhaps this is exactly what Hansen intended; he, alongside partner Bo Raahauge, sees raawii more as a creative platform that can bring about unexpected creative collaborations. “I like the word ‘non-designer’,” Sosa shares. “However, as Nicholai always said, there is a lot of unconscious knowledge that you put into practice when you create. In this particular case, I needed some constraints in order to create these pieces.
After three days at the factory, I fell in love with the system for [converting] 2D drawings into 3D pieces from a plaster piece and a turning wheel. It’s very similar to the process of working with wood. Here, you subtract matter instead of adding, and you have huge control of the curves.” In a conversation between the creatives, Sosa expanded on the process: “I think that this work was above all one of love and detail; we concentrated a great deal on proportions, which are everything to us. We did not work by trial and error, but rather by relying on instinct. Maybe that’s why, in the pieces we created, I feel a sort of primitive energy.” This free-flowing attitude, which largely drove the new series is, in fact, perfectly in harmony with raawii’s own approach to design, as Hansen explains: “I don’t want to set limits on creative people. We need diversity, and diversity is obtained by letting diverse people express their own vision.” id
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Natural connection WORDS BY KARINE MONIÉ
In the living room, the armchairs are by Pierre Jeanneret and the sofa is from Casa Atica
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CÉSAR BÉJAR
On Mexico’s Riviera Maya, this elegant house with pure lines and a soft palette sits discreetly in the jungle, subtly blending indoors and outdoors
ocated a short distance from the beach, this 335-square metre property – built and designed by CO-LAB, which was founded and led by Joana Gomes and Joshua Beck – took around 24 months to complete, with the pandemic and related challenges to navigate. After living in New York for several years, the owner – originally from Belgium and in the real estate business – decided to move to Tulum, Mexico. The house he purchased was for his personal use, plus holistic activities – such as sound healing, ceremonies and gatherings – and rental purposes when he was not there. “We think the house reflects a quality of peacefulness and tranquillity, while being sophisticated and timeless, which perfectly matches the homeowner’s style and personality,” says Gomes. “He is very calm and was looking to slow down after a few busy years in the city.” Surrounded by tropical plants, the house is composed of two parallel volumes. The first, with two levels, accommodates four en suite bedrooms – two on the ground floor, including the main bedroom, which has direct access to the pool and garden, and two upstairs that are connected through a bridge crossing the central space – with views to the jungle. The same volume also hosts the kitchen, staircase and service areas. The second, single-storey, double-height volume comprises the social areas (living and dining room), which open up to the exterior on three sides through floor-to-ceiling pivoting glass doors. The roof terrace complements the experience with its 360-degree panorama. “There were several adult trees on the plot, including a 60-year-old tzalam tree in the backyard, that we wanted to preserve,” remembers Gomes. “The house is positioned and volumetrically distributed to integrate these trees as part of the architecture, through extended views and shades.” THE DESIGN ISSUE
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Oriented east-west to take advantage of the prevailing winds and achieve optimal cross-ventilation, the house features north-oriented skylights that fill the different spaces with indirect natural light and create soft contrasts. “The owner loves lofty spaces, which had a great impact on the choice of colours and materials,” Beck says. “The palette with warm grey tones helps to blend the house with the surroundings, providing a neutral background to the lush vegetation while conveying a sense of belonging.” The perimetral stone wall was built from stone extracted on site; the polished concrete walls balance with the black terrazzo floors; and the charred cedar wood carpentry brings some warmth. “These materials are extremely resilient and easy to maintain in Tulum’s hot, humid climate with a saline atmosphere,” notes Gomes. Most of the furnishings and light fixtures were custom-designed and fabricated by local artisans, including the 4.6-metre-tall metal doors. “We particularly love the coffee table we made in our studio,”
Beck confesses. In the bedrooms, the chairs were created from Gerrit Rietveld’s design and fabricated by a local carpenter. In the living room, Pierre Jeanneret armchairs combine with a sofa from Tulum store Casa Atica, while the kitchenware is by Colectivo 1050° from Oaxaca. “It is quite a simple, modest structure,” describes Gomes. “It provides, however, a variety of special moments that are unique in [terms of] their relationships between architecture, water and nature. The house blends with its context as if it has always been there.” In addition to fitting the needs and corresponding to the taste of its inhabitant, this project exemplifies CO-LAB’s approach and philosophy. “All our collaborators share a strong bond with nature and spend a lot of their free time outdoors,” Gomes says. “We try to create calming ambiences that make the buildings and their users feel more connected to their natural settings, resulting in grounded, peaceful atmospheres. We do so through a certain rawness, which defines our work but is then softened by the landscape, organic materials and handcrafted furnishings. The result is an earthy environment, which seamlessly ties together interior and exterior.” id
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Colour code WORDS BY KARINE MONIÉ PHOTOGRAPHY BY FILIPPO BAMBERGHI
In Lugano, Switzerland, architect and interior designer Maria Duborkina has transformed spaces that once lacked character into a welcoming and playful home for a young family
Wall colour - Studio Green by Farrow & Ball Bed - Alys by B&B italia Curtains - Iris Interior Colour Concepts Chair - Atlantis (by Raul 33, Artrust) Handpainted Karltell chair Chest of drawers - Easy by Novamobili Wardrobe - Perry by Novamobili Floors - Nocciolieve by Fiemme Tremila Bedside lamps in brass - Tubino by Panzeri Chandelier - Puppet ringISSUE by Vetreria THE DESIGN 63 Voltosi Wall hung artwork Atlantis (by Raul 33, Artrust)
ife during the pandemic has been hard for most, leading many to decide that it was time for a change. This was the story for a couple of computer science professors (she is Italian, he is German) with two children. “They wanted to have more space,” says Russian-born architect and interior designer Maria Duborkina, founder of Switzerland-based MD Creative Lab. “They realised it during the lockdown and moved to this new place.” Located on the ground floor of a two-storey house – which originally dates back to the 1950s and sits perched on a hill just above the Swiss city of Lugano – this 115-square metre apartment provides lake views, in addition to having a garden and swimming pool. “The project was designed, implemented and completed in four months, with Christmas holidays in the middle of it,” remembers Duborkina, who didn’t hesitate to tackle the challenge. One of the first decisions made was to move the formerly separate kitchen to the living room, creating an open and warm environment where the idea of having an island with an integrated table – one of the owners’ long-time wishes – was brought to life. Characterised by an original arch which was preserved, the entrance is illuminated by structural ceiling lamps by Vibia and invites visitors to step inside the living room, which is enveloped by the warm and soft Charleston Gray paint by Farrow & Ball on the walls – the perfect backdrop for the asymmetrical, bold green Polder sofa by Vitra. “This tone acts as a connecting neutral yet cosy shade, which works nicely with the ’50s doors we maintained throughout the home,” says Duborkina. “My goal is to create spaces for modern living
that are often based on a classical perspective. Combining contemporary and traditional influences by using modern innovations with vintage elements allows me to create inviting, comfortable and timeless spaces.” In the living area, an arched window echoes the entrance. Next to it, the Ro reading chair by Fritz Hansen, which takes its name from the Danish word meaning tranquillity, provides an invitation to relax. On the opposite side, the white Random bookcase by MDF Italia showcases travel and cookbooks, among other items.
Wall colour - Studio Green by Farrow & Ball Chest of drawers - Easy by Novamobili Sculpture - from the private collection
Wall colour - Charleston Gray by Farrow & Ball Lamp - Structural by Vibia Floors - Stonecrete by Imola Ceramica Cabinet mirror ISSUE - Sessanta THEand DESIGN 65by Birex On the back - sideboard - Sangiacomo mod. Open
Kitchen - Boxi by Scavolini Chairs - Slim by Midj Appliances - by VZug Extractor - Zenith by Falmec
“We were inspired by the past of the clients (with the furniture they already had), the architecture of the house and the surrounding scenery, including the flow of the natural light,” describes Duborkina. To add mood, the main bedroom was painted in Studio Green by Farrow & Ball, blending with the trees seen through the large window that invites natural light inside, while an invisible door leads to an office. The brushed parquet, as well as the Perry wardrobe by Novamobili, Puppet Ring chandelier by Vetreria Vistosi in amber glass, and caramel Alys bed by B&B Italia in leather with rounded headboard that fits the curved wall behind it, are some of the elements that shape the pleasant atmosphere. Two artworks by Raul 33 (from Artrust) – the ‘Atlantic’ piece on 66
the wall and the hand-painted Kartell chair – add surprising visual touches to the mix. “Since the beginning, my clients were open to colour,” Duborkina notes. “We used bright shades for the kids’ spaces – such as lemon in the playroom [that’s] adorned with colourful rugs, and Dix Blue by Farrow & Ball in the sleeping room, as it is a versatile hue for the boy and the girl. “This home is simple, functional, welcoming and playful – what Swedish people call ‘lagom’,” the designer adds. “I transmit my love for colour and pattern into all my projects, considering each one of them as a blank canvas awaiting the perfect palette and combination of materials and fabrics.” Mission accomplished. id
Wall colour - Charleston Gray by Farrow & Ball Bookshelf - Random by MDF italia Sofa - Polder by Vitra Carpet - Bold Melange by Kvadrat Reading chair - Ro by Fritz Hansen THE DESIGN ISSUE
Kitchen enlightenment Häcker Kitchens Dubai are undoubtedly pioneers of the luxury kitchen industry. Here is an insightful and informative guide that will shed light on the inner-world of luxury kitchen companies. WORDS BY SAMIR RANAVAYA
he kitchen design world is a maelstrom of information, gimmicks, stories and choices. There are literally thousands of kitchen companies around the globe, and design studios by the dozen in any leading city. The kitchen consumer must make some very important decisions during the design process, which can take a considerable investment of time. We want to help make sure clients can make confident and fully informed decisions when choosing their dream kitchen. HOW OLD IS THE KITCHEN COMPANY? There is no real knowledge without experience. Evolution is a time-tested but slow process and over many decades kitchen companies have innovated in terms of design, material selection, production processes and services. The company’s age speaks volumes about its level of innovation, the quality of its engineering and its ability to build long-lasting products. WHERE IS IT MADE AND WHO OWNS THE COMPANY? A company without culture is like a tree without roots, and the leadership sets the tone of the brand. For example, German company culture is synonymous with engineering excellence and innovation, hence why they are famous for their technology advancement. German brands are also famous for their modular kitchens. If the product is 100% ‘Made in Germany’ and German-owned, you are providing consumers with industry-leading technology and quality. HOW BIG IS THE COMPANY? Size matters. Not only does it prove the success of the company through high demand for its products, but the large production scale translates into competitive pricing.
Some brands are almost six times the size of their peers, which allows them to offer unbeatable prices when products are compared like-for-like. IS THE BRAND FINANCIALLY STRONG AND STABLE? It’s quite normal to pay substantial down payments on a kitchen order; this is how the top manufacturers ensure their own financial stability. Being in the Middle East, it can take over two months to receive the kitchen, due to the manufacturing and shipping stages. This is the point when the client’s investment is at risk. The Covid-19 pandemic exposed the cracks of some famous manufacturers and even led to bankruptcy procedures. You are safest when purchasing from a brand with an AAA German credit rating, for example. IS THE KITCHEN 100% TROPICALISED? Modular kitchen design originated in Europe. Little did manufacturers know that one day German kitchens would be the kitchens of choice around the globe. Materials, adhesives and production methods that were designed for European climates had to be painstakingly redeveloped to suit the extreme demands of hot and humid climates – such as that of the Middle East. Make sure to confirm that your kitchen of choice is 100% tropicalised or ‘Gulf Spec’. This makes it longer-lasting and more resilient in the face of the tough environment of busy kitchens. WHAT IS THE FORMALDEHYDE SAFETY RATING? Formaldehyde is a chemical that is found in the production of wood pressed furniture. It is made more potent when the wooden furniture is exposed to heat and humidity. Recent studies have shown that it is hazardous to health and can cause terminal illness.
Carb 2 certification is a must; it confirms that the kitchen contains practically zero formaldehyde. Pick a brand with Carb 2 certification to ensure peace of mind when it comes to your health. HOW LONG IS THE WARRANTY VALID FOR? At the end of the day, claims of high-quality engineering and materials are only valid if backed by a solid, comprehensive warranty. For example, a few brands offer a 20-year guarantee which ensures complete peace of mind for clients, while some only offer up to five years, which says a lot about the confidence in their quality. WHO WILL UNDERTAKE THE INSTALLATION OF THE KITCHEN? The dream kitchen experience is a triangle consisting of product, design and installation. The installation can make or break the entire kitchen. This is when experience and expertise matter the most. Clients must check if the kitchen brand has dedicated installation managers, as well as how much experience they have and from where. Some professional kitchen studios will also have quality systems in place such as ISO and Six Sigma – make sure to look out for these. WHAT ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY; IS THE BRAND CARBON-NEUTRAL? Environmental awareness and sustainability cannot be ignored. As human beings we are collectively putting more and more pressure on Earth’s natural environment. ‘Throwaway’ culture is reaching a tipping point. Whilst we want unconstrained progress, we cannot have it at the expense of the future. Environmentally conscious clients and those concerned about their environmental legacy can check if the brand is carbon-neutral. THE DESIGN ISSUE
Naturally electric This month we juxtapose electric shades of blue and turquoise - which have taken prominence on everything from furniture to accessories - with the rich burnt shade of fallen autumn leaves (including some new launches from Milan)
Razionalista Soft chair Dimoremilano Available at dimoremilano.com
1. Gamma rug by Tapis Rouge Atelier. Available at ateliertapisrouge.com 2. Troll vase by MENU. Available at ssense.com 3. Lente vase by Rosaria Rattin for Kose. Available at kosemilano.com 4. Dudet small armchair by Patricia Urquiola for Cassina. Available at nextspace.me 5. Pebble marbled-resin plates by Dinosaur Designs. Available at matchesfashion.com 6. Eclectic Alchemy scented candle by Tom Dixon. Available at matchesfashion.com 7. Renaissance Gold espresso saucer by Wedgwood. Available at Bloomingdales.ae
THE DESIGNERS ISSUE
Life in colour India Mahdavi’s first monograph shines a spotlight on the designer’s trendsetting interiors and distinctive use of colour
aris-based interior designer India Mahdavi has a special way with colour. Its determined yet effortless presence is evident across both her most emblematic and lesser-known projects the world over. The distinctly pink-hued Sketch gallery-restaurant in London (said to be the most Istagrammed space in the city) helped create the millennial pink colour trend that has taken over many interior projects since its launch. Mahdavi’s first – and long overdue – eponymous monograph offers a retrospective journey through the designer’s most vibrant works. Highlighting the depth and breadth of Mahdavi’s talent and the diversity of her projects, the monograph offers an unprecedented perspective on her creative process, including the vast array of inspirational images, drawings, mood boards, sketches and models that have evolved into some of her most celebrated projects. These include the likes of London’s Sketch and her numerous Ladurée projects in Los Angeles, Tokyo and Geneva, as well as the Hôtel du Cloître in Arles. It also reveals projects such as hotels in Mexico and Monte Carlo, as well as private cinemas and residences, alongside restaurants in New York and Paris. “I have always practised interior design at the crossroads of other disciplines, such as scenography, film, decor, furniture and product design, exploring [the] many opportunities that were given to me to design, decorate, remodel or reveal a space, creating new experiences, embellishing life,” Mahdavi writes in the book’s introduction. “But if there is a common denominator to all my projects, it is the necessity of creating a sense of joy, a ‘joie de vivre’ that I like to convey by using the primary colours of my emotions to listen, to understand, to feel, to respond to an environment,” she continues. The book, which was first revealed during this year’s Milan Design Week, is art directed by Studio Achermann and features a tactile and patterned slipcase as well as an additional booklet that includes Mahdavi’s photographs, capturing details, patterns, colours and more from her travels around the world. It also features an extensive interview by Javier F Contreras, dean of the Department of Interior Architecture at HEAD in Geneva, which helps to make this monograph a truly insightful celebration of the first 21 years of India Mahdavi’s singular career. 72
DESIGN AWARDS 2021 Book your tables now E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit identity.ae/awards for more information
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Murano 26 is a series of glass vases blown by Venetian glass masters using artisanal methods. Available in four different colours, each vase is designed to double as an elegant décor piece for the home during the day and create colourful diffusions in the evenings when paired with the wireless Suro lamp – both of which have been designed by Marco Zito for Lym.
Available at Lobo & Listone
Murano 26 by Marco Zito for Lym 74
Exclusive paintings, sculptures and photography from award-winning international artists.
Painting by Abdulrahim Salem
Photograph by Faisal AlRais
Sculpture by Ana Laserna Villa