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dispatches from milan: salone satellite part 1

by Grace Bonney

[today i’m thrilled to welcome dana from for a special two-part series covering highlights of the milan furniture fair. part 2 will be up tomorrow, and i hope you enjoy part 1 this morning. thanks, dana!]

Hello everyone. My name is  and I am so thrilled to be able to share with you some Milan highlights from my recent trip to . Thank you so much Grace for having me.

Before we begin, I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself – I am an interior designer based in Sydney, Australia with a passion for good design. I write a blog called  where I share my design inspiration and focus on showcasing established and emerging talent in the areas of interiors, architecture, art, fashion, photography and anything else that I love. I am on a mission to inspire others using design as a tool, so that they can become the best they can be. I also like to take lots of photos, both with my  and a proper camera, although I am not nearly as clever with photography as my husband  on . {If you are wondering why I called my blog , you can find the answer in .}

I was lucky enough to spend 7 days in Milan during the , the single biggest annual event in the world of design, which sees hundreds and thousands of visitors flock to the city to witness the latest products and trends. It is almost impossible to explain the size of the fair and the volume of people and “stuff” on show. It is quite difficult to digest it all and if one goes unprepared, it is easy to start feeling panicked that you are barely scratching the surface.

CLICK HERE for the rest of dana’s post and 15 photos from the show!

The gigantic exhibition centre at Rho is epic – you could easily spend a week just going from stand to stand. Not that you would ever want to do that, as most of the interesting events happen outside the fair. Milan seems to have an endless supply of dilapidated industrial buildings, where young designers can exhibit their edgy creations in a more interesting setting. Then there are all the individual showrooms throughout Milan, the ever popular , many other fringe events clustered in various pockets around the city. Oh yes, it’s BIG!

And as though the Design Week wasn’t eventful enough, this year it coincided with a massive Icelandic eruption which caused chaos amongst the international jetset and trapped quite a few people in Milan, including myself.  Luckily for me, who was in a state of “panic” about having so much to do and see with not enough time, I was really pleased that my stay in Milan was extended from 4 to 7 days.

Today I’d like to share with you some of my favourite things I came across at , a small event held as part of the main fair, but with a focus on young and emerging designers.



“A chair made with sorghum cushions. The inspiration comes from the will to bring to life a craftsmanship lately abandoned and connected to Italian tradition of broom-making, through its use in an unusual field. I met one of the last five producer of sorghum broom in Venice area {, an adorable man who’s continuing this art with great love for the job}and I was surprised by the flexibility and richness of this material. The metal frame is painted in pastel colours giving the chair a warm and reassuring feeling. Thanks to the sorghum fiber flexibility, the backrest adapt itself to the back of the user, providing great ergonomic.”


“Armchair suitable for outdoor use, with a metal frame and two cushions made of sunbeds’ PVC fabric. This textiles when strongly used lose their physical qualities, but can be used to make cushion and pads, so they won’t receive mechanical stress. The armchair is stackable, and can be used indoor as well as outdoor.”


“How many polar bears have you drowned in your life?

Due to global warming, polar bears are an endangered species. They live on the ice, the ice melts and more and more polar bears drown. Global warming awareness can be raised even with the smallest of gestures. A sugar bear drowning in your coffee or tea is an everyday reminder how fast these creatures can disappear.“


“Bonbons is a family of chandeliers. The lamp-shade construction is made of coated steel wire radius 3mm, and cotton strings are over, filling the gaps between the construction. Cotton that will be used for making those lamps is a leftover from a previous collection of a knitwear company called Ivko-knits.”

Vime stool by / Branko Nikolic, Milan Stefanovic, Petar Savic

“Vime is a three-legged stool, a contemporary interpretation of side seating, inspired by the rural. The idea was to achieve a contemporary form, but to remind us of the primeval. The inspiration was combining symmetrical forms produced on the turning-lathe. It is simple to make, eco-friendly, suitable for industrial production or simple manufacture.” {Btw, “vime” means “udder” in serbian!}

Woofers by

“This is functional kitsch; the wrong becomes the new right. By adding a function to an otherwise grotesque object, it acquires new aesthetic values, becoming an object of desire.

Pun intended; these woofers hold the midst between an addition to your sound system and your loyal 4 footed companion. They are engineered by a professional audio studio, and sound remarkably well. Available as a co-axial speaker system [two dogs].”

Origami Hunter by / Veronica Posada & Elio di Carlo.

“Origami Hunter is an abstraction of the traditional wall of a hunter. The animal heads handing on the wall have been reinterpreted as a collection of lamps and have been designed following the principles of origami. The series of animals consist on a rhinoceros, a deer and a goat.”

“My Granddaughter’s Cabinet” collection by

My Granddaughter’s Cabinet, Generous Chair, Put A Spin On It Table, Pompom Pendant Lamp, Pompom Pouf and Gloria Mirror. I spoke to the lovely Lisa who shared a story of how she worked on some of these pieces with her new born baby strapped to her back, which gave her a lot of inspiration and energy. Isn’t that just so beautiful?

Lian by

“Underneath the glass dome you can highlight, display and save personal favorites, heirlooms or souvenirs.”

Design Scapes {six positions} by

I met Horst Philipp, one of the three designers from the , a young design group from Austria dealing with product and interiors. One thing that struck me about these guys is that they sure know how to have fun, and I absolutely love that. Shown above (top to bottom): Milky Star ceramic hanger, Saddler easy chair, Mrs Robinson chest of drawers, SoftCell acoustic panel and Bubbles rug. And how excellent is the art direction and photography of their shoot? Brilliant!

Phenomena Room Divider by

This room divider is based on the concept of light phenomenon – the movement of light brings a fantastic illusion due to its reflection, refraction and shadow. This organic and curvaceous screen mimics the movement of light and shadows, while segmenting open spaces.

Product Exibition by

Apart from being alive by themselves thanks to their own individual expressive force, the objects presented also have aspects in common; every object contains in itself a characteristic and its opposite (heavy/light, empty/full, pleasant/unpleasant, etc.) and it is by this continuous dialogue between its parts that a formal and conceptual composite balance is achieved. From top to bottom – Ashtray/Incense Burner, Prisoner Fruit tray, Saltimbanco Candlestick. {How good are their concept sketches? Love!}

Washstand/ private space furniture collection by

Since linving room and kitchen have been growing together as the public spaces of a private home, this furniture meet the same trend taking place at the private areas such as bathroom and bedroom. Clear and straight design, white and soft colors combined with natural wood and open space interior arrangements create an atmosphere of comfort, ease and recreation. The washstand is based on the tradition of washstand pitcher formerly having been used on a simple table or cupboard within the sleeping room. It combines functionality and aesthetics to install a more open space within home.

Still lives/ Objects for domestic space by

Fitment, toy, luxury good, sculpture. Stuffed toy, gym equipment. Projection area. Confounding. Adorable. They deliberately defy all definition. There is both something confounding and liberating about it. In any case, they are a welcome change in an unexpected direction.

Fun seating, meeting and interactive areas throughout SaloneSatellite. Mask chairs in the bottom image are called NEMO, by Italian manufacturer . Designed by the Italian architect .

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