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Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Triannale Design Museum of Milano held a series of free special exhibitions to coincide with the Salone Internazionale del Mobile and Milan Design week. After seeing hundreds of chairs, tables and bedroom sets at the Salone, it was a welcomed change to see something different.


According to the museum’s own website  >>here:

Opened in 2007 as the first museum of Italian design. Located in the Triennale of Milan offers the visitor the chance to discover the excellence of Italian design through unedited points of view. No chronological order or by author, each year the Triennale Design Museum is renewed, transformed, changing the topics covered and composition.


A decent bookstore with a small collection of design objects.


Floor mosaics in the main lobby.



The regular exhibition (“Italian Design Beyond Its Crisis”) and its permanent collection required a ticket. As all the special exhibitions were free, I started with the freebies first. See later posts.


I had lunch at their cafeteria –  it was a communal table (hence, the 6 bottles of mineral water) and I sat on the most uncomfortable stool in my life. The design effectively kept people from sitting around taking up space.


But the cafe also had some interesting antiques in a corner for patrons to use. While they might be design classics, they do not exactly look comfortable.


The museum is located in Parco Sempione and it has a nice small garden in the back.


Looking back at the museum from the park. The white boxes were exhibition spaces temporarily erected during the week.


A dry pond can be found at the back of the garden. I wondered what it looks like when filled.


There were a podium, a lighthouse and several items in the pond – indeed a very strange or surreal set – a “swan” and two guys (from torso up only), both situated inside something that can only be described as a ring of yellow triangular wavelets – one guy waving or pointing at something and the other blonde one staring (with a frown) at the first guy. There must be some subtext here.


The rest of sculptures in the garden was nice but unremarkable.


Since I had a train to catch in the afternoon, I could not see the rest of the museum with its permanent collection. What I saw in that half-day, however, was very viewable and enjoyable – they will be covered by a post or two in here.


Rather than posting more photos of furniture from the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, I will give the topic a break. So …


After a long day running around in the Salone, I left Rho Fiera and took the metro to Duomo. My hotel was centrally located and about 10 minutes down Via Torino on a side street. I booked it in a hurry as most hotel rooms were booked because of the Salone, except the very expensive and very cheap ones. The hotel was centrally located and generally adequate.


The hotel concierge only recommended an eatery just around the corner but would not offer any further advice (he probably took a bribe from that restaurant).  But there were so many restaurants in the area. As I wanted to explore the neighborhood any way, I started walking down Corso di Porta Ticinese – doing it “No Reservations” – Tony Bourdain style.


Fratelli la Bufala’s (FLB, “Buffalo Brothers”?) graphic sign suggests a steak house but it also says “pizzaioli emigranti” which I understood it to mean take out pizza.


Met a friendly guy who was tossing pizza and wanted to talk to me in Italian while I was waiting for my table.


FLB’s fillet served on a hot cast iron plate was quite good despite the sloppy presentation. The orange color sauce was made of sun-dried tomato.


FLB turns out to be a franchise, 100 or so restaurants mostly in Italy, that serves Neapolitan style pizza and buffalo meat. They have a backstory about three brothers and made a video about it – FLB.

The restaurant is located just across the street from the Colonne di San Lorenzo.


Colonne di San Lorenzo – one of the best known Roman ruins in Milano – built since the 4th century.


The Piazza Sant’Eustorgio in front of the basilica was slowly filling up with people. Groups standing or sitting in circles under the columns, really friendly atmosphere.


There was a DJ in the middle of the square working a silent disco. The revelers were all wearing wireless headphones with bright blue lights, bobbing away quietly.


During the summer, it becomes a public dance floor – Intellighenzia Electronica presenta: THE SOUND OF SILENCE.


Walking further down towards the canals … the whole area really reminded me of St Mark’s Place in the East Village of NYC.


Two of the canals that were Milan’s major import/export route since the 1200’s meet here at the Darsena (old river port) which looked like a rather messy pond now.

Naviglio Pavese


Naviglio Grande


On that weekend night, people of Milan were out in droves having a drink on the street …


Good times …

Continuing with photos from the Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2014 …

Guess which fashion designers were milking more revenue from its famous brand name by selling furniture ?


Here’s Versace. Well, he left the planet. So why not ?

designers-12Can’t miss the signature panthers.


Fendi. They have separate entrances for architects (on the left), Club Prestige (!) members (in the middle) and (mere) visitors (see the signs below the Fendi sign). The doorman-velvet rope phenomenon lives on …


Bentley managed to attract a crowd outside its door with a convertible, and they were doing the doorman thing too … look at him dancing …


Ungaro was there with proper wall treatment up front  (… unlike Bentley’s white walls )


Diesel has a large pavilion …


… and a pop/age reference ?


Missoni was there looking so Brazilian …


… and so very casual


These two rooms are by Blumarine. There was hardly any design in the furniture, except textile design.


A Chinese gentleman was showing great interest in this set of communist red-big flower print sofa.

designers-18Last but not least, Pierre Cardin was evidently still around.


No. I did not see Casa Armani in the Salone. Well, they have a whole building in downtown Milano. See the post on Manzoni 31 from our last trip.

Lots more photos to come …


Continuing with my posts on the stuff I saw at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan …


Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 10.45.02 PM

Knoll’s exhibition space is right next to Vitra’s space (see previous post here). These two companies have a lot in common – from their business scope to their historical origins. Knoll was founded in 1938 in New York City.


According to Knoll’s site:

Our founders, Hans and Florence Knoll, embraced the creative genius at the Bauhaus School and the Cranbrook Academy of Art to create new types of furniture and environments for the workplace. Their approach, where craftsmanship joined with technology through the use of design, anchors our perspective and shapes the values we endeavor to live by today.


It was at Cranbrook that Eero Saarinen met Charles Eames. The two young men, both committed to the exploration of potential new materials and processes, quickly became great friends, pushing each other creatively while collaborating on several projects. The most notable outcome of their partnership was the groundbreaking collection of molded plywood chairs for the MoMA-sponsored 1940 Organic Design in Home Furnishings competition. Their collection was awarded first prize in all categories.


Saarinen’s Pedestal Collection debuted in 1958. I like this kind of tables where there are few things underneath the table for you to kick or bump your knee – an annoying problem frequently encountered by tall people (like me).


David Adjaye’s Washington Collection


04 Counter by OMA and Knoll


Cassina was founded in 1927 in the region of Brianza, Italy (same region as Poliform, see earlier post here).


Cassina’s space was created by architect Sou Fujimoto – named Floating Forest. He created the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London’s Kensington Gardens in 2013.


According to Cassina’s web site:

On entering Cassina’s stand at the Salone del Mobile in Rho Fiera, a sense of wellbeing immediately overcomes the visitor creating an intrinsic balance between man, nature, comfort and the home.


Numerous mirrors suspended from above reflect and multiply this natural forest setting to infinity, creating volume and at the same time space, with endless possibilities. 


While the effect was dramatic and fun, it was also quite confusing. With so many people milling about, I was too busy trying to watch where I was going rather than admiring the furniture.


Cassina’s 2014 Collection boasts new designs by Jaime Hayon, Piero Lissoni, Luca Nichetto, Patrick Norguet and Jean Nouvel.

knoll-cassini-11Cassina is also releasing re-editions from Le Corbusier (LC1, LC2, LC3 or LC4?), Pierre Jeanneret, Charlotte Perriand and Marcel Breuer. Cassina is the worldwide exclusive licensee of Le Corbusier’s designs.


Cassina is part of the Poltrona Frau group which also owns Capellini and has its original luxury leather collection.


Scattered around Cassina’s Floating Forest are these cute “sculpture” of model car pileups.


Fun stuff !  More to come …



Continuing with my posts on the stuff I saw at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan …  Vitra had a large white, airy space, built with translucent boxes/bricks.


According to Wikipedia and Vitra’s own site:   Vitra is a Swiss family-owned furniture company founded in 1950’s and dedicated to improving the quality of homes, offices and public spaces through the power of design. They first started with the licensed production in Europe of Eames designs originally owned by Herman Miller.


In 1967 the company introduced the Panton Chair by Verner Panton – the first cantilever chair out of plastic.  Now the Vitra home collection includes classic furniture design pieces by Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson, Verner Panton, Alexander Girard and Jean Prouvé.


Charles and Ray Eames are an American husband and wife team of architects/modern furniture designers Their story is well documented so I will not repeat here. These are the Eames’ Aluminum Chairs EA in 28 new colors.


We are using Eames Plastic Side Chair DSR in white. To see more of the Eames collection by Vitra, go here.


Eames home bird overlooking people in meetings.


Girard (b0rn 1907 in NYC) is widely known for his contributions in the field of American textile design, particularly through his work for Herman Miller (1952 to 1975), where he created fabrics for the designs of George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames.


Girard created numerous textile patterns and products reflecting his love of festive colours, patterns and textures. He favoured abstract and geometric forms in a variety of different colour constellations, typically featuring a cheerful palette.


In 1963, he created a collection of 22 brightly painted, semi-abstract and sculptural wooden dolls for his own Santa Fe home. Working from the originals, the Vitra Design Museum has reissued some models of Girard’s figures.


Vitra also produces the works of designers such as Antonio Citterio, Jasper Morrison, Alberto Meda, Maarten van Severen, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Hella Jongerius and Barber Osgerby.

Jasper Morrison, English (born 1959) advocates “New Simplicity”, a more modest and also more serious approach to design.


Wooden table by Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby + Eames aluminum chairs.


This year, they are relaunching the Landi Chair, designed in 1938 by Hans Coray (see silver chairs below).


Nice show, happy living.


Click here to see Vitra’s own spiel of their exhibition at the Salone.