Perspectives: Wellbeing at Milan Design Week
Milan Design Week is the world’s largest and most important design event. To the initiated it’s hard to explain the size and scope of this international melting pot of exciting ideas when for five days an entire city transforms into a playground of incredible interior installations and the newest and most unique concepts for furniture, lighting and homewares.
This year it was heartening to see a genuine shift towards what is becoming known as the circular economy: sustainable, socially responsible design that provides hope for a new way of living. Here’s a snapshot of some of our favourite experiences.
Waste No More
For those in-the-know Li Edelkoort is the pioneer of trend forecasting for the design industry. Last year she was called upon by Google to curate an exhibition of its new homeware designs titled Softwear — a physical manifestation of a trend Edelkoort forecast 20 years earlier. This is one lady with her finger on the pulse of the future. Edelkoort’s collaboration this year was with American fashion designer Eileen Fisher in an installation called Waste No More. It featured exquisite “zero-waste” textile artworks made from a unique process, which transforms recycled designer clothing into new fabric. It’s a unique and hopeful journey with potential for use across many sectors including interiors. Watch the magic here.
A Space for Being
Perhaps the most intriguing, and almost unsettling, experience of the week was Google’s A Space for Being, which explored the rising field of neuroaesthetics. Visitors to the tech giant’s installation were given woven wristbands and asked to stop for exactly five minutes in three differently styled living spaces, to say nothing, and touch everything. At the end, in a Kubrickian white space, Google employees unstrapped your wristband and printed out the results of your body’s biological responses to each room. A circular watercolour-like rainbow, where red and orange represented excitement and blue and green equalled calm, aimed to scientifically quantify, which space made you feel most at ease. Ivy Ross, Google’s head of design for hardware says the experience was created to prove what many of us already intuitively know — that design is not just about practical problem solving but also about how it makes you feel. To discover Google’s version of your calm space you can experience the rooms here.
Ilse Crawford is one of the world’s more thoughtful designers so the launch of Wellbeing, her new collaboration with Spanish rug makers Nanimarquina is worth seeking out. Renowned for her human-centric approach to design Crawford and her studio has gone above and beyond to produce a collection of tactile rugs, cushions, throws and a super luxe hammock with as little impact on the environment as is humanly possible. From sourcing raw sustainable materials such as nettle, jute, linen and Afghan wool grown in the same locale as the rug-makers, to supporting communities of specialist craftspeople and producing luxuriously soft textiles minus any bleach or dyes, this capsule slice of homewares heaven is feel-good on every level. Discover the collection here.
Published Wednesday, 29th May 2019
By Studio Prineas
Ecru One (2018)
Linen, Wool, Cashmere
80in x 63in (203.2 x 160 cm)
When guests visit “A Space for Being,” they are asked them to put on these specially-made bands that capture how they respond to each room. Before their data is deleted from the band, each user receives a customized printout describing the space where they felt most “at ease.” Photo credit: Maremosso Studio.
A collection of textiles where the design and production was defined by four criteria – natural local fibres, hand spun, no bleach, no dyes – so as to minimise the impact on people and the environment and create a system of wellbeing. The collection includes rugs, a hammock for indoor spaces (pictured), cushions, a throw, and a wall tapestry, that support the human experience.