The Kartell group that began with a splash in the 1960s and a 'fantastic plastic' manifesto that brought the industrial material into the home, released a colourful, durable and conceptually strong collection that was penned in collaboration with designers from around the world that Kartell describes as the 'most avant-garde'. The 2013 Kartell range was launched inside a series of 'boutiques' designed by Art Director Ferruccio Laviani and dedicated to each designer and their new collection, complete with logotypes to represent the most famous of luxury signatures. With a cool sense of irony and a nod to the exclusive Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan, the expansive installation highlighted how far Kartell has taken plastic – a place that is finer and more precious and light years' away from it's origins in the lab.
Kartell's 'best in show' included Japanese designers Nendo and Tokujin Yoshioka. Nendo's new bookcase, called Cliff, is made from modules of matt white and black polyethylene that allows individualisation and a playful modular approach to the sometimes static bookshelf. While Yoshioka produced the Sparkle stool and table that true to form flashes a brilliant iridescent light (think topaz and diamonds). It proved to be another great R&D challenge for the group and an example of how impressively far down the technology road Kartell is prepared to go with its designers.
Having formed a very fruitful relationship with the Kartell group over the past 5 years, Spanish designer/architect Patricia Urquiola appeared again this year with a new line of armchairs. The Clap armchair in a range of muted hues coordinated between the seat and the legs, joins the Foliage sofa and armchair of 2012 and the new rocking version of the very popular Comback Chair.
Another regular, Philippe Starck, introduced a new family called Aunts and Uncles for indoors and out that includes the Uncle Jack sofa, the Uncle Jim armchair, the Uncle Jo chair, the Aunt Jamy table and the Aunt Maggy console. Exploring both formal and functional innovation. the Uncle Jack sofa is made of transparent polycarbonate and takes Kartell's daring in single-mould transparent polycarbonate injection technology to new heights.
While fellow French designer Christophe Pillet joined Kartell for the first time. His elegant line of mix-and-match vases and bowls, called Shibuya, are beautiful colour and form combinations in transparent PMMA with a perforated lid that allows the transition from vase to bowl to table centre.