For the last four years, we have opened our Handmade exhibition during Salone del Mobile in April with a celebratory swirl of cocktails and design-centric conversation. Frankly, we've got quite good at it and it's become just about the hottest ticket of the week. Now that all the Handmade secrets are out in our August issue, we're giving those that never made it to Milan the chance to tour the exhibition as if they were there.
This year's shift of venue - from Brioni HQ to Claudio Loria's marvellous Leclettico gallery - didn't seem to deter or confuse. And the great and the good of the design world, including past and present contributors such as Naoto Fukasawa, Tom Dixon, Yves Behar, Jaime Hayon, Ron Gilad and Michael Anastassiades, among others, arrived in force on the opening night to enjoy bubbles from Veuve Clicquot, Handmade branded-bonbons from Hatziyiannakis, and fabulously fruity cocktails from Belvedere. Nibbles, meanwhile, were sourced from small local producers from across Italy.
Among our best-yet batch of one-off design collaborations were extra special presentations from Woolmark, Gaia & Gino and Verreum. Woolmark's research initiative, The Wool Lab, joined forces with Wallpaper* to collaborate with designers and architects Simon Heijdens, Jahara Studio, Emiliano Godoy, Esrawe Studio, Adam Goodrum Studio, Ron Gilad and Hassell to investigate the interiors applications of wool textiles.
The grande dame of Turkish design Gaye Cevikel meanwhile introduced a new project from her Gaia & Gino brand. For Enlightenment, she asked 14 design luminaries, including Karim Rashid, Arik Levy, Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance, Jürgen Mayer H, Jaime Hayon and Luke Pearson and Tom Lloyd to reinterpret traditional props of Turkish culture: hookahs, tables lamps and candle holders.
Rashid was also a contributor to Verruem's Love collection. The Bohemian glass-maker presented a 25-piece table top collection which also included new designs by Arik Levy and Sebastian Bergne.
While the crowd were wowed by another Handmade winning shot at ground level, Produzione Leclettico's debut collection was proving a hit on the gallery's first floor. And when things finally wound down at Leclettico, many of the guests took a very short stroll to the Wallpaper* SodaStream Lock In at the historic La Sala Liberty, where the ever impeccable Barnaba Fornasetti marshalled the dance floor from the DJ booth.