As the week comes to an end, Milan Design Week wraps up yet another successful year of creativity and innovation. Thousands of design companies displayed their creations to more than 200,000 visitors hailing from different countries, demographics, and career backgrounds. Although the design fair gravitated towards the world of interior design, many renowned architects participated in the week-long exhibition and joined their forces with interior and furniture design experts.
Along with the impressive collaborations that these architects created with lighting companies, take a look at how they used their expertise in forms and structures to develop unique furniture pieces.
The main inspiration behind Sawaya & Moroni’s collection this year was the role of structure in designs as an aesthetic element, not just an engineering factor. The firm wanted to highlight its importance on architectural creativity, and to further explore this design concept, they collaborated with architecture heavyweights who are very familiar with structures and their design potential.
MEW Coffee Table by Zaha Hadid Designs
As a follow up to the MEW table desk in 2016, Zaha Hadid Designs complemented their previous furniture piece with a coffee table. The origami-inspired furniture piece is unexpectedly lightweight, fabricated with high-density molded polyurethane. A central blade-like element acts as a part of a third plane, giving the impression that the table’s surface is suspended in equilibrium.
5.PM Stacking Chair by William Sawaya
Sawaya’s creation is reminiscent of a large animal's horns, which are often its “vein of support”. He translated the idea with one main steel tube that defines the legs, seat, armrests, and backrest continuously, wrapping itself around the user. The seat and backrest are made of molded soft polyurethane, finished with colored fabric or leather.
KOR Armchair and Sofa by William Sawaya
Sawaya’s second furniture collection sees a combination of traditional and contemporary design. A chrome steel tube is weaved with belts that support the seats’ padding, a design element that was traditionally used and concealed in old furniture pieces.
ALESSANDRO I-II-III by William Sawaya
Sawaya’s final collection in this year’s installment was inspired by a furniture piece that dates back to the sixteenth century. The Alessandro collection is a combination of 3 dressers of different shapes and sizes but with the same bold geometric pattern. A black and white composition is framed by a continuous structural surface, creating an optical illusion that conceals the outlines of the cabinets and drawers. Alessandro III, the longest of all three pieces, features a fluorescent green unit in the middle of the dresser, containing a bar corner within it.
The Norwegian architecture studio went back to its roots with this collaborative project. The collection of stools are made of natural wood, and are minimally designed similar to traditional Norwegian designs. Two etched cuts on the sides of the tailored seat allow the user to easily grip the stool. A metal hook is fixed to one of the stool’s legs, designed to support handbags or backpacks.
GU Chair by Ma Yansong of MAD Architects x Sawaya & Moroni
The GU Chair was a result of a research done with MAD Architects to cross-fertilize between architecture and landscape, where the architecture an extension of the environment it is set in. The wooden chair’s components mesh seamlessly, complementing one-another in matter and form.
Leva Chair by Foster + Partners
The chair is the first wooden chair designed by Foster + Partners, and was inspired by the efficiency and form of a rowing paddle. The piece was developed with one single piece of timber, carved and treated skillfully to provide utmost comfort and quality that is able to last generation. The use of minimal material is derived from the idea of sustainable design, which is why the chair is designed to reduce the amount of waste generated during production.
Italian natural stone company CITCO collaborated with renowned architects for the design of several pieces in their 2019 collection. The company exhibited both curvilinear and sharp-edged products made entirely out of marble.
Volta Bench & Malea Coffee Table by Zaha Hadid Designs
Hadid designs are known to push the boundaries of geometry and engineering, which is why CITCO collaborated with the architecture firm to create two free-spirited furniture pieces for this year’s exhibition. The Volta bench is made of Nero Assoluto marble while the Malea coffee table combines Onyx Ivory and Plexiglass.
Endless Side Table by Daniel Libeskind
Known for his explorations and experiments with dynamic forms, Libeskind played with proportion, space, and perspective with his side table design. The aesthetically-intriguing piece is carved from Italian marbles (Rosso Rupas, Silver Wave, and Bianco Carrara C) using cutting-edge technology, and serves both aesthetic and practical functions.
AVA Table by Foster + Partners
The architecture firm has been a collaboration with the furniture design company since 2006, and for this year’s exhibition, their collaboration explores the tangibility of wood in terms of sustainability and feasibility. The Ava Table is the result of the constant demand for “eco-sustainability”, a lightweight cantilevered table that can be used indoors and outdoors.
TWELVE A.M. COLLECTION by Neri&Hu
The Shanghai-based duo developed an integrated bedroom furniture system that is both inviting and comfortable, inspired by the notion of time and transition from day to night. Wood was teamed with metal, leather, and soft textiles to create the simply-designed collection. All of the collection’s elements were designed to be comfortable for use during the day and night.
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