Creatives explored all dimensions of sustainability at Milan Design Week 2013 - from recycled flip-flops to designer bacteria - and the Ventura Lambrate design district really stood out this year when it came to innovative material use. Inhabitat was on the scene to handpick the very best of the best — check out some of our favorite pieces after the break.
A collective of designers working under the name of Slowd is collaborating with craftsmen to explore different, more sustainable ways to manufacture products. Nicola Dalla Costa worked with makers in Italy to create a range of wooden stools and tables that are held together by rope. He showed his products at the Slowd presentation at Ventura Lambrate
Inger Steinnes created a new raw material made of used coffee grounds, plaster and colour pigments. The material looks and feels like ceramic and it has a beautiful colour.
Using a very common cellulose bacteria, Jannis Huelsen grew a cover for a wooden stool in his studio. The material is leather-like, and is natural and biodegradable.
Think in Cycles presented a 3D projection of a chair in Milan – and they’re planning to wait until 1000 units have been sold to start production in an eco-effective way. The chair will be made of opla, a raw material made of corn, and once its lifecycle is complete it’s designed to biodegradable within just 3 months.
Booo is a Dutch company from the ‘lightbulb’ city of Eindhoven that wants to replace every old-fashioned bulb for a LED light. Design duo Formafantasma unveiled their latest product: a lightbulb and lampshade in one.
Puff by Barmaper Design is a stool that comes flat packed with a bicycle pump. You have to inflate the metal seating yourself, and attach the set of wooden legs.
Diederik Schneeman used flip-flops that washed ashore on Kenyan beaches to create a new raw material. With makers from Nairobi, he created a collection of lamps and vases. In Milan he presented his latest design: a table.
A group of 20 young designers from all over the globe meet every year in Milan to decide upon a theme for next year’s group presentation. This year, they all designed something that reminded them of their grandmother. Wilhelm Teller noticed his grandmother collected plates from all over the world, so he decided to recycle the products and create cake plates. What’s in a name? ‘Teller’ means ‘plates’ in German.
Mumbai-based designer Avni Sejpal used old silk saris to create this stool. The fabric is folded in the same way a turban would be wrapped around the head.
Foodmade was one of the most interesting presentations at Ventura Lambrate. The exhibition challenged 17 designers to use food as a raw material – and they created pieces that provoke, intrigue and make our mouths water. Antonio Arico created garden furniture of olive wood and invited guests to polish the wood with olive oil and taste the oil while they’re it.
Designer Leonardo Talarico found that tofu is actually a solid material for making things after it is dehydrated and exposed to thermal shock. He mad an entire chair out of little slabs of tofu.
Gruppo di Installazione wants to preserve the traditional skills of Italian manufacturers. This group of designers combined ancient weaving techniques with new technology, such as laser cutting. At Ventura Lambrate at Work they presented their collection of home textiles called ‘The Man-Machine.’
Photos: © Irene Vermeulen for Inhabitat