'Best' is always a big claim and Design daily is generally reluctant to use it. In this instance it is to replace a far more convoluted description such as 'most interesting production pieces' So for the sake of brevity I have acquiesced. The following products are not intended to be a definitive list as despite every effort to see as much as possible over a 10 day period I have to admit that there are probably dozens of items that should appear in this round up that were unfortunately missed.
Rather than writing about every designer and brand featured in this post I have decided only to include captions and in a number of occasions links to company websites. The rest, dear reader, is up to you to discover through the wonders of the world wide web. Enjoy.
2017 was the year of the cabinet - there seemed to be an avalanche of fabulous concepts from the extremely delicate to the Brutalist. The extensive use of pattern, texture and colour was also very much in evidence.
Before cabinet overload sets in, lets look at a few lighting designs that stole the show at Euroluce and other locations around the city.
UK lighting designer Michael Anastassiades may be more well known for his elegant use of metal rods but he also tried his hand at creating lighting using the wonderful spray on material introduced to lighting by George Nelson in the 50's. This follows other Flos designers: Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni's 'Taraxacum' and 'Viscontea' pendants in 1960, Tobia Scarpa's 'Fantasma' floor lamp in 1961 and Marcel Wanders' 'Zeppelin' pendant in 2005 and 'Chrysalis' floor lamp in 2011.
In a similar style but a completely different material, Ingo Maurer introduced new designs from his MaMo Nouchies collection first launched over a decade ago. Unlike the rubbery spray on material used by Anastassiades for Flos, Maurer's Momo Nouchies lights are constructed from pleated paper.
More beauty from Anastassiades but more in his typical style, the Arrangements collection of interconnecting loops was also designed for Flos.
LED is allowing every designer to play with shapes that had previously been impossible no longer do they need to disguise the bulb. Dutch designers Their & van Daalen embrace the LED strip inside a perspex rod as a way to support their flexible textile 'shade'.
In a similar vein as the Yabu Pushelberg light are a number of pieced for Flos by Konstantin Grcic and Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec. Intensely vertical, these pieces offer something completely different than the usual pendant and floor light. The 'Nocta' collection by Grcic is composed of several floor table and pendant variations that utilise modular comments that can be joined to add height.
Below left is the 'Heliacal' floor lamp by OS&OOS for Fontana Arte. Previously shown at Rossana Orlandi as a prototype, the wonderful 'Heliacal' lamp is inspired by astronomical phenomena in the rising of the sun and moon. On the right is Umut Yamac's new floor light 'Bloom' that is made from folded paper and brass. Yamac has previously released lights with Moooi made from folded paper that resembled birds perched on a wire.
The use of exotic stone in design has erupted - pun intended as this has brought about not only an interest in onyx and unusual marbles but also in Lava Stone. The Italian studio CRTLZAK premiered their 'Antivol' lava stone side tables shown below left and marble specialist Citco amazed with their ability to cut the most complex of shapes from solid marble. Aria Levy's 'Mineral Structures' for Citco are shown below right. Lava stone was also being promoted by Danish - Italian ceramic specialist Made a Mano who showcased a range of their tiles and furniture pieces made from glazed lava stone at Palazzo Litta. Made a Mano also collaborated with New Zealand born Dutch based designer Sabine Marcelis at the Wallpaper* Holy Handmade show creating her massive lava stone block called 'Altar' shown below.
From the hardness of lava stone to the softness of a rug / wall hanging with fringes........This beautiful design by was seen at Masterly, the Dutch Design platform exhibited in Palazzo Turatti. Part of a show on Dutch products inspired by the De Stijl movement, this piece combined a variety of pile heights and textures along with the fringing. Like all good De Stijl pieces from the past, it's all about composition but the use of that shade of blue certainly helps.
Rugs are something that is always exciting during Milan Design Week. Competition between brands like Nodus, cc-tapis and Golran runs hot as they seek out the world's most interesting designers to create limited edition and production rugs. Shown below left is 'Colour Stamp (Pillole)' by Florian Hauswirth and on the right is the religious motif inspired 'Cangaco' by the Campana Brothers - both are from Nodus. Other designers this year included Maarten Baas, Constance Guisset and Nendo.
Nendo, in his inimitable fashion has produced a rug collection that not so much offers different interpretations on the one rug concept as much as three stages of producing the same rug (does that mean he gets paid three times for designing the one rug)? Anyhow, its a lovely concept where the rug can be bought in what appears to be various stages of completion. The final completed stage feels quite traditional while the other two feel suspended as if the maker had gone out to the shops to buy milk. Others might describe it as an interesting play on positive and negative space.
While cc-tapis has become quite famous for its bright geometric rug styles by the likes of Patricia Urquiola and Alex Proba of late they have always maintained a quieter side that deals with natural colours and textural elements provided by different yarns and by a variety of pile styles and lengths. These rugs such as the 'Quadro Celeste' rug range by Studio Pepe and Chiara Andreatti 's 'Primitive' range, don't get as much press coverage but are probably an easier style to live with long-term. Adding to this side of cc-tapis' collection is a new series of rugs by Faye Toogood - two of which, 'Patch' and 'Rope' can be seen below.
Every year there are a certain number of reissues of important past designs. This year it was time to recognise he overwhelming talent of Angelo Mangiarotti. Gio Ponti and Gino Sarfatti have been a big draw card for several years and companies seem to uncover another one or two of their designs each year. Molteni has been reissuing Ponti thick and fast in recent years but Milanese brand Tato has got into the act and reissued the sublime 'Luna' glass floor lamp that resembles a glass version of Isamu Noguchi's famous 9A paper lamp.
Other Ponti reissues include the marvellous D156.3 chair from Molten & C. The wooden frame has an upholstered pad that flows from the back to the seat over wide elasticated straps. Molteni also reissued the D151.4 chair which can be seen here.
Danish label Karakter reissued two Mangiarotti gems - the 'Aida' from 1988 below left & 'Lari' from 1978 below right.
Another important reissue courtesy of Tacchini is the 'Oliver' sofa by Gianfranco Fratelli from 1957. The upright sofa has much of the same attributes as a Florence Knoll sofa from the same period but incorporates a beautiful metal leg detail where the open legs are filled with timber near the foot.
The chair below is called the 'Leggia Hydro' and is from Baxter. While its not a reissue it definitely has the feel of a classic mid-century sling chair - part Charles Pollock chair, part Hardoy Butterfly chair.
Those who love the colour known as 'blush' were treated to an endless variety of examples as designers incorporated it in installations, products, photography and just about everything imaginable. In addition there was a lot of burgundy and Bauhaus red (see Apparatus studio below and Michael Anastassiades' lighting for Nilufar).
Cc-tapis also released a beautiful new rug collection by the super talented Dutch textile designer, Mae Engelgeer, that combine pattern and subtle colour in a highly sophisticated way. She has been a regular standout in new textile design over the last decade. If you haven't checked out her work you definitely should.
Zanotta released a new bed called 'Hotel lRoyal' that provided a wonderfully austere bed with just a few tight button details and decidedly petite head and foot boards in linen. Advertising photography then dressed this up in a sea of blush - not all that successfully in my view. Simplicity verging on austerity and pink just don't seem to go together no matter how soft that pink is.
Just so so you don't think the chair page is missing......here are a few of the chairs that embodied the trend for bulky, rounded forms - many of which had either overtly fine legs or no legs at all with a seat that went right to the floor. The modular sofa range below is the 'Okome' by for Alias.
The trend for overstuffed simple forms continues and this year saw an array of the large and heavily padded.The chair below is the 'You' by Luca Nichetto for French label Coedition.
While some chairs didn't conform to the chunky and round still exuded that overstuffed men's club feel. The 'Adda' chair by Antonio Citterio for Flexform is a prime example.
The chair on the left is the latest design for Porro by Gam Fratesi called Kite. ON the right is 'Roma' by Jonas Wagell for Tacchini. Both have vintage connotations but are deeper than most 50's designs and highly comfortable.
All that's left to show are a few oddities that Design daily found particularly appealing / interesting. Sometimes there aren't reasons why an object is appealing - it just resonates with you and this handful of objects are a few of the ones that did.