So what can we expect to see at the Salone del Mobile in 2012 – the world's largest gathering of designers, buyers, media and manufacturers that happens rain or shine each April? After a somewhat explosive 2010, maybe remembered internationally for the entrapment of thousands by the Icelandic volcano, 2011 was a year of consolidation and reflection on the back of a slowing European economy that saw manufacturers taking cautious steps, perhaps for the better of the collections released. Design houses including B&B Italia, Vitra, Foscarini and Kartell produced smaller, stronger and more considered collections with some of the design world's greats, including the re-release of archival pieces by Joe Colombo and Jean Michel-Frank in a nostalgic nod to the past as the Milan Furniture Fair marked half a century.
This year the fifty-first Milan Furniture Fair launches on April 17 and runs until April 22. Here we look at what B&B Italia, Edra and Foscarini have in store for us... and we will continue to report as more news is released.
No confirmed news yet on who B&B Italia is working with this year, although it's a given that Antonio Citterio will be there, Patricia Urquiola and Jeffrey Bernett. However it is confirmed that the design focus will be on storage systems for the living area, together with a range of compact seats and other complements to enhance the living room. Upholstered seating launched in Cologne, including the Michel modular seating system and an enlarged range of the Frank, Luis and Ray sofas, will be on show, in addition to new versions of the armchairs JJ and Mart. Also a new version of Athos, B&B Italia's best selling table for the last ten years. The collections will be on show at Via Durini in Milan, with new pieces for the B&B Italia Outdoor collection presented at Fiera Milano, Rho.
For Edra, 2012 is a special year marking a quarter of a century since its founding in 1987. Valerio and Monica Mazzei, along with art director Massimo Morozzi, have decided to celebrate Edra’s 25th anniversary in two prestigious locations.
The first event will be staged at the Salone del Mobile in Milan (Fiera Milano, Rho) and will feature three new Edra products – two armchairs including Sfatto by Francesco Binfaré and Cipria by the Campana Brothers, and a system of containers called Bois de Rose designed by Massimo Morozzi. ‘Framing’ these new products on the Edra stand will be a towering frieze of more than 100 metres in length bearing photographs following the history of the company.
The second installation will be hosted at the Edra showroom on Via Ciovassino in the Brera quarter of Milan. Here, the focus is on Edra’s first twenty-five years and will be represented by a single product typology – the armchair. Twenty-five armchairs raised like sculptures on pedestals will narrate the trailblazing history of Edra. After several years steering art direction, this year also marks Massimo Morozzi’s return to hands-on design so it is going to be a very exciting time for Edra.
In its series of immersive light and film installations that have become an annual highlight at the Milan Furniture Fair, this year Foscarini will launch 'Inspire' (render above) a new project by Vicente Garcia Jimenez at Superstudio Più.
With a set designed by Vicente Garcia Jimenez, framed with a video by Massimo Gardone, fragments of images and sounds will be taken apart and put back together to tell the creative story behind every Foscarini project via the visual world of nature – water droplets, an eclipse, an explosion, a gust of wind, blades of grass swaying in the breeze and the North Sea in a storm. Immersed in a natural world, visitors can look forward to the Foscarini 'path of discovery' marked by the sounds of nature and Foscarini's most famous and significant projects taking shape.
No news yet on the full lighting collection to be released by Foscarini this year, however they have revealed there will be four new pieces including a chandelier designed by Ludovica & Roberto Palomba called Birdie, described as 'unfolding its wings in a new expression in the air'.