The founders of Ventura Lambrate, Margriet Vollenberg and Margo Konings are celebrating a small milestone this year with the event successfully completing it’s 5th year. Ventura Lambrate once again drew the cream of the world’s younger and more alternative designers to what is now unarguabley one of the must see events of Milan Design Week. It’s mix of old factories and cool new concrete buildings are partly why it’s so popular with designers but it’s also the uncompromising nature of the curation ensuring all the exhibitors are of a very high calibre. As a venue it is a little out of the way, requiring a 20 minute metro ride from the city centre and a reasonable walk from station but once there, a visitor can spend many happy hours (or in my case an entire day) checking out hundreds of fresh new designs while enjoying some great food at the pop up bars and café’s set up for the event.
Bernotat & Co – ‘Radiolaria’ Luminescent lights
The ‘Radiolaria’ collection of pendant lights is a little different to the norm. While functioning as a regular pendant light with soft organic shapes in a textured textile, there is an inbuilt surprise that isn’t immediately evident. When you turn the lights out, the seams of the lights glow quite vividly. The lights absorb light in much the same way that watch dials do then glow in the dark when required. Phosphor stores light energy that is visible when viewed in the dark. The resulting lime green seams accentuate the forms that are based on micro-organisms. No internal structure is required as the lights are made from a 3D textile that is self-supporting once sewn into interconnected shapes.
Back again for the third year running, German brand, Dante Goods & Bads continues to move in its own direction creating objects and graphics with a very personal aesthetic. The incredible engraving-like illustrations of artist and co-founder of the brand, Aylin Langreuter, formed the slightly sinister backdrop. The range is predominantly made of wood with two of the designs inspired by traditional Tyrolean chairs. Industrial designer and founder, Christophe de la Fontaine, collaborated with Rosenthal to create a beautiful portable rechargeable lantern in porcelain with a luxurious leather handle. The presentation as always was wonderfully unique.
Design School Kolding, otherwise known as DSKD, showed seven conceptual installations under the banner ‘The Tube’ where seven recent graduates were each supplied thier own shipping container in which to create their art works.The Tube was quite varied depending on the discipline of the designer but one example, cutely entitled ‘Can a room be loom?’ by Rosa Tolnova Clausen, involved a type of ‘crowd weaving’. Each day a large warp grid was set up and visitors were encouraged to participate using supplied strips of Kvadrat fabric and the entire process was filmed over the week. The idea was to create communication between the spur of the moment weavers as much as to create an interesting weaving.
Emiel Remmelts – Stacked Objects shelving
Dutch graphic and product designer, Emiel Remmelts is a graduate of Utrecht School of the Arts and showed his ‘Stacked Objects’ as part of the college’s ‘The ordinary in transition’ exhibition of work by five alumni. The shelving has been shown at several design fairs since he graduated in mid 2013 but it’s balance of designed structure and found objects remains an intriguing concept. Inspired by the work of the Russian architect and graphic designer, El Lissitzky, Remmelts enjoys the intersection of 2D and 3D where the found objects form a type of collage with each unique composition defining the appearance of the shelf.
Another college that created interactive spaces was Géneva University of Art & Design (HEAD). Their installation ‘Conversation Piece’s’, involved a series of rooms that were inspired by iconic films – a giant wooden library space inspired by Luis Bunuel’s ‘Belle de Jour’, a romantic paper bedroom inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rebecca’ and a fluoro pink Living Room inspired by the film ‘Le Mepris’ by Jean-Luc Goddard.
Showing as part of a group of designers based in Arnhem, the Netherlands, ‘Workmates Depicted’ was a wonderfully diverse show encompassing lighting, furniture, artistic luggage and inventive cooking contraptions presented by Rick Tegelaar, Klaas Kuiken, Joris De Groot and Casper Tolhuisen.
The modern day interpretation of traditional wrought iron work presented by Klaas Kuiken might appear rickety but in fact the pieces are quite robust and strong. Made by a process that involves polystyrene foam moulds (lost foam technique), the general feel of the products reminds me of objects made from pipe cleaners as a child – spindly and top heavy but instantly appealing. Several different shapes of cabinet and a stool are available with red or blue laminate covered plywood seats and doors. Kuiken also works in glass – reshaping recycled glass bottles into interesting new vase forms.