It’s a few weeks since our team of travelers returned from their pilgrimage to the Milan Furniture Fair and a few weeks before they head off to Chicago for NeoCon, but both trips are part of the broad arc of furniture awareness that hits the interior design industry every year at this time. In Milan, this year, Primo and Verda were impressed, as usual, by the student work. Denise and Perry, making their first trip to the fair, were astonished by the crowds and the immensity of the event. Everyone was wowed by the coffee.
The surrealist dissolving bench above was designed by Danah Al Kubaisy, a student at American University in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates– a reminder that sophisticated design is a global phenomenon and that startling forms speak to all cultures. For example the student booth below– sorry we didn’t get the name!– uses plastic laminates to create a striking forced perspective that could have come from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
Of course we still respond to simple pleasures: chickens, cacti… (who doesn’t)? These were in the Vitra Booth.
After Milan, Primo and Verda went on to Verona where they dropped in on Carlo Scarpa’s stunning restoration of Castelvecchio, a project that took over 14 years of his life. The harmony between the 14th century castle and the 20th century structures designed to display its art offers an object lesson in the timelessness of certain architectural values– simplicity, strength, material integrity– that exhibitors at Milan can only hope to emulate.
From Verona Primo and Verda went on to Barcelona, Denise went on to Venice and Rome and Perry flew home (having stopped off in Berlin prior to the fair). Designers travel the world in a way the rest of us, perhaps, do not– attuned to the shapes and textures of everyday things, not monuments so much, but coffee cups, tram car seats and vending machines; entranced less by cathedrals than by storefronts. It’s an exhilaratingly physical way to travel.
At the end of a trip abroad, however, all travelers share a common sensation…