During the past week, on April 9-14, a huge mob of “design lovers” turned up at the Salone Del Mobile (Milan Furniture Fair), at Fieramilano Rho, and swarmed into the whole city of Milan. At least half million people, over 2,000 exhibitors, over 1,400 events and installations at the Fuorisalone. In such scenario, which spreads design around mass awareness, leather has been everywhere (we truly mean it), through a number of “different versions and variations”, most of all, rather unconventional, and several solutions. Such solutions showed the peculiar versatility of leather, which can apply to design for home interiors, from wall to décor objects, therefore reaching innovative seating models. Luxury fashion houses and tanneries, together with home furnishings brands and fashion & luxury industry brands, were the stars of the events. There we go with some meaningful and relevant examples.
Louis Vuitton came back to Milan to present their Objets Nomades collection, which has been keeping alive, since 2012, the fashion house’s long tradition while creating travel articles, designed by famous international designers and manufactured thanks to their artisans’ talented expertise. Leather, of course, is the core of the project, which aims at making it a more and more precious element. One can see that from the choice made by two design studios, which had their debut in the LV installation, at Palazzo Serbelloni: Atelier Biagetti and Zanellato/Bortotto. The former created Anemona, a dining table with a glass shelf and a wavy ground base upholstered with soft leather, LV natural colour, outside. Conversely the latter, Zanellato/Bortotto, presented Mandala Screen, a screen made in a sophisticated Louis Vuitton leather braiding.
Conceria Bonaudo made a very particular installation, exhibited at the Grand Hotel et de Milan. The name given to the work is Musica da Viaggio (Travel Music): the author is designer Vito Nesta. Visitors could see it in the rooms where Giuseppe Verdi lived and died. “The real challenge of the project - pointed out Annalisa Russo in her presentation - hangs on selection of materials. Leather manufactured by Bonaudo, in a range of tints specifically created, proves to be a valuable element to design live spaces and interact with them: polychrome capsules, pulsing with energy, strictly connected to long-tradition interiors where they find their setting”.
Conceria Sicerp presented their collection and their creative view at the Nhow Hotel space, located in Tortona Street. Selection of hides and leather, alongside a tale about their own manufacturing attitude of mind and leather distinguishing flexibility, drew the attention and emphasized the value of leather. At this point, the world of design, which traditionally overlooked leather while opting for other solutions, will focus on leather. Yet, this year, at Salone and Fuorisalone the gap is seemingly rather limited.
Santoni footwear manufacturer implemented a collaboration with Cassina to revisit the Cab armchair, by Mario Bellini, and present it on three special editions. The design “deus ex machina” has been Patricia Urquiola, a worldwide renowned top-notch architect, and also Cassina creative director and Santoni’s partner on their retail projects. Santoni’s talented and expert artisans put together two different worlds, while hand painting the seating models: “they worked on the patina, which is Santoni’s crown jewel, to bring out and enhance the shaded off effect designed by Patricia Urquiola, therefore creating unique and original nuances”, with shades of oil green, lobster and sage-green. “I do feel honoured to work and liaise again with Patricia to create a special variation of the iconic Cab armchair, first made, in 1977, by Mario Bellini, an amazing architect and a personal friend - said Giuseppe Santoni, chief executive officer of the brand -: in my opinion, this is a tribute to Italy’s great design and our unmatchable expertise”.
Hermès confirmed, once again, their participation in Milan Design Week by exhibiting their Maison product line. At Pelota space, the French fashion brand presented their Raw Material exhibition, a journey across a few dry walls. The show proved to be a balanced collection of household items (carpets, tartan blankets, fabrics, wallpapers, vases, small boxes and, from this year, lamps as well), “designed and processed not to conceal the core and the appearance of materials, namely leather, bamboo or paper.