SALONE DEL MOBILE
Take a look at the volume and breadth of the fashion collaborations on view at this year's Salone del Mobile: it feels like every fashion brand has finally woken up to the wonders of the home; Jonathan Anderson travelled the world to pull together Loewe’s celebration of craftsmanship; Marni too took to the road, looking to Colombia for its folkloric expo; and COS brought the American conceptual artist Phillip K. Smith III’s reflective sculptures into the confines of a 16th-century palazzo.
BRINGS COLOUR WITH ZELLIGE-TILED PAVILIONS
Hermès Maison collection launches during Salone del Mobile are always impressive and have, in recent years, become distinctly architectural under the artistic directorship of Charlotte Macaux Perelman and Alexis Fabry. There was the memorable Michele de Lucchi lighting takeover of Palazzo Serbelloni in 2014, followed in 2016 with the incredible Brutalist earthen brick pavilion by Mexican architect Mauricio Rocha at Teatro Vetra.
This year sees the French luxury house in a more poetic mood, with a softly coloured grid of glossy hues in the form of 150,000 zellige tiles created by specialists Mosaic del Sur and imported from Morocco, providing the backdrop to their new accessories, textiles and wallpapers. Taking place in Milan’s La Permanente museum it took Hermès three weeks to create what feels like a mini-village of seven pavilions of varying scales with doors and apertures creating dramatic lighting effects inside. The overarching theme is colour with exteriors and interiors tiled in two different shades; inside each one geometric blocks, chunky shelves, stairs, hooks and display stands exhibit the new pieces.
Louis Vuitton Objets Nomades, the collection of travel-inspired furniture and home pieces from the French fashion house, has a presence at every important design occasion, and during Salone it introduced a number of new items at the Civico Museo di Storia Naturale di Milano, including the Diamond Mirror by Marcel Wanders and the Ribbon Dance Chair by Andrè Fu. At Fiori Salone, it released Les Petits Nomades, a collection of decorative objects that features the colour-blocked Overlay Bowl by Patricia Urquiola.
A GLOBAL CELEBRATION OF TEXTILE CRAFT
For Loewe, creative director Jonathan Anderson teamed up with a series of artisans from across the globe to craft a range of large-scale tapestries, which were then woven at an atelier in the French town of Aubusson (which is known for splicing traditional craftsmanship with ultra-modern digital methods). Alongside this, the brand showcased a series of bohemian, super limited-edition tote bags which complemented the collection. While the blankets and tapestries will only be available upon request (and we suggest you go the the brand's website to see the entire set - it's stunning), the tote bags will be dropping into stores around the world soon. Not homeware strictly, of course, but they'll sure look good hanging by your front door.
WALL OF MIRRORS IN HISTORIC ITALIAN PALAZZO
The fashion label COS is no stranger to crowd-pleasing collaboration. Every year since 2012, the Swedish-owned, London-based chain has worked with an array of design talents, including Sou Fujimoto, Nendo and Snarkitecture, to construct a series of installations at Milan’s Salone del Mobile. Excitement around COS’ Milan projects increases exponentially with each new edition. Last year – as it unveiled an ephemeral, multi-sensorial experience by Studio Swine, based around a blossoming tree of mist-filled bubbles – that excitement ran to feverish. Sculptural, delicate and mesmerising, it was easily the brand’s most memorable effort to date.
For this year’s iteration, COS asked American artist Phillip K Smith III to join its creative roster. Smith, a light-based artist best known for his reflective outdoor installations set against expanses of desert landscape, has used his signature approach to magnify the architectural beauty of the 16th-century Palazzo Isimbardi – a virgin exhibition venue. Tucked within the palazzo’s open-air courtyard and amid its Italian Renaissance architecture, Smith’s arresting sculpture – a circular, mirrored structure angled at a 43 degree upward slant – draws the sky down into the courtyard in fractured, reflected fragments, which visitors can appreciate at close range. The work, titled Open Sky, not only marks the first time Smith has taken on a denser, urban setting, but also his first collaboration with a brand.
ALL ABOUT VEREDA
Marni took visitors on a trip to Colombia with its presentation this year, showing a collection of chairs, hammocks and objects d'art inspired by the country's small hamlet communities, known as Las Veredas. The result was a selection of items inspired by centuries-old weaving techniques with modern execution: metal and PVC loom chairs in bold, bright colours, rainbow hammocks, multi-shade plastic wicker baskets, playful objects d'art. Perhaps the thing that got people talking the most were the papier-mâché and bead chickens dotted throughout the venue - each unique and each taking four days to make, crafted by a community of women from those local communities.
THE BEAUTY OF BALANCE
When Bottega Veneta creative director Tomas Maier couldn't find furniture he liked for his home or stores, he decided to design his own.
From that first streamlined leather bench he created in 2006, Bottega Veneta's Home Collection has evolved into a full range of furnishings: from tables, lighting, sofas and beds to the cashmere blankets and cushions that adorn them. Bottega Home became so successful that in 2015 the Kering-owned company established a dedicated furniture atelier in the Veneto region, where it was founded half a century before.
"I like to give new ideas of how my client could create a living space," says Maier.
The high-ceilinged, beautifully be-frescoed 18th-century Palazzo Gallarati Scotti served as the launch space for a seriously modern item from Bottega Veneta: its first modular seating system, BV Tre. Designed by the brand's creative director Tomas Maier, it is not only modern in function (consisting of corner section, a single seat section and a pouf that can be configured in shape and added to suit your needs), but it is also modern in design, applying the homes instantly recognisable interlocking intrecciato design to the sides of its sleek, squared-off, Space Age sections.