Archive for April, 2013

Milan Salone del Mobile 2013 – Day 4 / 5

We spent our fourth and fifth day in Milan cycling around the city to the endless installations and exhibits in showrooms, galleries and warehouses. Everyone wants to get in on the action: Vivienne Westwood hosted a cocktail party to promote British design and BMW commissioned Ronan and Erwin Bouroullec, French furniture designers, to create an installation in a convent courtyard to promote sustainable mobility.

But this is where the soul of the interior design industry is revealed – students, new designers and emerging companies, who can’t afford a stand on the Salone fairgrounds, showcase their work. And established companies like Moroso transform their showrooms into experiences that educate and entertain. Nendo’s exhibit for Glas Italia showed several prototypes of a series of shelves and tables called Deep Sea. Cassina showed Carl Lagerfeld’s photos of their iconic furniture. Rug maker Nodus took over a convent to show their rugs.

Below is just a taste of what we were able to take in. A few videos to follow.

The Revolving Room by Patricia Urquiola in the Moroso showroom



Deep Sea by Nendo for Glas Italia


Nendo exhibit for Ceasarstone


Nodus rugs in a convent


B&B Italia showroom with new copper finishes 


Carl Lagerfeld’s photo exhibit at the Cassina showroom


Magis showroom

Milan Salone del Mobile 2013 – Day 3

Scandinavian manufacturers showed with more energy and optimism than their southern European counterparts. Muuto’s floor lamp shows craft-like detailing of the cord and stem while the new simple stool with a curved seat is comfortable and easy for hopping on and off. Also notable were Norman Copenhagen’s console prototype using metal, wood and lacquer and The Cuba stool by Add Interior, a young Danish company. The pieces are all quite casual but show sophisticated detailing.

Royal Botania’s new series of white outdoor furniture is quiet and light – the bar stool is stackable and the lounger has ergonomic adjustability with a button under the side rail where the hand naturally rests when sitting or lying down. This subtle detail made it one of Niels Bendtsen’s picks of the show and we would have to agree.

We took a few extra shots of the Arper stand to show the size and scale of what the larger manufacturers construct inside the 20 halls on the fairgrounds. Japanese manufacturer Maruni’s stand is much smaller but still shows the energy put into the stands – the entire white surface is steel studs and drywall.

Milan Salone del Mobile 2013 – Day 2

We tackled a few more halls today at the fair and managed to run into more familiar faces from home. It seems to happen often enough despite there being over 300,000 people who have descended on the city for the week.

Notable mentions today: Penta lighting has fantastic range of new lamps and pendants from gently tinted glass, metal and stone. Meridiano from Vibia (an outdoor stool), the Mochi pendant clusters from Fabbian and Itka from Artemide and Rituals from Foscarini.

Classicon’s stand was tiny but impressive – Sebastian Herkner’s Bell Pendant Lamps with interchangeable shades are clever – what would be gimmicky if attempted by other manufacturers is simple but surprisingly sophisticated. Also, the Euvira Rocker by Jader Almieda was compact and comfy – both in leather and this rope version.

Moroso is always a highlight for us – Patricia Urquiola didn’t disappoint with an on trend colour palette and upholstering and stitching details that are distinctively Moroso.

Jean Nouvel’s exhibit Office For Living was an interesting micro study of different types of office settings from office towers, apartments, houses and what was closest to the Falken Reynolds studio, warehouse. All had a human touch, warmth and colours, textures and materials that are more familiar to a residential environment. No plain white walls with harsh overhead lighting here… It was an interesting contrast to the many sterile trade stands in the hall just outside the exhibit. The highlight was the series of (recorded) live cams of Philippe Starck, Ron Arad, Marc Newson and Michele de Lucchi at work in their creative studios.

One of the big reasons we get excited (and geek-out a bit) during design events is because we get to see, touch and test products. There is no doubt we rely heavily on the internet and catalogues when we select items for projects. This week gives us a crucial opportunity to see a manufacturer’s quality, not just in the one or two pieces that a local showroom carries, but across a wide range of products.

Milan Salone del Mobile 2013 – Day 1

Our first day at the Salone del Mobile in Milan was pretty special – hometown lighting company Bocci is not only exhibiting at the most important international design event of the year, they pretty much stole the show. Amidst noticeable restraint from the European manufacturers Omer Arbel, architect and Bocci’s creative director, went all out with a stunning showcase for the organic forms of glass, porcelain and copper. Vancouver should be very, very proud.

While there are noticeably fewer new products on show than years past the quality and ingenuity is still impressive. Flos is showing a number of new pieces pushing the boundaries with LED’s. Edra’s new modular sofa is comfortable, organic and surprisingly practical while still maintaining a unique edge.

Handmade and craft are still major themes – Valcunine was hand carving it’s kitchens on site at it’s showroom in the Brera, Zavier Manosa’s glass and ceramic vessels were on display at Kettal juxtaposed against Jasper Morrisons’ new line called Village. Organic forms are playing a major role in demonstrating the quality of work not easily copied by the Asian knock-off companies who are here in droves. Jaime Hayon’s Ro chair for Fritz Hansen shows the skill and detailing few can replicate – showing off the underside of the chair with floor mirrors.

We closed out the night at the Frame / Moooi awards in it’s fantastic space in Zona Tortona. Always playful and a bit cheeky.

Colourful Condo

A sneak peek at this colourful condo. We’re putting on the finishes touches but we simply had to share these – and give kudos to Moosehead Contracting, Integrity Woodwork and adventurous clients, especially when it comes to colour.

Our mandate: completely strip the 1980’s condo and replace it with a colourful, cheery space to combat the (many) grey days on the West Coast. Our approach was the same as the architect Rastrelli’s when he designed St. Petersburg’s iconic buildings in the 18th century – using colour to enliven and energize.

We wanted the space to be warm, inviting and tactile – from the solid copper knobs, hickory millwork, glass tile backsplash and sensual bathroom faucets by the Bouroullec brothers.

Pulls by Baccman & Berglund Stockholm, glass hues tile from Interstyle, HG Basin Mixer from Axor


Design Tip Tuesday : Quality

A good faucet is like a good handshake: it conveys welcome, trust and confidence through our sense of touch. the lever on this one in our colourful condo project is perfectly smooth and solid – you can actually feel the german engineering. Our experience is that quality design and materials have a positive correlation to the longevity of plumbing fixtures that gets used as regularly as the sink faucet – so an investment today means a lot less leaky faucets in the future.

Design Tip Tuesday : Ergonomics

Washroom countertops should be a comfortable height for washing up – which might seem obvious, but most are built too low. We start with 36″ and adjust for each client. When compared to the common height of 32″, it requires much less bending over to rinse our hands or splash water on our faces. Design within reach.

Photo : Lucas Finlay