Continues from Ventura Lambrata 2013: part 1.
Mindcraft is a group show of young Danish designers organized by Danish Crafts – a Danish ministry of culture organization. Held each year in Milan since 2008, it has shown at Lambrata for the last three years after moving from Tortona. The items shown are carefully selected and always of an amazing standard. This years stand outs ran the gamut from the expected masterful handling of timber in Nina Bruun’s ‘Kilim’ bench and Eske Rex’s baby playpen ’Little Ship’ to the wild exploration which is Mathias Bengtsson’s cast bronze ‘Growth’ chair. The depth of talent in Denmark is quite amazing with Cecilie Manz, GamFratesi, Louis Campbell and Thomas Bentzen all having exhibited at Mindcraft at one time or another over the last 5 years.
As part of the ‘Foodmade’ exhibition held by Padiglioneitalia in Lambrate, a group of 17 contemporary Italian designers were invited to create objects made from food stuffs. In response design group CTRLZAK produced ethereal vessels made from religious sacrament wafers. A little water was added to enable the wafers to be moulded into shapes.
Studio usedesign took a different tack, moulding bread crumbs for the main part of the bowl or cup and flour and salt to produce a white coloured foot. The vessels were of a hardier nature with a little natural resin added so they are washable and reusable.
Rui Pereira and Ryosuke Fukusada are a very well balanced Portuguese / Japanese meeting of minds. ‘Bugs’ – their cork and bent metal bathroom products and Faro outdoor fireplace prototypes were so well resolved it was hard to believe they weren’t already in production.
Referencing traditional Japanese ‘geta’ sandals, the project blends the cork traditions of Portugal with a minimal bent rod structure. ‘Faro’ by contrast are two squat, vaguely egg-shaped outdoor fireplaces that use a different traditional Portuguese material, terracotta, in conjunction with a fifties style base of steel.
I’m a big fan of the work of Swiss design group Post Fossil so I was delighted to stumble across a show called LePetitGrand at Lambrata this year. The show featured a beautiful copper mobile by Post Fossil as part of an excellent group show with German designer Sonja Schaub, Italian designer Marco Guazzini and a bunch of Finnish designers Kasper Nyman, Elisa Honkanen and Simo Serpola. All the work was excellent and ranged from ceramic cups with a braille exterior to concrete based side tables and cut marble vases. It can all be seen on the show’s website.
This Is Very Dangerous or TIVD, is a collective of designers who having exhibited in Milan independently for several years, have decided that there is strength in numbers and now show as a group. The theme of this, their second show was ‘memories of your grandmother’ and the responses from the 14 designers from 8 nations involved, ranged from a quirky rolling pin by Alberto Mora through to a humorous rocking plant stand ‘Vovó’ by Angelica Eriksson.
My favourite was the quiet mirror cum shelf, ‘Sunset’, by Runa Klock. It is so simple it hurts, but the combination of a circular bronze coloured mirror set into an angled slot in the oak shelf is also quite brilliant.
‘Superequipe‘ is the name a loose group of five German designers, Jan Regett, Gesine Hillmann, Miriam Lehnart, Tjark Pfeiffer and Stefan Rechsteiner go under when showing internationally. The group exhibited as part of a large contingent supported by the organization DMY – Berlin Trails. The work of Hillmann and Regett included a perfectly conceived folding desk and chair – ‘Sam’ and ‘Suzie’. The desk folds totally flat in one movement with the metal ‘U’ shaped back leg becoming the carry handle. Similarly the chair folds flat despite it’s pronounced curved backrest.
Joa Herrenknecht is a very prolific Berlin based designer whose first foray into lighting ‘Nest’ shown at Lambrata in 2011 earned her a Red Dot design award in 2012. This year she revealed new pendant lights called ‘Kogi’ made from the popular building (and now lighting) material Tyvek, formed into complex geometric shapes and hand dyed. The lights are very light-weight and will be inexpensive once in serial production. Herrenknecht also had a number of great pieces on display as part of the Fünf German Studios show at Satellite so be sure to check out her website for those items which include a rug, facetted ceramic vases, a timber side table and concrete and metal planters.
Sometimes the strongest shows are when one designer displays just a single object. The concrete ‘Marchigue’ Vases of Stefano Pugliese were a breath of fresh air after the design overload of numerous group shows. The colours are beautifully subtle and while the shape looks deceptively simple it is in fact a complex asymmetric form that changes as you walk around it and has great depth when shown in groups. Pugliese is an Italian architect and designer who has lived and worked in Chile for many years until re-establishing his studio in Milan in 2012.
With mountains of wood shavings and timber off-cuts in every joinery shop and furniture factory, Royal College of Art students James Shaw and Marjan van Aubel, decided to investigate how it might be possible to utilize this wasted resource in an interesting way.
Many experiments later they developed the ‘Well Proven’ chair – a moulded chair that uses a combination of wood shavings and natural resin. Nothing new there – but they discovered a mix of natural resin and wood that reacts together in a very unpredictable way – foaming and bubbling to create a unique result every time. The duo are also colouring the wood resin ‘mush’ with natural dyes and producing a weird sort of hybrid chair that combines eco materials with a backyard moulding process. The chair sort of grows itself onto an archetypal timber base.