We've seen some great displays at this year's Milan Design Week, and the Spazio Rossana Orlandi exhibit was no exception. Established in 2002 in a former tie factory, the space is divided between two floors, and showcases creations from up-and-coming designers from across the globe. Many who exhibited at this show chose to display works created from recycled/upcycled materials such as plastic bottles, glass, wood, and metal, and have proven just how versatile reused items can be. Read on to check out some of the best and brightest that were on display!
Fisheye, from the Alcarol Bricola Collection
This series pays homage to the oak poles that have stood in Venice canals for centuries. Carved out and sculpted by the Teredo navalis shipworms, the logs are riddled with round holes and pockmarks; unique elements that the designers drew upon for these pieces. Since the poles eventually have to be discarded, Alcarol has gathered them and encased them in transparent resin, which keeps the air bubbles intact, and encapsulates each pieces as a historical artifact.
Based in Hamburg, Germany, Alexa Lixfeld uses traditional Bohemian glass-making techniques to create unique objects such as lamps and vases. Her focus is on handmade craft; she eschews industrial methods and ensure that each piece is as ethical as it is beautiful.
Andreu Carulla: Bowl/Bernardes
Founded in 2006, the Andreu Carulla Studio represents product designs from furniture to technology, jewelry, and industrial solutions. Here are two products that were exhibited at the Spazio Rossana Orlandi:
Bowl: When Andreu Carulla moved to the northeastern Japanese region of Toyama, he discovered Takaoka; a city of art and craft, with a long tradition in creating urushi-e lacquer, metalwork, and woodwork. During his visits to these talented craftsmen and artisans, and by working alongside them, Carulla has developed an innovative piece that combines tradition and modernity: a flexible plate made of 100 percent handcrafted laminated tin. It is an elegant piece, the main characteristic of which is that it can be re-formed as many times as needed to create other items such as a plate, vase, or tray, without losing its inherent properties.
This armchair and bench duo have a monastic look and feature bare wood combined with wickerwork; the armchair adopts slightly different proportions to traditional ones, so that the final result feels as if it wraps around you, whilst the chair is light, with a classic air to it.
Inverted Spaces, by BCXSY and Calico Wallpaper
Inverted Spaces is a line of sophisticated wallpaper designs based on NASA imagery as the Big Dipper, the Orion Nebula, and other starfields. Together with New York based Calico Wallpaper, BCXSY has created a non-repeating wall mural, celebrating the fascination of the infinity. Calico Wallpaper is a husband-and-wife design team who specialize in bespoke wallpaper. By combining digital design and printing technologies with traditional artisanal methods, the duo’s goal is to return wallpaper to the status of art.
Pietrasanta Industries and Carmine Deganello have created a new type of thermoplastic resin made from marble dust and tree resin. Fluid and malleable when warm, it hardens to a material that’s as strong as marble. Since the resin doesn’t contain any synthetic or toxic components, items made from it are wholly recyclable.
Moulds by Jan Plechac and Henry Wielgus
The artists have drawn upon a traditional Czech glassmaking technique that involves blowing glass into oak moulds. Plechac and Wielgus were inspired by old wooden moulds they discovered in a warehouse, and created this line of lamps that blends rustic wooden and iron forms with ethereal crystal glass.
Lucas Muñoz is a Spanish designer from the Netherlands who crafts pieces that take a radical look into the origins of what he is considering an “artificial environment”. This piece, called “Is on the lap of another person the first time we interact with the act of seating?” is made with leather and wood.
Sefefo Collection, by Mabeo
Mabeo is a furniture and accessories brand from Botswana, Africa, and their current collection, “Sefefo”, is being featured at the Spazio Rossana Orlandi. The long dining table designed by Patricia Urquiola is simple and elegant with a soft profile, standing on four sturdy legs that have been carved and brightly colored. The rest of the collection is designed by Peter Mabeo and consists of a storage unit with an intricate door, as well as basic chair made from plywood, solid wood, and leather cord weaving. These objects show the direction of universal simplicity, craft, and human-scale economic activity in Africa.
Marmo Fluido, by Studio Jeroen Wand
The diversity of Marmo Fluido, recipes in natural resin, is adventurous and inspiring. Created and made by Pietrasanta Industries and Carmine Deganello, Massimiliano Adami explores the possibilities of 3d-printing the resin into sculptural objects.
PET Lamp Ethiopia
It was four years ago that the PET Lamp project was founded in collaboration with a Columbian outreach program. Their goal is to recycle plastic that would otherwise pollute waterways in developing countries. For this year’s edition, they collaborated with a group of women for the Ethiopian association “Mothers of Twins”, helping women with twins who according to popular beliefs, were not “blessed by God” and were profoundly stigmatized socially. The lamps made by these women are perfect examples of Ethiopia’s colourful basket weaving technique, which has a long tradition and is common in rural parts of the country, with the Muslim city of Harar being one of the most famous for this craft. The traditional basket is known as a “coiled” basket, and is lit by a plastic bottle in the center, containing LED lights.
Piet Hein Eek
The scrapwood cupboard from 1990 was Piet Hein Eek‘s reaction against the prevalent craving for flawlessness. He wanted to show that products that aren’t perfect still can appeal to the sense of aesthetic and functionality. He has designed a product that could be made with limited means, with material that’s abundantly available. The main component of his collection is furniture made in small series, and his team is able to make even these products made-to-measure.
RyuKozeki, by Ambientec
Ambientec has been toying with innovative lighting design since 2012, and this year, they have created a new series of cordless lamps for the Spazio Rossana Orlandi show. “Bottled”, a cut glass LED lamp, has a cordless design and has the general shape and appearance of a wine bottle.
Lumist, by Teresa Van Dongen
Teresa Van Dongen looked for a way to use the heat lost by halogen lamps and created Lumist; a lamp and humidifier in one. The heat from the bulb keeps the surrounding water at boiling point causing it to evaporate, and more water in constantly provided by the adjacent reservoir. By capturing the contradictory traits of water and light in glass, Teresa visualizes this otherwise lost energy. Lumist was made possible by the National glass Museum and Glass studio of Leerdam.
Meteorites, by Von Pelt
This year at Spazio Rossana Orlandi, Von Pelt displays three pieces from the Meteorite collection: two crystal tables and a “meteolight” structure. The fascination with nature has been a recurring theme in Von Pelt’s design process, and she spent a long time with craftsmen and technicians on how to construct the perfect fantasy crystal geode. The pieces can be created in any color, shape, size, or texture as a personalized meteorite for the home.