After a year-long absence, Milan Design Week has wrapped up yet another year of creativity and innovation. From the 5th to the 10th of September, thousands of design companies displayed their creations to more than 200,000 visitors hailing from different countries, demographics, and industries. And while the design fair gravitated towards the world of interior design, many renowned architects such as Bjarke Ingels, Foster + Partners, and Herzon & de Meuron participated in the week-long exhibition and joined forces with interior and furniture design brands to create signature pieces.
Andreu World x Philippe Starck
With over 65 years in the furniture design industry, global furniture brand Andreu World has collaborated with French architecture and multidisciplinary designer Philippe Starck to create the Adela Rex, a family of seats made entirely and solely of plywood. Its intricate design combines three pieces together like a puzzle, without using any fittings, screws or additional materials. The chairs were on display at the SuperSalone at the Rho Fiera Milano.
Andreu World x Patricia Urquiola
Nuez Lounge BIO®
The Nuez Lounge BIO is the final installation of the chair, armchair, table and stool family designed by Spanish architect and designer Patricia Urquiola. The furniture piece is a 100% circular, sustainable, and biodegradable armchair that maintains the "warm and technological" character of the Nuez collection through its enveloping shell, which is said to fold like a sheet of paper. The chairs were on display at the SuperSalone at the Rho Fiera Milano.
Dior x MAD / Ma Yansong
In addition to the “Freedom” installation, MAD Architects revealed two furniture design projects at the Milan Design Week. The architecture studio was invited by fashion house Dior to recreate its classic oval back chair "Meteor", also known as the Medallion Chair. The chair's futuristic and animated design evokes a sense of "journey through time and space". The chairs are made of monochromatic 3D printed polyurethane, which further enhance the sense of being caught in motion as intended by the architects. The pieces were displayed at the Palazzo Citrio.
Sawaya & Moroni x MAD / Ma Yansong
Back in 2018, MAD collaborated with Sawaya & Moroni to create the Gu Chair. This year, the architecture office continued the series with the "Gu Table", a furniture piece that corresponds to human bones with flexible curves that seem to be an extension of the human form. The Gu Table and Chair draw inspiration from skeletal structures, “gu” meaning “bones” in Chinese. Both the table and chairs are made of wooden material, which make it seem as though the pieces are sculptures in nature. The collection was on display at the Sawaya & Moroni Gallery.
Artemide x Foster + Partners
Designed by award-winning architecture firm Foster + Partners, Takku is a transversal portable light created initially for office spaces but has found great adaptations in residential spaces as well. The product's flexibility comes from the fact that it can stay lit up to 32 hours without it being connected to a source of energy. The lighting fixture's head can control the diffused emissions, offering the users the ability to adjust the light's brightness into 3 different settings based on the performed activity or desired atmosphere. The lights were on display at the SuperSalone at the Rho Fiera Milano.
Artemide x BIG
This year, BIG ventured into the world of lighting with Artemide, creating a unique fixture called La Linea. Freedom, modularity, and flexibility were the keywords used to describe the product. Users can twist and manipulate the light tube in however way they please, creating infinite designs and undefined geometries. The lights were on display at the SuperSalone at the Rho Fiera Milano.
Artemide x BIG
Another BIG-designed product is the Stellar Nebula, a family of suspension lamps that highlights artisan glass blowing and combines it with innovative finishing techniques. The design team used three different sizes of blowing molds, each creating unique pieces. After the molding process, the glass is then treated with a "dichroic finishing process", creating an interaction of glass and light. The lights were on display at the SuperSalone at the Rho Fiera Milano.
Artemide x Herzog & de Meuron
Herzog & de Meuron collaborated with Artemide to create a modern take on traditional chandeliers. The structure is composed of three steel tubes that gradually decrease in diameter towards the top, creating a conical silhouette. The simple design contradicts the conventional complexity in the form and details of chandeliers, complimenting today's shift towards minimalism and simplicity. According to the architecture firm, "the light was created in 2007 while we were working on a house project on the coast of Tenerife. Starting with a sketch, it was made on site in different variations by the workers. It was supposed to be a temporary intervention but has become an essential element of the space, not replaceable and appreciated by the owners".
Artemide x Mario Cucinella Architects
Inspired by Japanese Origami techniques, Mario Cucinella Architects collaborated with Artemide to present Flexia, a light fixture that combines light and acoustic control to provide perfect environmental comfort. The piece's duality of versatile design and sound-absorbing material allows it to adapt to all interior contexts. The wings are connected with a rotation mechanism that goes from 0° to 15° and 30°, giving the users total freedom in choosing the final design. When switched off, the lamp within Flexia is almost invisible, but once turned on, it transforms into a solid light surface.
UNStudio / Ben van Berkel
Node+ and Soliscape
Ben van Berkel / UNStudio showcased two new versatile product designs created by their in-house user experience think tank UNSx titled Node+ and Soliscape. Italian furniture brand LaCividina collaborated with UNSx to create the Node+, an adaptable furniture system that responds to users' everchanging physical and spatial needs. Following the approach of adapting to users' needs, Soliscape was desigend in collaboration with Delta Light, and is a toolbox of flexible lighting and acoustic components that respond users' daily activities.
UniFor x Aldo Rossi
The Parigi armchair, the Cartesio bookcase, the Consiglio table, and the Museo chair
Venturing into the world of architecture, furniture brand UniFor has launched ARCHIVIOUNIFOR, a project that recreates the company's furniture archives that were designed by renowned architects over the years. Aldo Rossi's collection with UniFor initiated the project with a rework of four of his most iconic furniture pieces created between the end of the 1980's and the beginning of the 1990's. The pieces on display were the Parigi armchair, the Cartesio bookcase, the Consiglio table, and the Museo chair, creations that fully express the way the architect combined furniture and architecture. The pieces were displayed alongside an installation by Ron Gilad at the historic UniFor showroom on Corso Matteotti.
We invite you to check out ArchDaily's comprehensive coverage of the Salone Del Mobile 2021, featuring exclusive editorial pieces and interviews with architects and curators of the event.