Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Report Milano 3 - Staging Design

The Salone del Mobile itself (50th anniversary this year) is housed in the Fuksas designed Fiera Milano, occupying 20 halls (200,000 m2) of the giant compound. Over 2,500 exhibitors from all over the world try their best to organize their most recent design products within carefully-designed stands. Build the stage, and... showtime!

Staging design has a lot to do with the arrangement of things - in this case particularly, chairs. You can stack them up "casually" (Quinze & Milan), make them fly over like a flock of birds (Brunner), or make them into a screen wall (Alias).

Magis displays its collection on platforms hung from the ceiling with transparent wires. Dominated in white, the space gives you an incredible sense of elegance and lightness.

In addition to putting the things in the right place, efforts are also made to get the atmosphere right. It can be some books, some tree-like canopies, or a big screen.

The Lago stand has an airy inner courtyard with pebbles and umbrellas. You can see the collection around the space, or just sit down and chill in a refreshing, almost outdoor atmosphere, watching other people look at things. In a more relaxed way, you stay longer and start to learn more about how the products work.

Some of the stands take on an "urban" strategy. Pianca slices its stand to create cross streets, and the edges of the raised boxes provide seating. Vitra and Lema have the similar idea to make village-like clusters, with a central "plaza" for information and reception. Desalto's setting by Paola Navone takes on a form in between an object and/or a passageway.

Elsewhere in the city, showrooms also stage special events. Moroso in Brera presents Tokujin Yoshioka's Moon chair with his own design of the setting. Called Twilight, the installation comprised artificial mist in the air with beams of light penetrating through. Nature is powerful and mysterious. We should know it more vividly now.

The most fascinating display should be InterfaceFLOR's "The Positive Floor" at the Triennale Museum, developed by Milan-based designer Francesco Maria Bandini. The room is filled with white prism columns, forming a labyrinth that seems like a huge mass cracked apart. These prisms are taller than a person, so the carpets with vibrant colors on top can only be seen as reflections on the mirrored ceiling. As visitors move through the maze, they have to look up. And the colorful carpets almost act like a compass, giving orientations from the top of the head. A physical journey is turned into the surreal - another reality on another level, which finally reveals itself when visitors ascend the stairs embedded in one of the last prisms.

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