The best products and researches of MDW 2023
After talking about some of the most interesting exhibitions at Milan Design Week 2023, let’s continue with a selection of the most evocative and sustainable products on show at the Fuorisalone and the Salone del Mobile 2023. Not only furniture already on the market but also university researches and projects. (Cover image, Liiu, Vantot for Luceplan, ph. courtesy)
Truly sustainable products at Fuorisalone 2023
OTO Chair, Alessandro Stabile and Martinelli Venezia
At Alcova we saw a project exhibited and created that we talked about 2 years ago, the Chair 1:1 by Alessandro Stabile and Martinelli Venezia. Officially marketed as the OTO Chair on the One to One Objects website, the chair is produced with a single mold and packaged in recycled and recyclable cellulose pulp packaging. The designers have optimized the size of the mold and thus the speed of the production process, minimizing waste. In addition, by selling the disassembled chair, numerous operations are skipped, leaving the completion of the process to the buyer (hyper-seriality). The cost for this innovative furniture? 99 euros and you can buy it here.
Peel chair, Prowl Studio
At the Ex-Macello di Porta Vittoria, the new Alcova location, we also saw the Peel Chair by Prowl Studio, presented with the installation Expect Death: a visual journey through the life cycle of the product. The chair is mono-material, made with PLA (derived from corn) and hemp fiber which, under the right conditions, can dissolve in the environment in about six months. Even the frame is recyclable, made through a mix of PLA – bioplastic – and coarse hemp fibers, accumulated during the processing of the plant, developed by M4 Factory.
In Alcova there was also the Frantoio Sociale, a project that aims to promote alternative practices of transformation and recycling of materials through workshops, events and dialogues. The protagonist of the project is the Crunchy Crusher transportable machine, capable of transforming waste material into new raw material for a wide range of uses. On the occasion of Alcova 2023, Frantoio Sociale presented itself to the public as a meeting space in which to discuss circularity, material flows, waste, raw materials and much more.
Sensbiom II, crafting plastics! and DumoLab
The project is an ecologically active biocomposite and is intended to reveal some invisible threats to humans. The research was presented with an installation in the corridors of Alcova: a suspended structure composed of a series of biopolymer lattices sensitive to exposure to UV rays and pollution. The membranes changed color signaling the variations in Milan’s solar radiation in real time. A project that aims to help us understand the invisible and climate change, with the aim of bringing us closer to nature and giving us a new tool to read it.
Material researches and experiments
Also worth mentioning are some of the material experiments we saw at the Isola Design Festival such as Lampunto by Alara Ertenu Studio – which we talked about here – Monoferments, a project by Monostudio Associati to experiment with a new, more circular and sustainable way of designing. Experimenting through the reuse of valuable waste, Elisa Evaso and Luca Guglieri work on a palette of natural, biophilic and circular materials for interiors. Also interesting is the project by Jack Brandsma, Material Magic, another research on the potential of hemp fibers as a material for furniture and seating.
Giacomo Moor for LiveinSlums – products that enrich the community
Also worth mentioning is the collection created by Giacomo Moor in collaboration with the NGO LiveinSlums, exhibited at Assab One with the “Design for communities” exhibition. For years, the organization has been carrying out urban regeneration work with the community of the Mathare slums, one of the largest in Nairobi. The goal is to involve the inhabitants, especially children and teenagers, making them protagonists of change for “lasting human growth”. The collaboration saw Giacomo Moor travel to Mathare to create the prototypes of the furnishings for the refectory and dormitory of the Why Not Academy. The designer has focused on a “productive simplification”: a formal synthesis of the furniture, not only from an aesthetic point of view, eliminating any decoration, but also from a constructive point of view. The stability of the family of furnishings – table, bench and beds – is given by the sequence of joints between the various components and the project requires a chisel, set square and pencil as the only tools for constructing the pieces. All this also allows everyone to replace the individual elements damaged by time or atmospheric agents.
The selected products presented by the brands at the Salone del Mobile 2023
Liiu, Vantot for Luceplan
The result not only of sophisticated technological but also formal research, Luceplan presented Liiu, designed by Vantot. A real refined and customizable suspension lighting system that comes in various shapes and is suitable for different environments and functions. The LED light becomes a delicate sculpture able to characterize the space in an elegant and unique way. The simple linear structure but studied in detail and the soft diffused light of the luminaire make Liiu a delicate, original but already iconic product.
As a stand at the Salone del Mobile 2023, Adrenalina brings a real grid in which to get lost and imagine the infinite combinations generated by the furnishings on display. The emblem of this concept is the new Passepartout collection, designed by Debonademeo (Luca De Bona and Dario De Meo – also artistic directors of the brand): it is a system made up of seats and modular accessories that generate infinite combinations. Passepartout is not just the name of the collection, but a new design challenge for the brand to follow a more rational and versatile design, in line with our times but connected to the history of the brand.
Prakash floor lamp, Atelier Ferraro
Awarded in 2022 with +1.5 Celsius, Atelier Ferraro returns to SaloneSatellite 2023 with Prakasch, (Sanskrit for light), a floor lamp that was born under the slogan “We ship design not weight”. Hundreds of thousands of goods are shipped every day and Atelier Ferraro delves into the challenges of reducing the resources required for this operation. In fact, for the transport of Prakasch, the structure is disassembled into elements that form a compact package ready for shipment. The base was created to be filled by the user with the material he can find: stones, seeds, sand or water, whatever resource he has at hand. This operation makes the lamp stable and usable.
Monolìte and Sinestesia, TipStudio for De Castelli
Also worth mentioning are TipStudio‘s projects with the De Castelli company – an almost natural collaboration given the main material treated by both. Monolìte and Sinestesia was born: the first is a vertical element made up of two symmetrical and concave brass metal sheets that join together at the back. Inside, a light source fills the gap between the two slabs, illuminating the internal rough and irregular texture, in stark contrast with the brushed, shiny and reflective exterior. The second is instead a console that takes up the game of contrasting surfaces but also plays with the positive and negative space of the structure. A solid shape characterized by solids and voids, which celebrates brass and shows all its expressive potential.
This is just a selection of some of the most interesting projects and research from Salone and Fuorisalone 2023. In a couple of days we will delve into further aspects of the Milan Design Week: from the spaces used to the problem of style design, from the dubious sustainability of few projects on display – to the economic aspects of the event.