In the middle of a busy fair season, Ambiente always manages to gather a significant crowd of designers, manufacturers and companies under the halls of Frankfurt’s Messe. The fair’s strength lies in the way it manages to combine large producers with smaller projects, always including a well-edited selection of young designers united under the vast ‘consumer goods’ umbrella.
This year, the USA joined Ambiente as international guest of honor, following on from last year’s Japanese edition. Designer Scott Henderson curated the Seashore Galore display, an installation that played with oversized beach icons over a serene seafront background. ‘I was going for a universally positive expression that would put a smile on people's faces,’ explains the designer. Another American contribution included Roll & Hill founder Jason Miller’s café space in one of the exhibition halls, a discreet ‘lifespace’ of contrasting volumes.
Amongst the news on display was the well-curated Olio range by Barber Osgerby for Royal Doulton, a capsule collection that played with matte and shiny surfaces and subtle shapes and colours. Ionna Vautrin’s Clover lights for Lexon and Jonas Wagell’s glassware for WMF provided two cleverly-executed design highlights. Stelton’s Stockholm Aquatic collection by Bernadotte & Kylberg presented a new interpretation of Scandinavian design, with hand-painted porcelain in white and blue.
The fair also widened its scope with the exhibition of Basket Case, a charitable project involving design and craftsmanship from Botswana. Designers Matali Crasset and Sebastian Herkner traveled to the African country to Bulawayo basket- making community of women in Zimbabwe.
Another highlight was Sebastian Bergne’s fourth edition of the 'Solutions' exhibition, this year focusing on kitchenware and creating a bridge between good design and intelligent function that very much represents the fair’s core.