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For Italian designer Lorenzo Damiani, saving resources is a mission. Damiani’s remarkable “New Life” installation, made entirely of pressboard, looks at how we perceive materials and associate them with a value, instead of looking at all of our resources as equally valuable. When you look at all the wonderfully designed pressboard objects, his message resonates instantly.

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Leave it to New Zealander Rebecca Asquith to create the “Nectar Lamp” with its implied reference to the strength and beauty of the honeycomb structure. Asquith and her Kiwi counterpart, Tim Wigmore, founded Designtree in 2010 to “design beautiful products that will resonate deeply with people and stand the test of time.” Through sustainability and beauty, this design duo uses recycled and repurposed materials in all of their products.

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Inside these faceless ceramic busts sits a ceramic vase in which Tania da Cruz of da Cruz Design not only encourages your inner green thumb, but also your inner hair stylist to create a “Wig” of your own. I overheard Marcel Wanders praising this young Milan-based designer for her nature and human inspired designs.

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Just like the wind-up toys of our youth, these object have reappeared only now with a more mature and practical function. The “You + Me” self-sufficient lamp from Siren Elise Wilhelmsen and Elisabeth Warkus of Jenkins & Wilhelmsen take the same idea of pulling a cord to create energy to power the device. Each piece is simple yet beautifully designed from wood and glass, and can be hand-held or hung as a bedside light source.

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Modularity is the key component behind the cleverly named “WoodU” furniture system from Italian designer Alex Nalesso of Skalo Design. The locally sourced bent plywood pieces can be added or subtracted to serve multiple functions depending on the users need, ranging from a stool, or a side table. The pieces can also be stacked to become a room partition or a shelving unit. Simply put, “WoodU” is sustains life through smart design.

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Looking up into the curing powers of Ezri Tarazi and Bezalel Academy students’ “Ultra-Gamma” installation gave many exhibit goers the chills. The installation imagines a future 50 years from now in which yet to be discovered frequency waves will heal just as Wilhelm Rontgen’s discovery of the x-rays revealed the unseen over a century ago.

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The work of Santiago design collective, gt_2P (short for great things to people) inspire not only in their precociousness and play with material and form, but with their social objectives, including helping artisans preserve their trade and protect the centuries-old teachings of local craft from extinction by the hands of mass production.

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“Future Tradition” is the brainchild of Jovana Chris Lei of China. Influenced by 2,000 year old Chinese umbrella craft, the trio is using traditional and sustainable materials and construction methods to create seemingly delicate yet astonishingly solid furniture in the form of tables, lighting, and chairs. Incredibly tactile, these chairs have created a new tradition all their own.

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Spanish designer Ruben Iglesias takes resourcefulness to an entirely new level with his line of products made of discarded magazine paper and the wooden shipping pallets. His Sofa Away Chair and Ottoman have been stuffed with crumpled up paper and are surprisingly comfortable. The piece is one more splendid example of how materials can be repurposed.


 

See all our 2011 Milan Furniture Fair coverage HERE >