Hello and Happy Summer!
I recently returned from Inform’s first trip to Europe since the beginning of the pandemic and boy, was it exciting!
The Salone del Mobile, usually held in April, was pushed back two and a half years and re-emerged in full force this past June. I admit I was unsure what to expect after all this time; I was nervous it wouldn’t live up to two years of expectations. It turned out to be worth the wait.
Now that I have been home for a few weeks and have had time to reflect on what we saw, my biggest takeaway was how fundamental the human element is in design. Design is all about people; it is for people — this is, literally, why it exists. People make it for other people to sit on, look at, use, hold, and enjoy. (Perhaps I am way off. I’m not up to speed on my Philosophy of Beauty these days, but it feels right to me!) People.
And so, after two years of looking at everything through a digital lens, it was a joy to be able to see, touch, and try products IRL. And to mingle with colleagues, friends, and partners whom we had not seen in such a long time. Our favourite experiences had the most relatable stories and most approachable products. Here is Part One of our Milan highlights:
Patricia Urquiola’s spirit has permeated this whole brand. There is a vibrant mix of heritage and new designs in a considered and daring way that feels fresh and exciting. The brand is forward-looking with environmental commitments and unique designs while honouring its history. The collection has been rounded out with beautiful accessories — the porcelain collection by FormaFantasma was lovely, as were the glass vases by Urquiola Studio.
My favourite furniture pieces were the new sofa system and coffee tables by Antonio Citterio. Daring colours — orange cast glass! Acid Green! Oh my! — combined with comfort and curves made this sofa a standout.
Eileen Gray / ClassiCon
Speaking of designing for people, Classicon worked with one of the world’s leading scholars on Eileen Gray, Dr. Wilfried Wang, to build a replica of the Principal Bedroom at Eileen Gray’s E.1027 villa. Visitors could walk through and experience the bedroom the way Gray intended. One could lay on the bed, look out the panoramic window, open and shut drawers, and manipulate the bedside table. The room was small, but as Dr. Wang explained, Gray believed that as smaller living spaces are needed in a modern world, living in these small spaces should be expansive to avoid poverty of experience. Everything in this tiny space was carefully selected and built to provide a rich living experience. It comes as no surprise that her furniture looks better than ever after taking a walk in her shoes!
Throughout the pandemic, we have been introduced to new design products and pieces virtually. But since the human experience of furniture is so important, we like to see, feel and touch the goods before we bring them into our showroom. We were lucky to have been able to experience VAARNII at the Rossana Orlandi Showroom (one of our fav places to get inspired during the Milan fair!) and see their beautiful pieces in person. Made entirely of Finnish pine, with works from designers such as Cecilie Manz and Dimitri Bahler, the designs are simple without being simplistic. We are excited to have the pieces arrive in Vancouver and are sure the self-proclaimed ‘Finnish Brutalist’ style will look amazing here in the Pacific Northwest.
Stay tuned for Part Two of our highlights from our visit to Milan.