Smart Cities 2020

Smart Cities 2020

Friday, 29 April 2016

Salone Del Mobile 2016, Part B- Residences et al., Chapter 3: STANZE: ROOMS. Novel Living Concepts…The Exhibition.

Image above: detail of URSUS, by Duilio Forte at STANZE: ROOMS. Novel Living Concepts, XXI Triennale International Exhibition 2016, from 2/4/2016 to 12/9/2016, in Milan, Italy.  

 “…DUILIO FORTE sees architecture primarily as a highly skilled and imaginative practice. His house, which grew over the years like a termite mound of original and wacky objects and solutions, all built with his own hands, is the synthesis of his creative fantasy. His project absolutely had to be associated with the books that have re-evaluated the craftsmanship aspect of homo faber, even from a highly technological perspective, such as 3D printing which enables all kinds of products to be designed and manufactured at a distance: Richard Sennet, The Craftsman (2008) – and also Stefano Micelli, Futuro Artigiano (2011); and Chris Anderson, Makers: The New Industrial Revolution (2012).”…

It seems that it is not just a trend or a temporary measure. Strong evidence shows that Interior Architecture is destined to be the dominant discipline of the future in design- incorporating new technologies and new living standards. The exhibition Stanze. Altre  filosofie dell’abitare  (in English: Rooms. Novel living concepts ) is one of the leading manifestations, in which the Salone Del Mobile 2016 is liaising with XXI Triennale International  Exhibition 2016- and also a definite turning point, in regards to what will follow the upcoming years. We will deal with what IS LEFT for us to develop- and  with a building sector reluctant to (more) extravagance. There will be REFORM- in every sector of our society and the primal one is the space we live.  Eleven prominent Italian architects present a series of habitat concepts, entitled to host the human existence and its many needs and current complexities. A fascinating narrative orchestrated with virtuosity and wisdom by curator Beppe Finessi- and designed with rhythm and stealth by architect Gianni Filindeu  (exhibition design) and communication designer Leonardo Sonnoli (graphic design).  

Visitors enter and walk through a series of rooms, each designed by a different Architect-Author. Umberto Riva, Alessandro Mendini, Lazzarini e Pickering, Manolo De Giorgi, Marta Laudani and Marco Romanelli, Andrea  Anastasio, Fabio Novembre, Duilio Forte, Elisabetta Terragni, Carlo Ratti and Francesco Librizzi, illustrate their living concepts and philosophies under those titles respectively: Proposition for a Bolt Hole- My Prisons- La Vie en rose- Round and Round- The Absence of Presence- Resonances- INTRO- Ursus- Putting Things into Perspective- Pin Room- D1. Discovering the Domestic Space . Each of the authors formulate their own room Quest-ions and philosopher Francesco M. Cataluccio  has selected literary and philosophical reference texts for each project.

The so-many topics for discussion and the various issues raised out of these proposals, consist a list of the quintessential themes in contemporary living: Is the person or his/her residence the center of study? Meta-humanism is appealing? Should everything be taken for granted in interior architecture today? What does Inhabiting a Space means these days? A home is planned as our personal scenography of object hoarding? Or it is a new type of bunker or bank Safe? Is a house a remote destination from urbanity- a sanctuary? A set of furniture in use or One Unit/Module that can be shaped and reproduced  for (any) use? What is the domestic “Internet of things”? How  dangerous it is for an architect to be involved in Interior design? Is interior design a delicate and complex procedure, when it comes to the resident?

Extracts from the STANZE experience:
…“For a long time, forever in fact, I have felt as though I were living shut inside a prison. Serving a life sentence for the crime of “ornamentation”. I find myself in an introverted room,  a blockaded perimeter, an insurmountable mental space. Small yet also enormous, completely confined, in any event. My ideas, my style, my atmosphere, my mirage: everything is in there. It is the isolation cell inside a romantic and privileged Alcatraz. Imprisoned by nightmares, by torture, by hallucinations, by the abyss of decoration.  It’s like the methodical self-building of walls and surfaces destined to deny me my freedom.  I often think about ABET laminate. It was the first material I fell in love with. Cold, flat, high-tech, geometrical, amorphous yet erotic, up for anything, prepared to lose and make me lose our purity. 

My conventions, my desires have smoothed it, painted it, stroked it, illuminated it, polished it and softened it. Laminate seduced me so completely that it must have been the source of the decorative obsession with infinite signs, styles and colors that wrapped me ever more firmly inside the cocoon of my sins, my terrible thirst for ornamentation. If I try to locate the true, distant beginning of my design life sentence, of my prisons, I find it in the emptiness of the drawings produced by hand or on the computer, above the superficiality of the surfaces, not in the depth of space and form.”…. 

Alessandro Mendini, My Prisons (see photo bellow)

"The CARLO RATTI ASSOCIATI practice has designed a space that shows off technology at its most practical: a platform of soft pins that can rise up and reconfigure the space in a potentially infinite number of combinations- the Pin Room. Each of its components (pixels turned matter) allows us to literally manipulate the physical universe and transform it, each time into the “best of all possible tangible worlds.” (see photo bellow)

”This is a proposal for a place in which to isolate oneself.  My thoughts immediately flew to the Cabanon designed by Le Corbusier in a pine forest on the Cote d’Azur where he spent the summer months during the latter part of his life. The project consists of a small completely self sufficient room (13m2), in which the spaces and utilities have been pared down to a minimum. An exploration of Existenz  Minimum, in which the relationship between the person and the internal space is the most important and delicate consideration of all. A room of monastic rigour, in which the light, the materials and the design of the furnishings assume the most important role.”… 
Umberto Riva – Proposition for a Bolt Hole (see photos bellow) (3)

 "The famous novel by Czech writer Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984) informs FABIO NOVEMBRE’s project, INTRO. Existence and the short and long-term choices we all make are totally irrelevant, according to Kundera: this is where their unbearableness resides. The only thing man should be able to say about existence, in order to give it meaning, is that it is a Necessity. Not by chance the novel opens with a reflection on the “Eternal Recurrence”, which represents the desire to impress Necessities on our lives. Novembre’s room is a kind of head, which of necessity and ironically carries architecture over into the shapes of the body and the room into to the head, with its perfectly habitable cavities." (see photo bellow)

 …”When organising internal spaces our time is spent debating alternative dichotomies between revealing and concealing, or rather between presence and absence, and between “gymnasium” and “stage set”. Homes are not merely machines ΰ habiter, but stages on which our daily lives are played out. This duality conceals the “raw nerve” of C21st design. Machines ΰ habiter actually make for perfect distribution, carefully evaluated climate conditions and generous fixed furnishing systems. “Stages for daily life” serve to show off objects and materials that demonstrate how far we have come financially and culturally: from large screen televisions to original paintings, from large amounts of books to elegant drawing rooms still covered with plastic, from hydromassage tubs to brass-effect finishings, from hyper-technological kitchens to mega sofas.
People throughout the ages have attributed specific “powers of representation” to different and particular objects. This therefore means that when tackling a design for a “novel living concept”, the value of “absences” needs to be explored. It is no longer simply a matter of modifying the “presences” in terms of taste and culture, but of building a room to be lived as an “absence” (an empty space for coming and going and for contemplating works of art). The “presence” will return, transformed into experiences for “lone” activation within well defined areas, earmarked for different human activities: reading a book, getting undressed or eating.
This is a project that does not simply aesthetically valorise the concept of emptiness, but is driven by different “contemporary family” structures. Families made up of individuals all of whom have reached adulthood but who, out of necessity, continue to live together, or unrelated people required to share a space, for instance. Within these nuclei, each person needs to create their own intimacy, their own story, their own “one man tent”.
Marta Laudani and Marco Romanelli The Absence of Presence (Collaborators: Stefano Ragazzo and Giorgio Bonaguro) (see photo bellow)

For detailed presentations, videos and access information to this pivotal, beyond- homemaking, international event -gathering important visions, opinions and comments on the Future Residence subject- please follow the links of the exhibition’s contributors: 

Explore unknown energies, undiscovered possibilities. Walk through the ROOMS… and happy design thinking!


Tuesday, 19 April 2016

SALONE DEL MOBILE 2016: The Highlights of New, WOW Doctrines in design.

Picture above: The Bosch principal, “Home Connect makes your everyday life easier”.

“Come to the 55th year of wow in design.” That was this year’s moto–ever so popular since last summer- at the 55th edition of Salone del Mobile in Milan, Italy. And it certainly gave justice to all actions, happenings, events , exhibitions, lectures and testimonials that took place this amazing week , from the 12th to the 17th of April. Some of the tags at the fair’s introductory video, meant to orient right to  the essence of the event: “Beyond the object-Sound proof- Let there be light- Poetically simple- Technological evolution- Revolutionary directions- Alternative materials-  Art world- Complexity of execution- Material as value – Lighting speaks to us- Artisan input- Simplification- Rigor becomes Poetry- Sophisticated and Specialist- Complex structured and technologically high- Art work basins- Luxury and sensuality-Wealth of materials- Shower plus- Timeless places- Modern Utopias- The Past is iconic model- Ethnic- Typological invention- Sophisticated attention to material- Nordic Minimalism”.

The features that made the heavier impact was evidently in the FTK (Future Technology for the Kitchen) area. The opening act at IMM this year 2016 has defined the evolution of the new dogma- present, complete and articulated in the Salone: “Home is where your App is”.”Home Connect”. Siemens, Bosch, Miele, Neff, Smeg  counterparted their technological expertise in this New Epoch of home appliances : “household equipment connected to an App and transform the mobile device of the user into a remote control” (Smeg). Miele’s Invisible Kitchen promises networked, convenient an inconceivable cooking. Time, energy and money-saver, revolutionary for citizens with a handicap or limited mobility, great for hospitals and public function units. Italy opposed Germany with its stronger competitor in the field, strategically placed in the same pavilion corridor: Smeg added more to the established principal, showcasing  a humane, sustainable and art-work designed equipment, exhibited in a stand  surrounded with real jasmine bushes- on top with the presentation of the Dolce Stil Novo line of fridges , phenomenally art directed by Dolce and Gabbana. 

The overall impression was so fascinating , as a shortcut of the movie Batman VS Superman. The two biggest and oldest technology and design forces in Europe- the Italian and the German school- playing their game on the same pitch. It is up to the market and the global economy unpredictable factors to tell which player’s approach will dominate finally in this new Sector, combining network technology and domestic appliances.

From top to bottom: Shortcuts from the Smeg (3), Miele and Siemens products, stands and presentations.

Space &Interiors: Details for Architecture  exhibition this year in the Salone is the key-event linking the design professionals with the strong core of the companies, specializing in different areas of the construction-building  trade. A total Urban Exercise , designed as a high street promenade- with a garden roof top : at the Mall, Porta Nuova, Milan. The extremely elegant and clever exhibition design of prominent architects Ico Migliore and  Mara Servetto- escapes greatly  the usual blue-collar aesthetics in similar corporate exhibitions: here you have a fluid, organic navigation, with minimal wood benches to rest, a front library, an end-refreshment space and in between high blocks with niches for the interior Architecture scale models made by students of the Milan Polytechnic University (Politecnico of Milan)- the white blocks serve also as projection screens for beautiful graphs directing to the exhibitor ‘s side stand and its items. Space & Interiors feels safe and pleasant like home and it has better to do so. The whole attempt is an experiment for a new commercial platform , selling components and materials to build houses after all.

“…A permeable space to cross, consult and observe that will help reconsider the fundamental role of finishes and components within the definition of the quality and the identity of our dwelling…”(Ico Migliore e Mara Servetto, MIGLIORE + SERVETTO ARCHITECTS).

From top to bottom: The Mandelli company (est.1953) amazing door handles projection on the white block net (3). In detail the small cabinets with the architectural models, made by students. Another fascinating project designed by Migliore+Servetto Architects; the B&B Italia- The Perfect Density exhibition, one of the cultural manifestations at the Triennale di Milano this year.


The Salone is organizing its first venture in Shanghai, China this November 2016 but that did not stop thousand of Chinese trade operators from visiting the fair this year in Milan- strolling down those (red) corridors… There is no Chinese representation again this year at the Salone, since the 22nd China International Furniture Expo will take place this September (:the poster has NO difference with 2015 -apart from the year , remember :cost is more important than creativity;-)), so the copy-paste Chinese patrols intruded discreetly again the event  at the Rho Fairgrounds. That does not mean in any way that there is not a flow of Asian young designers of insurmountable talent, providing exquisite pieces of work in the Salone Satellite 2016 exhibition and in the 21st Century. Design After Design Triennale International Exhibition.
The [Re]:illumination+Ongozaksin and the Material/Material catalogs of works for textile and furniture art respectively- by the graduates of Sangmyung University in Seoul, Korea ,the alamak!Design in Asia collective AND the Seoul National University (SNU) Design cluster of young designers- demonstrate a unique and fresh vision for the future generation of designers/users/consumers. Please explore the following  links and some of  the makers’ e-mails, this is undoubtedly  the Way of the Future. 

From top to bottom: 22nd China International Furniture Expo Poster 2016. Corona light object (Yun Jin, Kim Yoseong, Park Insung, Kang Shikun, Matias Martin Jeon: Sangmyung Univ.). NEBBIA Interactive Light (nbt.Studio, Taiwan: alamak!). I AM A MONUMENT-CCTV (Naihan Li, China: alamak!). Bori Throne- 2nd chair at the back (Gunjan Gupta, India: alamak!). A perspective view of the SNU Design stand where appearing works of Song Kijoung and Woo Jiyoun.

Last but not least, absolutely note-worthy Salone Satellite presence : the intense product design of Ekaterina Lyubimova (Moscow, Russia). Tables and armchairs you never forget to use and you never ignore to try.

In the Furniture sector of the Salone the neutral presence of German companies was overshadowed mainly by the Latinos- Italy, Spain, Brazil, Portugal-the latter thriving with energy in their natural habitat- alongside with the Swedish, the Japanese and the Vitra pavilions sharing equally the good vibes of non-stop visitors influx. The business of Sleep goes further post-IMM and flourishes-on , with  presences from Greece, (:remember Sleep products continue to rise in terms of sales- Sleep is an expanding business due to the increase of 24/7 professions according to Sensorial Trend analyst Zuzanna Skalska). The Turkish furniture contribution completed the general image of the Salone stands without repercussions. 

From top to bottom: Brühl. Zeitraum. Thonet. Missoni. Cassina. Plank. Magis. Diesel. A Lot of Brasil. Swedish Design Goes Milan (2). Karimoku (2). Vitra. N Design.

“…The Future is a choice. Cassina’s future lies in the renewal of continuity, a dynamic process which involves the mutation of original forms, an evolution of an idea, the influence of a classic….”Cassina, extract of the Origins of the Future exhibition manifesto , Cassina HQ, 16 via Durini, Milan.

If the Space & Interiors represents the NOW and it introduces the tools to make It, the two other main coordinates of the Salone 2016 - the Before Design:Classic.Tradizione Nel futuro and the 21st Century.Design After Design exhibitions- support the notions of Yester Time  and the broad horizon of Tomorrow, respectively. Two endeavors that attracted international attention and recognition- not in vain. The way we assemble and use the remnants of our culture with no nostalgic tendency - how we embrace the future possibilities , utilizing all of knowledge and existing practices by re-crafting and discovering; all three initiatives fortified a foundation for growth and create a solid hub of creative solutions, to many troubling social issues of our times. Times that we need restorers, healers and inventors.

From top to bottom: Convivium: marble table Top by CC STONE, video installation by Change Performing Arts and Ciarmoli Queda Studio, (Before Design Classic). Hall of Shadows: Pegaso armchair T2065 by TURRI, fabric Kotakot Black and Sassy Ivory by DEDAR ( Before Design Classic). Hall of  Liberty :from left to right: armchair Carlo Zen 9255 by P& G CUGINI LANZANI , cabinet, Emile Gallé 7194 by P& G CUGINI LANZANI, armchair 9304 by P& G CUGINI LANZANI, armchair 0919 by MEDEA (Before Design Classic). Design After Design booklet:The Only Design You will ever need in your Life by Max Siedentopf, illustration Bart Eysink Smeets (3). Fabio Cammarata neck piece, Avant-Craft section: Brilliant!The Futures of Italian Jewellery. Redesign Your School (3). Women in Italian Design: Interweave.

They were utterly missed in this year’s Salone edition : Euroluce and Workplace 3.0! Until 2017 feast our eyes on the Artemide open house 2016 catalog presentation and the Workplace 3.0 announcing  installation at the fair premises…

From top to bottom: Artemide new products and collaborations, Artemide HQ , 12 via Manzoni, Milan. A Joyful Sense at Work: Workplace 3.0 installation.  

Something last, as a praise to Italian hospitality and comfort. The abundance of services for the Press and the visitors this year, was equivalent of personal care by a family member. In hard times like these, when committees decide upon committees  on the disposition of very basic privileges- the Salone teams treated us with warmth, professionalism and respect. That has to be acknowledged and for that we are expressing  our gratitude.

If you wish to acquire specific info on press kits and activities of the companies and events mentioned above –please do not hesitate to contact the administrator;-)). Enjoy and anticipate for next year, when the Salone will be once again ready to push the boundaries of the Design Known World.

Ci vediamo di nuovo-Arrivederci

ps. Don’t miss out the next post on the 31st of April, related to the Salone del Mobile 2016: Residences et al. Chapter 3: ROOMS. Novel  living concepts.  !!!