Each year since 1998, 700 young people show and exchange ideas at Salone Satellite at Milan Design Week and the exhibit has proven to be an exciting way to showcase budding talents and creativity. Gathering brilliant young minds from around the world, the Salone Satellite is the place to find the most experimental and creative designs at the Salone del Mobile fair in Rho, Milan. Click on to see a round-up of our favorite designs from this year's exhibition.
Each design featured tells a story about modernity and the desire that these young designers have to experiment with daring shapes and recycled materials, while maintaining a connection with the natural world. These designs show how the artists are part of a growing desire to get back in touch with nature in two different ways: one, by bringing natural elements back into the home that people can interact with and, two, by using natural materials like recycled wood chips or to bring a sense of nature indoors. The Salone Satellite is definitely a must see for a bit of creativity and freshness as an alternative to the other well established firms exhibiting at the Salone del Mobile.
Adam Bilsborough / James Strankali – Construction Lamp
The Bamboo and Stainless Steel ‘Construction Lamp‘ aims to evoke childhood memories of playful construction and brings creativity back into adult life. The lamp invites the user to interact with and adapt the light to suit their own needs. Conceived in natural raw materials and available in kit form, the initial assembly experience offers an insight into its construction and gives the user the confidence to modify and adapt as needed – an experience missing from most modern production.
Alessandra Meacci – Dharma Project
Alessandra Meacci returns this year to exhibit at the Salone Satellite after her initial exhibition in 2013. Her design, called the Dharma Project, was created with the aim of decorating interior spaces with natural shapes, and to truly bring nature back into our homes. Her designs never have the same appearance because her objects can be interacted with, allowing users to create their own unique design. The project investigates the opportunities for using the same basic element to create different design solutions, combining the advantages of standardized production with the versatility of the self-assembly, leaving the creativity up to the owner.
“I choose the hexagonal cell as basic module; I was inspired by the geometry of the hive and, more generally, I was looking for a recurring form in nature. I wanted to give an “organic” feature to the projects, because I think that the object of design is something alive in the environment in which it is located, and lives of the changes of the light and the way it interacts with the people using it”, Alessandra describes her project.
Caterina Tiazzoldi – Nesting Nature
Looking like a small, wild village setting, Nesting Nature by Caterina Tiazzoldi – one of the honor guest installations at the Salone Satellite 2015 – is like a breath of fresh air in the middle of the rigid exhibition space. The composition evokes the idea of the fragile balance between man and nature reflected in the structure’s lightness and flexibility. In a sequence of posed fluid spaces bounded by vegetal textures, the installation is created with a combination of wooden rails to support an elastic structure that accommodates palms leaves. The project was inspired by the Everglades National Park located in Florida, one of the most delicate ecosystems on the planet. It was conceived during the artist’s one month long visit to the park as Artist in Residence.
Dossofiorito – Epiphytes
Epiphytes is a collection of suspended vases in white ceramic by Dossofiorito, offering an alternative to the traditional potted cultivation of houseplants, allowing viewers to not only see the leaves of the plant, but also its roots. With this system, the plant roots are not contained in the vase, but they envelop it instead, making it possible to fully observe the plant and to admire its growth.
“Epiphytes are all those plants that in the wild, instead of rooting in the soil, grow seizing on branches or leaves of other plants and trees. They are not parasite, as they don’t take away nourishment from the hosting plant, only using it as support,” says the artist.
The project Epiphytes invites to rethink the relationship with indoor nature in terms of a more respectful cohabitation which is more attentive to the needs of these particular plants. To create each piece, the artist uses porous and glazed ceramic, stainless steel and cork.
Kappes – Continuum
Using a collection of wires arranged in a variety of different ways, Kappes has created a dazzling work of art. Each piece is made to move and whirl to create an ethereal narrative between objects and light, capturing movement in a terrarium of glowing radiance.
Mapù Guaden – The sound of Earth
Mapu Guaquén “the sound of the Earth” are clay speakers that combine old pottery tradition with the latest wireless audio technology. Each speaker has a soft, raw look thanks to the handmade shape and the use of earthy colors and cork finishing around the central speaker.
Interestingly, the rounded shapes can be combined to create sets of one, two, three or more speakers altogether in a totally natural-looking combination of the most advanced sound technology.
Pepe Heykoop – Designing for sustainable communities project
At a first glance, products by the designer Pepe Heykoop look almost an experiment of mathematic objects. In reality, they are not as complicated as they look. Each piece is made up of clear, simple numbers about the people that the project has helped to raise out of poverty in India. The young designer – together with the charity Tiny Miracles – started a business of designing hand made products with the aim of giving work to women of the red light district in Mumbai. They focused on a community of about 700 people and the ambition is to to lift this small community from ‘very poor’ to ‘middle class’ within the next 7 years, with the goal that by 2020 the community will be self-supporting.
All the products come flat packed and have been handmade by the women of the community. They currently employ over 100 women who manufacture the designs. Another great example of how design in a sustainable economy can help to change the world.
Philipp Kaefer – ReTree
ReTree is a series of furniture molded from woodchips. Inspired by the process used to make plywood panels, the pieces are characterized by the visual appearance of the materiality they are made of. Features of solid trees are restored, whilst the characteristics of industrial manufacturing are exposed. Colored woodchips are pressed into products with the naturalistic appearance of trees.
Studio Avni Chamki Totem Series
What’s the best way to recover unused Indian clothes if not turning them into a piece of furniture? This brilliant and eco-friendly idea comes from Avni Sejpal, an Indian designer with a passion for re-use.
Although she has studied in London, Avni clearly has maintained in her practice a deep connection with the traditions of her country of origin. The Chamki Totem Series is a sustainable collection of sculptural seating presented at the Salone Satellite 2015, made by converting discarded saris – vividly draped garments worn by Indian women – pairing them with local found wood and handcrafted by local Indian artisans.
The designer says she “likes to explore design innovations through research and tactile manipulation of organic and geometric shapes and re-contextualizing traditional and unconventional materials, exploiting their inherent qualities”.
Triple Bottom – Line Uisca
This organically formed modeled lighting system consists of recycled polymer, photo-luminescent material and LED. Called Uisca, it is an unusual lighting system that reminds the viewer of soft water drops. A composition of several lamps, the design recalls a dream-like scenery where a soft rain falls from the ground up, in a setting where time seems suspended. The designer SatoshiYanagisawa shows hat sustainability and environmental friendly designs can go hand in hand with modern and experimental shapes.
all photos by the author for Inhabitat