Blog: LWSY in Milan – Part 1

LWSY Milan

The second week of April is perhaps the biggest Design Week for the furniture & lighting world. I overheard that 300,000+ people descend on Milan for this particular fair, which means you have to book your flights & accommodation months in advance. Maison et Objet (twice yearly design fair in Paris) is practically a walk in the park compared to the 20+ halls at the yearly iSaloni. Held in this purpose built fortress of interconnecting halls, unless you plan your days, you only have yourself to blame when you don’t make it round in time. I had 4 days to conquer not only the iSaloni held in this out of town location but all the the other pop-up exhibitions, installations and showrooms dotted all over town. LWSY was on a mission. Day 1 was planned & and I was hitting the iSaloni first. Slowly trying to bypass how incredibly tired I was having to wake at 3.30am for the first flight of the day & complete with highlighted map & route, list of all the suppliers and manufacturers I needed to see, plus my golden ticket of a pre-bought pass. I was on my way. Oh that smug feeling of by-passing the queues of people registering for tickets. Right, ready. Ah, suitcase, where do we put that then…

Knoll Studio in Milan

Luggage issue sorted, I head through the stalls. The halls are arranged by style. If you are looking for over the top, you hit halls 1-3, but style conscious designers beware, some of these brands might hurt your eyes with their over the top gilded three-piece suites and Marie Antoinette style replica furniture. This place really does cater for all tastes so be aware of what you want to see & choose your halls accordingly. Euroluce, which is held in halls 9,11,13 & 15 is the international benchmark fair for all things lighting. These are dedicated halls for lighting. My favourite designer Michael Anastassiades presented his new pieces & also his collaboration with Flos. Lampe Gras shared a hall with Bocci, Orsjo & Bestlite & there was also the opportunity to discover brands I’d not heard of before. This however, I was saving for later. 

My first stop of the day though was to get myself to Halls 16-20. Full of all my favourite brands, Gufram, Knoll, Mater, BD Barcelona, PP Mobler, Arper & Emmemobili. I wanted to share my day by day account of what really caught my eye over the few days I spent in Milan. I discovered some new brands, had the opportunity to view collections I’ve admired online & spotted the a few familiar faces along the way…

Emmemobili

Emmemobilia relatively new brand to me, was founded way back in 1879. It is now cared for by it’s original founders fourth generation family. With a host of incredible designers under their belt designing some of the most cleverly woodcrafted pieces, Ferruccio Laviani, Evenij Poliantsev & Carlo Colombo are three designers who’s pieces caught my eye. Two particularly favourite pieces which are taking a virtual place in my dream home is the Twaya table by Laviani above & the colourful Arlequin cabinet below.

Emmemobili

LWSY at Diesel for Moroso

Outside the Diesel for Moroso stand.

Dark Lady by Gufram

Have you heard of Gufram? Do you recognise this sofa? This Italian brand make and distribute furniture designs from 40 years ago to the present day. The Dark Lady above was designed by Studio 65. A design developed from the original Bocca sofa, the red lips sofa which was inspired from the 1935 portrait of Mae West by Surrealist Salvador Dalí. Do you remember the red lips sofa that sits in the lobby of the Sanderson Hotel in London? It’s a bit of a gothic throwback, a mark to the transgressive interpretation of rock spirit. An oversized lip piercing clunking to the floor. Below is another piece called Summertime by Valerio Berruti. A new design for Gufram, it’s quite a peculiar piece to sit on, part park bench but it’s in fact very squashy, sponge like, & made from a ‘top secret’ new material. Summertime wouldn’t have looked out of place in an Established & Sons exhibition. It is just being produced in a limited run of 250 pieces. 

Gufram

Gufram

It’s lunchtime & time to meet up with my two friends. Where do I find them but the Veuve Clicquot Airstream…

Lunch at the VC Airstream

Back to the halls for my afternoon appointments, I headed over to Arper, an Italian brand, and at only 10 years  old, this brand is already rivalling the likes of Vitra & Knoll who have decades more experience than Arper. I particularly liked the children’s furniture presented here. One of my favourite stands in it’s hall, beautifully designed & styled.

Arper

Arper

Emeco presented a new collection called The Parrish Collection. A collaboration between Emeco & Konstantin Grcic. This was the first look at the new collection designed for the Herzog & de Meuron designed Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York which opened in 2012. You can see the modest exterior of the museum in the image below, the chairs and tables designed for the museum have a subtle similarity. A technical core, modest in style & materials. Grcic is one of the most innovative & original industrial designers of today & he’s probably just designed a future classic. I wish i’d sat on one though, can’t see the comfort factor in it personally. Beautiful lines though.

Emeco

Front for Moroso

Front is a design trio made up of three Swedish designers, Sofia Lagerkvist, Charlotte von der Lancken & Anna Lindgren. This Doodle sofa for Moroso has always been a bit of a favourite. Oh, and the doodles are the girls doodles from their studio. Sweet.

Detail of Front Sofa for Moroso

Mater at Milan 2013

Mater are one of my proud finds at the Stockholm Furniture Fair. I spotted their bar stools in the hotel Das Stue in Berlin. I had a bit of a bingo moment when I spotted them a few months ago, after I’d been trying to identify the stools from Das Stue. With a little stand proudly sandwiched next to PP Mobler & One Collection, Mater are one to watch…

Missoni for Artifort

Missoni for Artifort. Jumpers for chairs.

Orange Slice by Pierre Paulin

Orange Slice by Pierre Paulin

NHOW Hotel Milan

Finally the end of day one, well nearly. Time to check into the hotel on via Tortona. All planned so that day two can start off on foot. With just a moments walk over to Designersblock, Beijing Design Week & Moooi the next morning, my one last challenge of the day was to get to find a restaurant. I may have planned my days but somehow forgot how every single restaurant is fully booked for an entire week. Back to the hotel, for a quick write up, then sleep. Ah sleep… Coming next, day two in Milan. Featuring Moooi on via Tortona, Spazio Rossana Orlandi, MOST Salone, Edit at Designjunction & Designersblock…

Images: LWSY

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