SaloneSatellite 2016

The information desk at Salone Satellite 2016

SaloneSatellite is a platform to develop young design talent under the age of 35 and is held within the much bigger Salone Internazionale del Mobile exhibition in Milan. Over 700 designers were accepted by Marva Griffin – founder (and ‘gate keeper’), since it’s inception in 1998. This year designers responded to the theme, ‘New Materials, New Design’.

Several of the major companies sponsoring the event this year had a visual presence with Kvadrat, Riva, Kartell, Glas Italia,and Emeco all delivering installations. Patricia Urquiola linked up with Kvadrat who she has designed for in the past on collaborative projects with BMW and Moroso and on several fabric designs such as ‘Matrix’, and the new randomly slubby textile ‘Memory’. Her installation at Satellite used the Kvadrat fabric ‘Loom’ to create a boldly striped totemic figure about 3 metres high. It had an overt Memphis look while being far softer than that groups material of choice – laminate.

The Kvadrat installation by Patricia Urquiola at Salone Satellite Photo: David Harrison

The Kvadrat installation by Patricia Urquiola at Salone Satellite Photo: David Harrison

Receiving a Special Mention from the Satellite Judges, Frank Chou Design Studio was photographed continually during Milan Design Week as his stand at SaloneSatellite was beautifully presented in a combination of dark navy blue with minimal brass accents. The Beijing based designer’s Oriental Design Series of furniture and lights certainly expressed a link to contemporary Chinese designers such as Neri & Hu but the design language was ultimately very much their own.

Frank Chou Design Studio pieces 'Ping' screen, ‘Null’ side table and ‘Kong’ – a “single sofa chair”.

Frank Chou Design Studio pieces ‘Ping’ screen, ‘Null’ side table and ‘Kong’ – a “single sofa chair”.

Finland might have produced Alvar Alto but despite the massive importance of Swedish and Norwegian designers in the world of design at present Finland has been somewhat quiet. I sense that this is all about to change with Loumo Collective, a group of five young female designers: Hanna-Kaarina Heikkilä, Anni Pitkäjärvi, Hanna Särökaari, Elina Ulvio and Laura Väre, all from the small Nordic country.

A pair of ‘O’ pendants by Anni Pitkäjärvi as part of the Finnish Luomo Collective.

A pair of ‘O’ pendants by Anni Pitkäjärvi as part of the Finnish Luomo Collective.

The designers come from various parts of Finland but all work in Finland’s largest city, Helsinki. Even in contemporary design like this, timber and glass remain the staple ingredients for Finnish designers.

Made from etched blown glass with a timber ‘cork’ at the top, ‘Henki’ by Hanna-Kaarina Heikkilä uses an LED light source and produces a soft ambient light.

Made from etched blown glass with a timber ‘cork’ at the top, ‘Henki’ by Hanna-Kaarina Heikkilä uses an LED light source and produces a soft ambient light.

I have been a fan of Eindhoven studio, Daphna Laurens, since they designed the ‘Tafelstukken’ lamp in 2009, later released by Cappellini. The freshness resonated with me, and Daphna Isaacs Burggraaf and Laurens Manders (graduates of Design Academy Eindhoven in 2008), continue to create well proportioned and individual objects. Their sizable stand at Satellite Satellite used an unusual shade of soft blood red with black metal objects making a strong graphic statement.

Part of the Daphna Laurens stand at SaloneSatellite. The black on blood red stand really stood out both visually and for the individuality of the work.

Part of the Daphna Laurens stand at SaloneSatellite. The black on blood red stand really stood out both visually and for the individuality of the work.

American born, Rotterdam based designer, Rachel Griffin, Earnest Studio, holds a Bachelor of Arts in graphic design from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Design from the department Man & Living at the Design Academy Eindhoven. Participating in the past with influential young Dutch designers such as Lex Pott and David Derksen, this year she presented new work including the ‘Mill’ table lamp and ‘Stow’ table and bench. Much of her work explores materiality and modularity.

The ‘Mill’ light uses a central metal ball and gravity to control the position of the lamp and can be positioned around 360 degrees. Photo: Pim Top

The ‘Mill’ light uses a central metal ball and gravity to control the position of the lamp and can be positioned around 360 degrees. Photo: Pim Top

The ‘Stow’ table and bench by Earnest Studio uses soft curves to create an inviting appearance. Photo: Pim Top

The ‘Stow’ table and bench by Earnest Studio uses soft curves to create an inviting appearance. Photo: Pim Top

Dutch designer David Derksen  has been exploring patterns in metal mesh for many years and continued down this path with a new table light, ‘Lucid’.  He showed two other pieces – the ‘Sway’ floor lamps that recall yacht sails, and the ‘Reel’ stools based on the basic form of reels of thread.

David Dersen’s ‘Sway’ floor lights move with air currents on a rounded base.

David Dersen’s ‘Sway’ floor lights move with air currents on a rounded base.

There was another excellent collection of products on display by Finnish designers –Kasper Nyman and Simo Serpola. Suola / Salt is a collection that sits together despite being made from a host of different materials in a wide variety of styles ranging from a fine flowing metal armchair and sofa to crafted timber side table and edgy folding floor lamps.

Suola Salt collection by Kasper Nyman and Simo Serpola. Photo: Annikki Valomieli

Suola Salt collection by Kasper Nyman and Simo Serpola. Photo: Annikki Valomieli

Grace Souky, a Venezuelan born designer based in London, studied at the Pratt Institute in New York. She also holds a degree in architecture from Universidad Simón Bolívar in Caracas. At Satellite she showed her geometric ‘Planka’ side table made from marble and either rock maple or walnut. She also revealed her wonderful tableware collection called ‘Domestic Collectibles’ in brass, marble, glass, timber and copper. These objects for the table combine multi-functionality with great forms.

Grace Souky's ‘Planca’ side table. Photo: Morten Odding

Grace Souky’s ‘Planca’ side table. Photo: Morten Odding

Winning the 3rd place prize at Satellite is a big deal and ensures plenty of ongoing publicity for a young up-and-coming design studio. You can imagine how delighted Studio Nito (Nil Atalay & Tobias Juretzek) were to receive the prize given this was the first time they had been part of Satellite  (designers are allowed to enter a maximum of three times). The pair showed their ’Bobin’ collection of resin impregnated yarn furniture and a floor light called ‘Tint’. The studio is based in Kassel where they studied and both now teach part-time. Founded back in 2008 the Studio have only recently began showing their work outside of Germany.

The ‘Bobin’ collection by Studio Nito, made from woven resin soaked yarn

The ‘Bobin’ collection by Studio Nito, made from woven resin soaked yarn

One of the best stands at Satellite this year were Halle Berlin – a collaborative of Berlin based designers including Anna Badur, Anna Weber, Antje Pesel, and the delightfully named, Proof of Guilt. Guillaume Neu-Rinaudo is one half of Proof of Guilt which he founded with Birgit Severin after they both completed a Masters degree at Design Academy Eindhoven in 2013. The duo work across the fields of furniture, fashion and interior design and in addition to a range of metal and timber bathroom fittings they showed a pendant light by Neu-Rinaudo called ‘Alteration’. The light is height adjustable via a traditional pulley system but a separate dish shaped reflector is designed to sit on a bench, table or shelf and bounce light back up.

Guillaume Neu-Rinaudo / Proof of Guilt’s ‘Alteration’ pendant light

Guillaume Neu-Rinaudo / Proof of Guilt’s ‘Alteration’ pendant light

Another particular favourite was Anna Weber’s ‘Fram3’ collection of metal coffee, side and console tables that play with geometric fine lines and voids. Weber is based in Halle, not far from Leipzig.

Anna Weber’s ‘FRAM3’ console table uses flat bar steel set at an angle to create a delicate framework.

Anna Weber’s ‘FRAM3’ console table uses flat bar steel set at an angle to create a delicate framework.

Winner of the second prize for SaloneSatellite 2016 was Japanese design studio Bouillon with their ‘Warm’ stool – a terracotta stool that holds boiling water in the seat and keeps the sitter warm for many hours (just perfect for a potter forced to sit for hours in an icy studio!). The two founders of Bouillon, Shunya Hattori and Hiroki Nasu – an architect and a designer, met while studying product design at Nagoya University of Arts. The stool concept came from the ceramic teapots traditionally used to serve green tea in Japan. The stool is just one of a collection of objects that combine Norwegian birch plywood with terracotta elements.

The happy runners-up in the SaloneSatellite Awards, Japanese studio Bouillon with their award winning ‘Warm’ stool in the foreground.

The happy runners-up in the SaloneSatellite Awards, Japanese studio Bouillon with their award winning ‘Warm’ stool in the foreground.

The success of the last 19 years of Salone Satellite is indisputable. With 10,000 designers presenting their work over the years and some 300 design schools represented over the same period, the opportunities to show at a world class event have been astonishing. The fact that many now famous designers received their first big break at SaloneSatellite makes its founder Marva Griffin extremely proud. Designers like Staffan Holm, Daniel Rybakken, Stefan Diez and Sebastian Herkner will never forget it. Next year being the twentieth year, the event will no doubt be bigger than ever and full of celebration. What is key to the events success however is not its size or its location, but the quality of the work. Every designer who ever participates is carefully vetted. Year after year SaloneSatellite is a joy to visit and one of the most amazing places to discover exciting new talent.