Jun 30, 2015

iSaloni Milestones. 1987, Cini Boeri and Tomu Katayanagi for Fiam

23. ghostGhost. Proof that a touch of folly is sometimes just what design needs.  

Folly, perhaps. Yet rooted on the one hand in the skill of one of the most rigorous designers that Italy has ever had, Cini Boeri, and on the other in the technological capacity of a manufacturer, Fiam, which invented curved glass.

The result? An icon. An armchair in transparent glass, upon which one might at first sit with apprehension, only to discover that it is ergonomically impeccable.

And let us not forget to point out tthe date in which this masterpiece was created: 1987, when it seemed that design creativity had sold its soul to the most boisterously colorful Postmodernism.

Here, on the contrary, only purity and silence.

Jun 22, 2015

iSaloni Milestones. 1969, Gian Carlo Piretti for Anonima Castelli, later Castelli Haworth


Plia. A chair for a democratic design.

There are timeless chairs and there are ‘momentous’ chairs, unforgettable portraits of an era and a way of thinking. The Plia represents the best of the utopian ‘60s: transparent (the first in the world), folding (with a ball-hinge in cast light alloy, patented and unequaled).

Closed measurements at less than five centimeters in thickness: in a society that wanted its homes full of friends, the Plia was discreetly stored, then opened at the last minute. The highly durable Plia supported the weight of the revolutionaries of the time as well as the weight of nearly five decades, with millions of units sold. The embodiment of the dream, for once come true, of a democratic design.

Jun 17, 2015

iSaloni. One last goodbye

Goodbye Pierluigi!


Known to all as Ghianda, the supreme master of wood who, ironically, transformed his last name into his company logo, an oak leaf (ghianda means ‘acorn’, ed.).

Pierluigi Ghianda left us on June 9, 2015, at the age of 89.

The last time I saw him was in March, impeccable in a blue pinstripe suit and white shirt, with a pink tie and an improbable belt with a buckle of silver oak leaves. He moved among his men, his furniture, his raw logs (including the ones outside … he wanted me to see them again despite the rather brisk temperature). Meanwhile, he once again told me his story. But this time I had the distinct feeling that was telling it to himself, trailing his hands over recently completed pieces, his eyes closed.

Pierluigi always said that wood is a gift from God and that wood sings, that wood smells and that caressing it is a physical pleasure. He talked about his grandfather who founded the workshop in 1898, and his father who died young, and his mother, brave and severe, and his brother, “a great carpenter”.

And then he talked a lot about Gianfranco (Frattini, his close friend, with whom he created the masterpiece “Kyoto” table), but also about Gio (Ponti) and Gae (Aulenti) and Cini (Boeri) and many others. Indeed there are many who owe thanks to Pierluigi, all of the famous designers who regularly turned to Ghianda to “find a solution”. All friends, in the end, all gathered to eat together and cheer, in Pierluigi’s case, for his beloved Inter.

Thank you, Pierluigi! Goodbye!

Marco Romanelli


(Kyoto table for Frattini)

Jun 10, 2015

iSaloni Milestones. 1958, Bruno Munari for Danese


Bali. A folding lamp.

How does one find the right way to talk about the most elusive of the great figures of the Italian 20th century? That Bruno Munari who was at once visual artist, designer, graphic designer and teacher; that Bruno Munari who, throughout his long life, evaded every definition.

Perhaps by talking about a seemingly simple table lamp that is in fact quite complex: a cubic plywood base that – get this – FOLDS, and a shade frame in brass wire secured to a socket sheathed in heat sealed PVC.

Out comes a warm, soft light until we choose to move to another house, take another trip, but always with the Bali lamp in our suitcase!

May 27, 2015

iSaloni Interviews. Zanini


Born in 1978 in Rio de Janeiro, Zanini grew up observing the work of his father, the famous architect José Zanine Caldas. He apprenticed with Sergio Rodrigues, great legend of Brazilian design. After graduating in Industrial Design in 2002, he has since been designing furniture which, on the one hand, riffs on the tradition of Brazilian modernism, and on the other participates assertively in the international debate. In 2012 he earned particular acclaim for his “Inflated Wood” collection for Cappellini. In Brazil, Zanini stands today as the most interesting alternative to the poetics of the Campana Brothers. In 2015 he was named “Designer of the Year” by Maison&Objets America.

What was your most memorable experience of the Saloni? An encounter, an event, or simply an impression.

Undoubtedly my first show with Cappellini, which marked the beginning of a collaboration with an important brand that I’ve always admired. I was happy and nervous at the same time.

The 5 most important pieces of the 2015 edition? You can include one of your own.

Fernando and Humberto Campana, Estrela collection for Alotof.

Nendo, Float stool for Moroso.

Konstantin Grcic, Sam Son chair for Magis.

Jaime Hayon, Réaction poétique collection for Cassina.

Zanini de Zanine, Flora floor lamp for Slamp.


Interesting places relative to design, architecture or interiors in your home city, or in other cities particularly dear to you?

In Rio de Janeiro:

Galeria de Design Mercado Moderno Rua do Lavradio 130, downtown: specialized in modern and contemporary brazilian design, it features one-offs and limited editions from both great masters and young designers. Situated in the Lapa quarter, very bohemian, the gallery occupies an old restored building.

MAM – Musee d’ Art Moderne Av. Infante Dom Henrique 85, Parque do Flamengo: fantastic project by Affonso Reidy. One of the most important museums in Rio: a modernist building situated on the bay with excellent exhibitions of Brazilian and international art. Don’t miss the magnificent garden designed by Roberto Burle Marx.

studio of Sergio Rodrigues Rua Conde de Irajá 63, Botafogo: a veritable temple of Brazilian design. Located on a rather unusual street, in the same house where the famous designer lived, it has a rich archive of objects, models and photos.

A young designer who you think might soon become a major figure at the Salone? A comment, curriculum and 3 products.

Giorgio Bonaguro, an Italian designer analyzes his Italian roots when he designs, but also seeks to understand Brazilian culture: an example of the melting pot mentality that allows works with strong identities to see the light.

Curriculum: Giorgio Bonaguro was born in 1977 and studied Mechanical Engineering in Modena, then Industrial and Interior Design at SPD in Milan. He has worked in the Milanese studios of Francesco Faccin and Marco Romanelli. He designs independently for several Italian brands including Driade and Valsecchi 1918. He participated in the SaloneSatellite and in numerous solo and group shows in Italy and Brazil. Among the more recent: “Design Market” by Giulio Cappellini, Abitare 100% Project”, Verona; “Cabinets of Curiosity” at Mint Shop, London Design Festival, London; “Now! Le Off”, Paris Design Week; “MADE” at Design Weekend, Jockey Clube, Sao Paulo, Brazil; “Italian Design meets Jewelry”, Palazzo Bonin Longare, Vicenza; “Good Words and Wordly Goods”, Design Days Dubai at Majlis Gallery.


Three products: Root vases for Driade, Oscar desk for Valsecchi 1918, Chess stools for Icons

May 20, 2015

iSaloni Milestones. 1965 Bobo Piccoli for FontanaArte


2476. A masterpiece mirror.

Among the great Italian artists capable of forging a synthesis of the arts, it’s impossibile not mention Bobo Piccoli.

The abstract yet dense and continuous signs he applies to canvas or mosaic floors (stop by the Stelline in Milan and check out the cloister pavement!) also appear in this mirror for FontanaArte. The red enameled sheet metal overlaps the reflective surface, making its function primarily aesthetic.

Or rather, it reflects just fine, but the whole is more a work of art than a mirror.

Apr 20, 2015

Salone 2015, back to work, optimistically

1.-ENG-ottimismoIt is in the spirit of rediscovered optimism on the part of participating businesses that this 54th edition of the Salone del Mobile comes to a close.

310,840 visitors overall, including big crowds on Saturday and Sunday when the fair opened its doors to the general public, 69% of whom were high-level foreign buyers with resources to spend, as confirmed by over 2,000 exhibitors.

The Salone del Mobile once again confirmed its international identity with a significant presence of Russian operators, with China representing the largest number of visitors and Germany in second place.

Also noteworthy was the Middle Eastern presence, particularly Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Egypt, while the number of visitors from the USA, the UK and India showed a solid growth.

2.-BIS‘These numbers confirm the importance and drawing power of an event that expresses the best furniture design from both Italy and abroad. As such, the Salone can be seen as a first signal of the predicted recovery’, declared Roberto Snaidero, President of the Salone del Mobile.

The exhibiting companies, moreover, can expect support from the government, according to the announcement of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who visited the Salone on opening day: the sector will be supported through domestic market development policies and activities that foster international promotion.

An excellent pipeline, acknowledged by all the guests and ministers and representatives of every political level and persuasion who visited.

Strong interest in Workplace3.0, the new SaloneUfficio with an original and innovative concept dedicated to design and technology for the workplace, and in the installation The Walk by Michele De Lucchi, which emphasized the importance of movement in the office to encourage the stimuli essential for the creative process.

Also enjoying an excellent response in terms of attendance was IN ITALY, curated by architect Dario Curatolo, which involved 64 Italian companies and a selected group of designers and architects to explore five lifestyle alternatives (Lecce, Milan, Rome, Venice and Val d’Orcia) through an app.

Big crowds as usual at the 18th edition of the SaloneSatellite, dedicated to the theme Planet Life, which hosted more than 700 young designers under 35.

Other great successes include FAVILLA. To Every Light a Voice, the installation-event designed by Attilio Stocchi in Piazza San Fedele in Milan, which counted more than 10,000 visitors, and for the opening of the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci 1452-1519, sponsored by, among others, the Salone del Mobile, and represents the largest exhibition ever staged in Italy on the great Renaissance genius.

Thanks for your participation.

3.-IT ENG chiusuraSee you at Salone WorldWide in Moscow, 1417 October, and in Milan at the Salone del Mobile 2016, from 1217 April. Save the date!

Apr 18, 2015

SaloneSatellite 2015. Rising stars

1.-salonesatelliteThe theme for this year is, inevitably, tied to that of the upcoming Expo: Planet Life, which attempts here to dialogue with – and interrogate – Design and its youngest creators.

The SaloneSatellite celebrates its 18th birthday and as always offers a quite heterogeneous overview of that limbo of precious and life-giving soil inhabited by the new generation as it grows and strives to face the real world, in this privileged garden that the Salone provides.

The participation is truly international (indeed, the Italian presence is less than ever) and the ideas circulate and bounce around, reflected and reproduced, following and sometimes anticipating the language that attempts to communicate with contemporaneity.

2. dossofiorito-blogFunction is by now increasingly intrinsic, while the narration of  the process of enquiry itself flourishes and characterizes the projects, for an (initial) theme that is mostly just a pre-text.

Beyond the prize winners named by the jury and the highlights signaled by us and others which by now appear in real time on the web, let’s look at a few new ideas that have sparked our interest, leaving a pleasing glow among the many lights and shadows of the Salone.

5.-mood-cupsTo start the day off right, for example, Mood Cups by Frédérique Ficheroulle are a stylistic exercise based on the simplest esthetic and formal choice we make in the morning, depending on our mood.

To learn instead how to perceive things, we would need to memorize Daily Poetry by Ingrid Hulskamp, where strange objects of various materials offer different sensory experiences to the hand: between touch and sight, one must above all feel.

4. daily-poetryAnd what better than an investigation of materials to help us hone our senses? Raw Narratives looks for the function beneath the beauty of raw materials, using discarded leather from fashion manufacturing to obtain objects made solely of recycled leather, which in turn potentially becomes structure.

Out For Space, on the other hand, investigates rattan, a wooden material used in a decorative and ingenious way, with its hollow fibers which, in addition to allowing the traditional bending, can also absorb pigments, creating surfaces ornamented with lines and points.

Then comes the necessary moment of irony, like the intelligent Pop sensibility of Pistacchi Design, the name that Mike He from Taiwan gave to his studio in tribute to his weakness for the consummately Italian gelato al pistacchio, which in his own highly personal Chinese translation means ‘design that makes you happy. The day concludes, after completing our duty, with pleasure.

Like the pleasure and passion for botany of Dossofiorito, who return and take flight, faithful to their vegetal poetry, with hanging vases for epiphytic plants that can draw nourishment directly from the clay of their water-filled container.

1.-SSThen, now and always, best wishes to the SaloneSatellite upon reaching adulthood, and above all to all the rising stars who will now have to find their own trajectories, which we hope will be as luminous, ascendant and long-lived as possible.

Matteo Pirola

Apr 18, 2015

Salone 2015. Workplace3.0, the office is mobile

2A.-ufficioOffice work has evolved exponentially in recent years as a result of the extreme development of technology. This evolution has necessarily placed in discussion the stereotypes of office spaces and the products that customarily occupy them.

The traditional notions of work, of office, of space are being shattered by the democratization and the personalization of technology.

3A.-ufficioThe companies affected by this therefore face a great challenge. It’s a difficult moment, one that leads to movement – as the installation by Michele De Lucchi, designed expressly for Pavilions 22 and 24 and for this Salone del Mobile 2015, would appear to indicate.

Visiting the stands, one notes that the brands are by no means sitting still. If anything, judging by the products on display, many brands have already understood where to steer the future of work, as if anticipating De Lucchi’s warning.

5.-ufficioHere follows a randomly ordered itinerary of some of the companies we’ve seen and appreciated over the last few days.

Beatnik by Donar, a sort of nomadic yurt with a contemporary flavor, perfect for brainstorming 3.0; Unifor, with an intimate wooden Studiolo designed by Michele De Lucchi for important meetings with oneself, following the example of the study-cell of St. Jerome; Offecct, which proposes, at the colorful ‘Swedish Design Goes Milan’ stand, Carry on, a colored ottoman with a practical wooden handle so it can be comfortably transported to wherever it best serves; Usm, with its modular partitions in sound-absorbing material that make it possible to redefine the perimeters of the office in a few seconds and with a color palette as delicate as it is intriguing; Icf, whose Cloud seat lets you first rest and then work and which can be tried out firsthand at De Lucchi’s ‘The Walk’; Laminam, whose expertise with materials make it possible to change the visual horizon of the office with its thin ceramic panels featuring an infinity of surface finishes; Tecno and its io.t project, thanks to which we can ‘rediscover ourselves’ and ‘reconstruct our working habitat’ in any part of the world with a simple microchip, an internal Internet; Faram, with its spiral Inspire, which ensures the luxury of silence even in the noisiest and most chaotic open-space office; Caimi, who commissioned Alberto and Francesco Meda (Sipario) and Atelier Mendini (Diesis and Bemolle) to design different possibilities of acoustic applications of the new Snowsound system; Fantoni, which presents the Hub project by Matteo Ragni, where the intelligent multifunctionality ‘a la Munari’ becomes the foundation of everyday work; Sesta, whose Paul&Frank sofa becomes an interactive hub for all the spaces of connection and communication of the office 3.0; Dieffebi, whose file storage containers and elements lend order and personality to the workspace without sacrificing the mobility of the archival materials; Universal Selecta, which literally transformed its stand into an interactive stage set for TV and film shoots.

Salone del Mobile 2015, the office is us.

Paolo Bocchi

Apr 17, 2015

Salone 2015. The Golden Age of Classic

2.-classicoWe’re in the Classic pavilions, at the beginning of the fairgrounds, where the watchword has become contemporary luxury. Which is to say, the skillful combination of artisanal techniques, prized materials and the ability to revisit (and at the same time update) the stylistic language of tradition. Because what matters today is surrounding oneself with fragments of memory; all the better if they’re one-of-a-kind, or in some way custom made. In other words, letting oneself be drawn into a gilded, delicate universe, with touches of capitonné, which – if you’ll allow me – is not unconnected to cocooning.

Thus we find vanity tables in precious woods (Riva 1920), beds unapologetically canopied or dominated by imposing headboards (Selva, Cantori, Turri), carved and backlit wall systems embellished with gold (Ceppi Style)…

1.-classicoNot to mention wallpapers, credenzas and tables that gleam with fixtures and intarsia in tones of copper, bronze and mother-of-pearl… What counts is to feel ‘at home’, even when staying in a hotel; enveloped in an atmosphere as warm and soft as it is elegant and comfortable.

This certainly explains the great comeback of the bergère, conjugated in new typological variants and enriched by precious details (particularly noteworthy is Klimt, at Provasi).

Among the more prominent trends we’ve seen in the many stands outfitted like homes from days of yore is a significant return to Art Decò, expressed through refined, even specialized furnishings, generating strongly personalized domestic landscapes. Examples include, among others, the stands of Citco and Emanuel Ungaro Home.

Francesca De Ponti

This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.