If you plan to visit Milan's Design Week this year, the "Zona Tortona" area is definitely worth looking into. Specifically, the display area you definitely don't want to miss is Superstudio Più; the iconic center for designers and companies to showcase innovative creative projects. This year, notable exhibitions from France and Thailand display projects that involve intelligent technology applications, groundbreaking new uses for traditional and natural materials, 3D printers, and eco-friendly bicycles to suit everyone's tastes.
Created by Anek Kul Thaweesup of Labrador Factory, “Mumi” is a handmade bag made of 100 percent paper fibers. Made in Thailand, the bag is light, handy, can carry up to 6 kg and is totally recyclable. The company’s philosophy is to work with raw and natural materials for all their products, ensuring that everything is highly recyclable, and is produced with minimum waste production.
Cubbo is a small, all-purpose table designed at CABB that’s perfectly suited to small apartment spaces. It has three sides, with each one intended for a specific use: as a nightstand, magazine rack, or coffee table.The table’s construction and finishing are done by artisans local to CABB’s headquarters.
Dragon is an experimental user experience product by Digital Habits. It’s basically a modular chandelier that grows like a fractal with the addition of various panels, and can connect up to 256 modules. It uses LED lighting exclusively and it’s easily controlled by a simple smartphone app.
Another fascinating product by Digital Habits is the smart P.A.C.O. speaker, winner of the 2014 Red Dot Design award. The project involves the use of a thin box of concrete for structure in order to ensure the product’s longevity, and repurposed fir or walnut wood from a local carpenter. The speaker connects via Bluetooth to a digital device, and the music can be controlled by simply waving at the interface on top of the speaker.
Dots Design Studio from Thailand has created a few new versions of their Plybike, and they’re all spectacular. Each bicycle is handmade using traditional techniques, and the plywood used is made from a selection of oak, teak and black walnut. Bridging the gap between art and function, Plybike is a unique conceptual design bike that’s ideal for everyday use.
The FoldaRap by Emmanuel Gilloz is an open-source 3D printer based on the RepRap Project. It’s easy to assemble and foldable, so it can be brought just about anywhere. It’s amazing how many components of this 3D printer have been 3D-printed themselves, so this gadget is technically a product that can replicate itself.
Aérobie is an air quality control project created by Pierre Charrié. When CO2 levels rise to unhealthy levels, Aérobie starts to vibrate and sizzle. The sound signal emitted by the unit modulates to indicate the level of carbon dioxide in the room, letting occupants know that they need to crack open a window.
Grillo is a light, portable stainless steel barbecue that opens up like an umbrella.Due to its lightweight and re-closable system, this BBQ lowers its environmental impact by reducing space during both stocking and transportation. Designed by the formAxiom team: Mirko Bocek, Martin Oberhauser, and Alain Brideson.
Korakot Aromdee presents a series of lamps made of natural materials such as bamboo and hemp rope. The designer’s grandfather taught him traditional kite-making techniques, which have been adapted to assemble these eco-friendly lamps. Choosing the right bamboo for the pieces is an important aspect of the design, as the flexibility of 3-year-old seesuk bamboo in particular is most ideal for the lamps’ construction.
The AE21 HYbrid is a compact ebike designed By Neil Simpson at the Peugeot Design Lab. The bike has a motor located in its front wheel, and is powered by a compact Lithium-ion battery that’s been fitted smoothly into its frame. The body of the bike is constructed in aluminum, ensuring that this bike is quiet, light, and affordable.
Another brilliant example of sustainable comfort comes from French designer Laurent Greslin: meet Stacked, a 3-piece armchair that’s as easy to assemble as it is comfortable. This simple, lightweight piece is constructed from natural materials, including and recycled wood.
Mindbike is an innovative bicycle that can be assembled easily with just a few bolts. Made entirely from recycled aluminum (which can be recycled again in the future), Mindbike is the quintessential eco-friendly product. Additionally, the product is packed and shipped in a flat, slim box, thus cutting down on environmental impact via transportation as well.
Winner of the 2013 RedDot Design Award, Shroom is an outdoor lighting system created by Norwegian designers Birgitta Ralston & Alexandre Bau. Reacting to movement, Shroom lights up to full power when someone passes by, and then lowers to 10 percent strength once it’s alone again, thus saving energy and avoiding excess lighting in empty spaces.
Thierry Gaugain’s family of Blackbody Bell lamps is an interesting exploration of OLED technology. These organic-looking lamps emanate a peaceful and variable light, but maintain an incredibly low level of energy consumption.
+ Milan Design Week