One of the most popular places to visit during Milan Design Week is the B&B Italia showroom at via Durini in Milan’s Brera district. For the first time this year the group also showed at the fairground, taking part in a new partnership with lighting brands Flos and Louis Poulsen called Design Holding.

One of the most popular places to visit during Milan Design Week is the B&B Italia showroom at via Durini in Milan’s Brera district. For the first time this year the group also showed at the fairground, taking part in a new partnership with lighting brands Flos and Louis Poulsen called Design Holding.

From a technology collaboration between Philippe Starck, Kartell and software company Autodesk that resulted in the A.I. chair that Starck says is “the first chair designed outside of our brain, outside of our habits of thought”, to installations and new products made of bioplastic, this year at Milan Design Week furniture collections were peppered with new thinking and manufacturing processes to the tune of changing technologies and environmental responsibility.

Patricia Urquiola at Cassina with the Elling Buffet designed by Gerrit T. Rietveld.

Patricia Urquiola at Cassina with the Elling Buffet designed by Gerrit T. Rietveld.

It was also another year of looking back at the design archives for historical cues: from 19th century Art Nouveau influences seen in the curved detailing, layered veneers and glass patterning at Glas Italia, Maxalto, Porro and Roll & Hill, to Cassina's use of opulent colours: deep reds, greens and blues – with the leading colours for the year indigo blue and sage green, joined by the natural finish of nubuk leather.

Craftsmanship was in full focus too. Working under the art direction of Patricia Urquiola, Cassina introduced the Elling Buffet designed by Gerrit T. Rietveld, and the Chandigarh collection, designed by Pierre Jeanneret, that rounded out a collection that was historically rich and yet contemporary as ever. While at B&B Italia Antonio Citterio guided a collection that has reintroduced the iconic Diesis sofa designed by Vico Magistretti in the 1970s, and celebrated the 50th birthday of the UP Series by Gaetano Pesce.

And the busiest designers this year… well Piero Lissoni, Patricia Urquiola, Michael Anastassiades were standouts from B&B Italia to Cassina, Living Divani, Glas Italia, Porro and Kartell. While Australian designers shone at Local Design and SP01 where amongst other highlights, Tom Fereday launched a new outdoor collection for the Australian design brand.

With all the insights from the Space team on the ground, more space takes a look at the highlights, design directions and best new releases from the design world’s biggest event of the year – Milan Design Week 2019!





The Elling Buffet designed by
Gerrit T. Rietveld and the Chandigarh collection by Pierre Jeanneret for Cassina

Celebrating the Bauhaus school and its 100th anniversary this year. Cassina has further highlighted the historical importance of Modernism within the collection by introducing the Elling Buffet sideboard designed by Gerrit T. Rietveld in 1923 – the piece described by Patricia Urquiola as “the jewel” in the collection. The sideboard will now be produced by Cassina at its historical carpentry workshop in Meda in collaboration with the Rietveld heirs.

While four pieces by Pierre Jeanneret – a chair, an armchair, a chair with armrests, and a table – have been produced by Cassina to celebrate the designer’s work in Chandigarh, India, during the 1950s. It is a project that carries on Cassina’s dedication to reinstating significant projects. Working in collaboration with the Fondation Le Corbusier the company is demonstrating its dedication to research and provenance, and its ability to carefully translate that knowledge into contemporary products that carry on the legacy.

The Elling Buffet designed by Gerrit T. Rietveld and now part of the Cassina collection.

The Elling Buffet designed by Gerrit T. Rietveld and now part of the Cassina collection.

The Chandigarh collection was first designed by Pierre Jeanneret in the 1950s for key government buildings within the Indian city that is now a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site.

The Chandigarh collection was first designed by Pierre Jeanneret in the 1950s for key government buildings within the Indian city that is now a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site.

A.I. designed by Philippe Starck and the Componibili in bioplastic for Kartell

This year Kartell’s interactions with technology have in their words, "stepped up a notch". Launching the A.I. chair described as the first design object conceived by artificial intelligence, the design was created in response to a brief from designer Philippe Starck and Kartell: a comfortable chair with the structural strength and solidity requirements to ensure certification and respect aesthetic standards of simplicity and clean lines, and developed using an algorithm within Autodesk's 3D software. Described as the fruit of collaboration between artificial intelligence and human intelligence in what Starck calls “Natural Intelligence”, it will be interesting to watch where this software heads next.

A.I. is the first chair designed outside of our brain, outside of our habits of thought.
— Philippe Starck
The Be bop chair designed by Ludovica and Roberto Palomba for Kartell.

The Be bop chair designed by Ludovica and Roberto Palomba for Kartell.

Celebrating its 70th anniversary during Milan Design Week with the exhibition “The Art Side of Kartell”, curators Ferruccio Laviani and Rita Selvaggio unveiled the show inside the famous Appartamento dei Principi in Milan’s Palazzo Reale. The dialogue between art and design is a theme Kartell has nurtured over seven decades and this became the narrative for the show. Eleven rooms ‘dressed’ with past and present designs came to life across large film projections and within semantic stories, with research, innovation, and revolutionary processes of technology charting Kartell’s domestic objects from the early days of post-WWII design, through to contemporary pieces using innovative materials including bioplastic.

The launch of one of Kartell’s most famous designs in bioplastic highlights the importance of this research for the brand. The Componibili has been part of the Kartell catalogue for 50 years and is now made with a plant-based ‘plastic’ developed by the Kartell research department in collaboration with Bio-on. It’s a move that continues this line of research undertaken in collaboration with Antonio Citterio and the launch of the Bio chair in 2017.

Another highlight from the collection is the Be bop chair designed by Ludovica and Roberto Palomba, Be bop was named after the jazz movement with a form developed from the lines of a traditional carved African stool merged with the softly curved plywood shapes of the mid-20th century. 

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We have worked with Bio-on to be able to offer a very high-quality bioplastic product and we have chosen to do it on one of our historic products, one of the most recognised in the world. Research on bioplastics fits with our quest for innovation and is part of the “Kartell loves the planet” project aimed at enhancing good sustainability practices
— Claudio Luti, CEO, Kartell

Uptown by Ferruccio Laviani and Nuée by Marc Sadler for Foscarini

From a collection of “lights that change everything”, colour was in full flight at Foscarini with Ferruccio Laviani’s Uptown, a self-described Art Deco meets Memphis extravaganza featuring semi-transparent knock-out pinks and oranges made in fluorescent plexiglass sheets. The lamp is a combination of three plate glass volumes screen printed in coloured tones and overlaid to produce depth. While Nuée by Marc Sadler looks like a cumulous cloud, with its light emitting from the overlapping three-dimensional technical fabric in a soft almost powdery glow.

Uptown in all its luminous colour designed by Ferruccio Laviani for Foscarini.

Uptown in all its luminous colour designed by Ferruccio Laviani for Foscarini.

Nuée lamp designed by Marc Sadler for Foscarini and inspired by a soft, fluffy, cumulous cloud.

Nuée lamp designed by Marc Sadler for Foscarini and inspired by a soft, fluffy, cumulous cloud.

Tesaurus cabinet designed by Antonio Citterio for Maxalto

A series of refined storage units designed by Antonio Citterio. The shape underlines the high quality of the craftsmanship, starting with the curved wooden doors that open to reveal slightly protruding shelves, and a continuous profile that follows the volume. The base is a die-cast aluminium, the element above is black marquina, white Calacatta or Emperador marble. The interiors are made of refined frisé maple with craftsmanship expressed in the luxurious parchment or wood finishes. While the veneered oak or Chilean tineo wood exterior is made with a staggered checker motif with crossed grains.

The Tesaurus cabinet by Antonio Citterio for Maxalto shows off the cabinetmaking skills of the Maxalto factory with detailed craftsmanship using marble, wood, parchment and metal.

The Tesaurus cabinet by Antonio Citterio for Maxalto shows off the cabinetmaking skills of the Maxalto factory with detailed craftsmanship using marble, wood, parchment and metal.

N.200 chair designed by Michael Anastassiades for GTV

At Gebrüder Thonet Vienna classical materials and forms from the group's Austrian heritage were underpinned by new creative interpretations embracing the brand's artisanal workmanship and industrial production. The new N.200 chair designed by Michael Anastassiades is a highlight from the collection and celebrates the 200th anniversary of the their first joinery workshop opened in Vienna in 1819.

N200 Chair designed by Michael Anastassiades for GTV reinterprets the traditional woodworking skills of the factory that first opened in Vienna in 1819.

N200 Chair designed by Michael Anastassiades for GTV reinterprets the traditional woodworking skills of the factory that first opened in Vienna in 1819.

The Glas Italia stand with obscured glass and colour., a key theme of their new Sherazade Door collection.

The Glas Italia stand with obscured glass and colour., a key theme of their new Sherazade Door collection.

Sherazade Doors designed by Piero Lissoni for Glas Italia

The new door system designed by Piero Lissoni for Glas Italia is a welcome addition to the lighting collection and takes a side step, further developing the innovations the group has made with glass. Like the lighting collection, the doors focus on a wide range of finishes and colours, from neutral to reflecting glass, glossy or lacquered, acid-etched patterned glass, extralight glass with meshes, or pattern decorated glass. With Glas Italia it is always about pushing the limits and this collection was a highlight of the brand’s new releases this year.

BFF Sofa designed by Marcel Wanders for Moooi

Designed by Marcel Wanders, the BFF Sofa is loosely based on the classic chesterfield with its characteristic deep buttoned upholstery. Here, Wanders takes a more modern modular approach: the BFF Sofa is flexible with 17 different modules, it has a footstool and a wide range of fabric options beyond the traditional. And in true Moooi flair, you can design your own BFF Sofa online first with Moooi’s configurator tool that provides all the seating options..

BFF sofa designed by Marcel Wanders for Moooi.

BFF sofa designed by Marcel Wanders for Moooi.

BFF, a sofa that is your friend, that embraces you if you are tired, that cheers with you when your national soccer team scores a goal, that makes your mother-in-law feel welcome, that comforts you when you receive bad news, that stays with you also when you move cities, that never skips your birthdays, that never talks too loud, yet supports you if you do. A true Best Friend Forever.
— Marcel Wanders, Moooi
The Jeannette collection by Tom Fereday for SP01 is sculpted from wire in a process that involved the artisan skills of the Italian factories in Meda.

The Jeannette collection by Tom Fereday for SP01 is sculpted from wire in a process that involved the artisan skills of the Italian factories in Meda.

Natural stone and detailed metalwork feature in the new Jeannette outdoor/indoor table series.

Natural stone and detailed metalwork feature in the new Jeannette outdoor/indoor table series.

Jeanette collection designed by Tom Fereday for SP01

Tom Fereday has developed a family of pieces that explore a new narrative for the Jeanette collection. Combining precision metal work and traditional hand finishing, the new Jeannette lounge chair is sculpted from wire with a high sculpted back contrasted by soft and elegant cushions.

The Jeanette coffee table range explores natural materials with clever machined grooves to create both an elegant feature to highlight the beauty of the natural stone and cleverly solves the issue of water drainage when used outdoors.

Before working on the SP01 outdoor collection, I had never explored wire bending techniques and that collaboration also gave me the opportunity to design my first outdoor furniture range.
— Tom Fereday, SP01

Diesis Sofa by Vico Magistretti and UP by Gaetano Pesce for B&B Italia

Revisiting the Diesis has given B&B Italia the chance to review and tweak the 1970s classic, The iconic backrest retains its technical integrity based around the structural steel core of metal springs that give strength and flexibility. The leather-covered base and backrest now have a distinctive Saffiano texture. While lovers of design details will appreciate the die-cast lenticular elements of the polished brushed aluminium structure, and the seat structure which is further reduced by using two leather-covered coupled sheets.

The reliance of the Diesis sofa has given B&B Italia the chance to review and tweak the 1970s classic.

The reliance of the Diesis sofa has given B&B Italia the chance to review and tweak the 1970s classic.

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The year the UP Series celebrated 50 years with installations around the city and at B&B Italia. The super-sized UP 5 armchair took shape in Piazza Duomo where the eight metre-high sculpture covered in pink fibreglass sparked debate, making it one of the most popular talking points of the week. First launched at the Milan Furniture Fair in 1969, the armchair was initially made from air sensitive expandable foam and when removed from its flat-pack box wowed the crowd as it slowly inflated. Today, the UP 5 armchair is one of the world’s most recognisable chairs.

B&B Italia at Salone Internazionale del Mobile

And finally during the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, B&B Italia announced a new joint participation with two other important brands – Flos and Louis Poulsen – under the new banner, Design Holding, it was the first time B&B Italia has shown at the fairgrounds and their collection unfolded within an expansive 4,000 square metre installation designed by Calvi Brambilla, with an interactive wall designed by Studio Dotdotdot, The stand was so big it looked like a permanent fixture complete with a grove of trees and private zones for VIPs. Here the iconic UP Series by Gaetano Pesce was joined the Catilina chair designed by Luigi Caccia Dominioni for Azucena, and new pieces by architects and designers including the Parallel Structure table by Michael Anastassiades, the Ribes outdoor seating system by Antonio Citterio, the Dock sofa by Piero Lissoni and the Pablo chair by Vincent Van Duysen.

Cassina, B&B Italia, Maxalto, Glas Italia, Moooi, Kartell and GTV are all available from Space – Australia – and Space – Asia.

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