In the design world, a nation could be marketed as a brand, especially those with strong identities.
Scandinavian countries have long and outstanding design traditions. At the Fairgrounds, the Consulate General of Denmark in Milan organized a Danish Living Room that showed how good Danish design shapes Danish life-style. It featured brilliant works by old masters as well as young emerging talents.
|Danish Living Room with iconic Poul Henningsen lamps|
|Next to Arne Jacobsen’s Egg Chair, of course that coffee table book|
|Acapulco and Condesa chairs and the Bam Bam table by OK Design|
The arts Council of Finland put up the “Take Nord Shape” pavilion in the garden of the Triennale di Milano. The protagonist was an innovative exterior material called Graphic Concrete, developed by Finnish architect Samuli Naamanka. The patented technique is basically to apply printed retarder on the formwork and then wash away the unhardened part. This creates a thin relief that exposes fine aggregate surfaces in contrast to the smooth fair-face. Inside the pavilion, lamps, chairs and tableware designed by Naamanka were on display.
|Finland’s “Take Nord Shape” pavilion|
|Various patterns of Graphic Concrete on the pavilion|
|Products by Samuli Naamanka were on display inside|
Also at the Triennale, “Belgium is Design” presents Perspectives, an exhibition showcasing the new developments in Belgian design. The large Lichtbed designed by 51N4E took the center of the stage. But the most eye-catching was Maarten de Ceulaer’s Mutation series. The blue bubbly sofa looked like grown from some sort of chemical reaction. In fact, it was the result of carefully composing foam sphere cut-offs into patterns and applying them onto a structure. More Mutations were on show at Spazio Rossana Orlandi.
|A van outside of the main entrance gave away free drinks to visitors|
|Belgium is Design Perspectives|
|Lichtbed by 51N4E|
|Overdose desk by Bram Boo|
|Algue lamps by Xavier Lust|
|Mutation sofa by Maarten de Ceulaer|
|Mutation series at Spazio Rossana Orlandi|
In Brera, Advantage Austria – the Austrian Chamber of Foreign Trade – organized a large exhibition “Austrian Design: Raw & Delicate” at La Pelota. Austrian designer Pudelskern successfully translated the title into an exhibition design that combined living trees and delicately knitted light columns to create an immersive atmosphere of a light flooded mystical forest. The design pieces from 51 exhibitors were carefully arranged within this dimly-lit oasis.
|“Austrian Design: Raw & Delicate” at La Pelota, Brera|
|Products displayed under light columns|
|Pudelskern’s Hot Milky Star fireplace can be seen in the middle|
|Schindel lamp by Patrick Streitler on the left|
|Pearl Light by Polka like a blown-up necklace hung on a tree|
|Trash Cube seats and pots by Nicolas le Moigne, made of Eternit fiber cement|
|Wave concrete tub by Philipp Bruni for Keel Design|
From the other side of the globe, Chile had a small but impressive presence at the SaloneSatellite. Designers used local materials such as wood and wicker for lamps, tables, shelves, with interesting shapes and special connectors.
|Cracked Shelf System by Great Things to People (gt2P)|
Brazil may probably be the only country who could get away with putting loud music in their exhibitions. Just right off Piazza Duomo, the Brazil S/A show at Palazzo Giureconsulti made visitors want to dance. But Brazilian passion is far more than Samba. Consisting of multiple individual exhibitions, Brazil A/S showed the wide spectrum of Brazilian design practices, based on traditional cultural roots as well as contemporary materials and technology.
|The lounge with Brastemp’s Retro refrigerators|
|This is a Brazilian flag!|
|Light Anemones by Tina and Lui|
|The Embroidery Line by Tina and Lui|
|Flower armchair by Eulália Anselmo|
I was glad to see also an exhibition on Estúdio Manus, A Gente Transforma (AGT), and Renato Imbroisi, whose work reused and reinvented local materials, forms, and craftsmanship. Collaborating with local artisans, they created curious straw baskets and elegant fabrics with a nice vernacular touch.
|Toca da Palha (carnauba straw baskets) by AGT|
|Hand-made fabric by Renato Imbroisi and artisans|