Spectacular exhibitions around the city are the norm during Milan's annual design week, the jostling for prime locations starting a year ahead of time. Kudos then to Czech glass company Lasvit who, having spent the past year restoring the 18th century Bohemian crystal chandeliers in the Napoleonic Staterooms at the Palazzo Serbelloni, snapped it up for a show-stopping exhibition of their new lighting and homeware collections.
But rather than relying on the enormous scale and opulent decoration of the rooms to set the scene, Lasvit cleverly introduced a series of sleek black cubist igloo-like structures within which you'll find the likes of Wallpaper* Handmade 2016 designer André Fu's 'TAC/TILE' family of horizontal and vertical pendants and lamps, each featuring a beautifully understated modernist glass brick-inspired hand-blown glass tile.
Further within, eight extravagant, ultra contemporary works include Moritz Waldemeyer's perfectly geometrical hexagonal glass 'Facet' chandelier; a playful nod to the lollipop with Boris Klimek's amorphous glass plate pendant lights; and Maurizio Galante's 'Ludwig', a reworking of neoclassical chandelier proportions with a mass of curvaceous industrial glass tubes. The standout piece is Maxim Velčovský's macabre 'Memento Mori' chandelier, inspired by a historic Czech chapel decorated with skeletons in 1870.
The final chamber is dedicated to Lasvit's eclectic glassware collection with the Campana Brothers' exuberant 'Candy' glasses and vases, Daniel Libeskind's sharply angular 'Ice' vases, and Michaela Mertlová's candy-coloured bubble-gum sculptures featuring the artist's teethmarks.
Meanwhile, on the ground floor, an eerie glowing green 3.3m high Intergalactic 'meteor' sculpture bristling with 1,500 individually illuminated hand made uranium glass bubbles by Lasvit in-house designers Petra Krausová and Libor Sošťák, was inspired by an asteroid that crashed to earth some 14 million years ago. Combining this rare natural glass with advanced lighting technology programmed for different effects and controlled by a mobile phone, the designers prove it is perfectly possible to blend tradition with inventive design. Bravo!