My Salone: leading designers on what to see and how to survive the fair

Boy and girl
(Image credit: Luke Hayes)

Raw-Edges
Israeli product designers Yael Mer and Shay Alkalay (partners in life as well as work) launched their studio Raw-Edges in 2007 having met at London’s Royal College of Art. Established as part of OKAY Studio (opens in new tab), a collective of nine designers in Stoke Newington, Raw-Edges recently moved to Stuttgart, where they continue to attract phenomenal attention worldwide with their experimental, playful approach to the design of furniture, systems and things

What are you doing in Milan this year?
We will be showing Jaws - a new, very exciting project with Established & Sons; Box - a collapsible laptop desk with Dutch manufacturer Arco; Tex, for Mutina (opens in new tab), which is a new tile collection with a texture stolen from a textile we found; and finally Selvedge - an armchair prototype for Kvadrat’s Hallingdal 65 exhibition

What are you most looking forward to seeing?
To be truly honest, and without wanting to seem too self-centred we are really looking forward to seeing our own projects finished. We worked on all of them for long time and we won’t see the final versions before Salone. And then of course we are looking forward to meeting our friends that we haven’t seen so much of since moving to Stuttgart

What would be your top tip of where to eat/drink/stay in Milan during Salone week?
Grom Ice Cream (opens in new tab) (try the Fior de Latte), Corso Buenos Aires, 13

And your top Milanese souvenir to bring back?
There is a fantastic small electric shop for lighting in Corso Como with a great selection of coloured electric cables. We try to pass by and get few meters even if we don’t have specific project in mind

What’s the most useful Italian phrase during Salone week?
Scusate, dove si trova la più gustosa pizza in città? (Excuse me, where can I find the most delicious pizza in town?)

Interview: Henrietta Thompson

Man wearing spectacle

(Image credit: press)

Jasper Morrison
Jasper Morrison has been on the Salone circuit for longer than we can remember. The granddaddy of soulful minimalism, Morrison is the designer every other designer name checks. He has worked for all the big guns, from Vitra and Alessi to the Tate Modern.

What are you doing in Milan this year?
The biggest new project is for Kettal, the Spanish outdoor furniture company. It's a complete outdoor collection, which has been three years in the making. Then I have some continuation projects for Vitra, Alias and Maruni; a new project of cast iron cookware for the Japanese company Oigen; new pieces for Glas Italia and a sofa system for Cappellini.

What are you most looking forward to seeing?
The finished pieces!

What would be your top tip of where to eat/drink/stay in Milan during Salone week?
I like La Collina Pistoiese on Via Amedei very much and Bar Basso [Via Plinio] of course. Hotels are more difficult, I gave up looking some years ago and found a small studio to rent.

And your top Milanese souvenir to bring back?
A photo on the roof of the duomo?

What's the most useful Italian phrase during Salone week?
Scusami (sorry).....

Interview: Malaika Byng

Women wearing jacket

(Image credit: Kristina Hrabetova)

Inga Sempé
One of France’s most wanted designers, Inga Sempé set up her own studio in Paris in 2000, from where she now effortlessly juggles an international client list that includes BaccaratCappellini (opens in new tab)Edra (opens in new tab)Ligne Roset (opens in new tab)Magis (opens in new tab)Moustache (opens in new tab) and Wästberg (opens in new tab), among many others

What are you doing in Milan this year?
I’m not showing a lot: some ceramics made with an historical Japanese ceramic company, Koubei-Gama (opens in new tab), for a project called Japan Creative (opens in new tab); and some small objects to be screwed directly onto the wall, made in Corian with Moustache - including small round shelves, a vase and a bowl

What are you most looking forward to seeing?
I look forward seeing the new lamp by Daniel Rybakken (opens in new tab) for LucePlan (opens in new tab)

What would be your top tip of where to eat/drink/stay in Milan during Salone week?
I think in Milan, in Italy, it is quite simple - eating a simple sandwich is almost always good, it can be filled with good ingredients yet won’t be expensive. And then eating an ice cream is not expensive either, and it’s delicious

And your top Milanese souvenir to bring back?
I love the boxes with integrated spoons for the powder sugar in every bar

What’s the most useful Italian phrase during Salone week?
Quando entrerà in produzione? (When is this going into production?)

HT
Photograph: Kristina Hrabetova

Man and wall

(Image credit: press)

Philippe Malouin
The fact that you can find the designs of London-based Canadian designer Philippe Malouin in such hallowed spaces as Gallery Fumi (opens in new tab) (London), Spazio Rossana Orlandi (opens in new tab) (Milan), Commissaires (opens in new tab) (Montreal), NextLevel (opens in new tab) (Paris) and Carwan (Beirut) would suggest that he is doing something very right. A glance at his sensitive, sophisticated portfolio of products and furniture would confirm the fact

What are you doing in Milan this year?
I am showing a project called ‘Intarsia & Lathe’ for Carwan gallery, in which wood is sliced into very thin baguettes, glued and assembled into intarsia patterns, then lathe-turned to create bowls, stools and tables. Everything was made in Beirut, working with local craftsmen. I am also showing a wall hanging at Plus Design Gallery (opens in new tab) for a group exhibit called ‘The Threads That Bind Us’; and a sundial at the exhibit ‘Another Terra’. I’m also showing in Kvadrat’s Hallingdal 65 exhibition

What are you most looking forward to seeing?
I’m looking forward to seeing Lake Como when I take a little time off from appointments and seeing new bits of furniture

What would be your top tip of where to eat/drink/stay in Milan during Salone week?
I’ve rented a nice flat this year, all to myself. It’s pretty neat as it’s the first time. All the years in the past I would sleep on my friend’s places, floors and bathtubs... As for where to have a drink, I really like the garden at 10 Corso Como... And to eat, I like any traditional unfancy trattorias you can find pretty much anywhere

And your top Milanese souvenir to bring back?
Definitely food. Olive oil, parmesan cheese and salami. I know it sounds like a cliché, but it’s so much better than anything you can find here

What’s the most useful Italian phrase during Salone week?
Dove posso trovare il bar? (Where can I find the bar?)

HT

Women and chair

(Image credit: Frank Tielemans)

Kiki Van Eijk
Kiki van Eijk graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2001, and in the decade that has followed, she has presented and sold her thoughtful, beautiful collections all over the world. Sharing a studio and often collaborating with her husband Joost Van Bleiswijk (opens in new tab), her clients include Studio Edelkoort Paris (opens in new tab)Verardo (opens in new tab)Swarovski (opens in new tab)MOOOI (opens in new tab)Ahrend (opens in new tab)HAANS (opens in new tab) and Woonic

What are you doing in Milan this year?
I have five different presentations, which I’m really looking forward to. One is eight exceptional windows for the Hermès (opens in new tab) shop at via Sant’andrea/ della Spiga. It is all inspired by their theme for this year: ‘The Gift of Time’. I’m also really curious to see the presentation of Nodus (opens in new tab) (in a beautiful building), were I am showing three new carpets. They are handknotted and made of only natural materials, representing a very natural idea - wild flowers. This type of flower, which grows in the gaps between concrete, is often underappreciated. At Superstudio Piu I have a presentation of designs for industrial glass panels by Omnidecor (opens in new tab). At Ventura Lambrate (opens in new tab) I’m showing a kinetic object which is a collaboration with Joost for Laikingland. And last but not least there will be a small intimate presentation of my works at the Dutch consulate. So my work is spread all over the city!

What are you most looking forward to seeing?
I’m really curious to see the Nodus presentation; the carpets will be shown in a stunning religious building. I feel this must be very special

What would be your top tip of where to eat/drink/stay in Milan during Salone week?
I guess the bar of Maarten Baas (opens in new tab) and Bas den Herder on Via Ventura 6, Ventura Lambrate!

And your top Milanese souvenir to bring back?
Burrata! The most delicious cheese in the world. This cheese really makes your day…or even your life

What’s the most useful Italian phrase during Salone week?
Una caffe doppio per favor! (A double coffee please!)

HT

Man with wall

(Image credit: press)

Peter Marigold
We've long been fans of London-based Peter Marigold's sculptural approach to design - a sentiment that even a rather lively exchange with Wallpaper* staff at the 2010 Salone hasn't dimmed. The RCA graduate (tutored by Ron Arad, no less) is a man in demand. His work has been shown every from London's V&A Museum, to the Design Musuem Holon.

What are you doing at Salone this year?
For Wallpaper* Handmade, I have been teamed up with the Danish company Lindberg (opens in new tab), who make titanium glasses. After visiting their factory I decided to make a large titanium clip-together lighting system. It’s been really great working with them. For the Japan Creative (opens in new tab) exhibition at Museo Minguzzi (opens in new tab), I have been teamed up with the highly respected furniture company Hinoki-Kogei, who have made a beautiful interpretation of one of my designs by splitting huge logs into two. These form a large bench that has an intricate grass and wood seating cover

What are you most looking forward to seeing?
My lovely elderly aunty who I stay with. Thereafter I just want to get home to my new baby boy as soon as possible. God that’s a bit tame isn’t it?
 Oh, and the big machine installation at Gap next to the Duomo should be pretty cool...

What would be your top tip of where to eat/drink/stay in Milan during Salone week?
After getting into a brawl in Bar Basso with [insert names] a couple of years ago, I’m not really on the drinking circuit so much anymore, though the pizza place opposite usually has a fine selection of canned beers at a fraction of the price of its packed neighbour (sorry Maurizio). To stay? Well I stay with my lovely Aunty Ruth, handily next to the Trienalle. But for anyone else I would suggest trying out Couchsurfing.org (opens in new tab), if only for the experience. There’s all sorts of people offering spaces all over the world

And your top Milanese souvenir to bring back?
The most incredibly beautiful, handmade fishing flies from the small fishing store next to Lambrate station. Way too beautiful to be fed to a fish for sure! I collect more and more of them each year. There’s also a really amazing electrical shop opposite Corso Como Diece. I buy ceramic insulation knobs from there, just because they are sweet

What's the most useful Italian phrase during Salone week?
Sai chi sono io? (Do you know who I am?) To be spoken with forceful confidence when addressing to the doorman

MB

Man sitting on sofa

(Image credit: press)

Piero Lissoni
Piero Lissoni is on a sure-shot path to being named the most prolific designer during the Salone del Mobile. This year, the Milan-based architect has designed new products for 11 separate companies, created five different installations, and is taking part in three exhibitions, and one book launch. Frankly, we’re not sure how he’s going to manage to show up to his own events. Certainly, his favourite phrase of the week comes as no surprise...

What are you doing at Salone this year?
[Lissoni provided us such a mega list, we have condensed it for you.]
I have new products and installations for Boffi (opens in new tab)Cassina (opens in new tab)Living Divani (opens in new tab)Nespresso (opens in new tab) and Porro (opens in new tab); new products for Matteograssi (opens in new tab)Pierantonio Bonacina (opens in new tab)Lema (opens in new tab)Kartell (opens in new tab)Glas Italia (opens in new tab)Salvatori (opens in new tab).  Then there is the ‘Piero Lissoni Behind the Scenes’ exhibition at the Teatro Nazionale, plus I am participating in Flos (opens in new tab)’ 50th anniversary, the photography show ‘Future Roots’ and I have contributed drawings for the book ‘Chef Meets Design’.

What are you most looking forward to seeing?
The last day of it

What would be your top tip of where to eat/drink/stay/ shop in Milan during Salone week?
Davide Oldani D’O Restaurant: A beautifully calm environment, with elegant country food. Via Magenta 18, Cornaredo, (near Milan)

La Latteria: A very small, family restaurant where it’s not possible to book in advance and – no matter who you are – you have to queue! They serve traditional Italian food, cooked correctly: it’s like eating in your mother’s kitchen
Via San Marco, 24

Pinacoteca Ambrosiana (opens in new tab): (opens in new tab) Leonardo da Vinci drawings collection
Piazza Pio XI 2

Prada Shop: (opens in new tab) It’s much more traditional than the other Prada shops - and very Milanese.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele

Radetzky (opens in new tab): My favourite bar, for a really Italian breakfast: cappuccino, sparkling water, fresh croissants, carrot or apple tart. I enjoy reading the newspapers here, and meeting friends
Largo La Foppa, 5

120% Lino: (opens in new tab) It’s full of inspiration in terms of colour, materials and decoration
Corso Garibaldi angolo Via Marsala, 13

Libreria Utopia: (opens in new tab) The extremist and anarchic bookstore, where you can find little treasures for your mind
Via Moscova, 52

Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli:
I go to the park from my office with my three golden retrievers. There is a beautiful old Natural History Museum that is worth a visit
da corso Venezia a Via Palestro

And your top Milanese souvenir to bring back?
One kilo of carnaroli rice and a pack of Italian saffron to prepare the perfect Risotto alla Milanese

What's the most useful Italian phrase during Salone week?
Ci vediamo fra dieci minuti ( I’ll see you in 10 minutes). But it ends up with seeing each other the following day

Interview: J.J. Martin

Bald man

(Image credit: Markus Moström)

Luca Nichetto
One of Italy’s most sought after new designers, Venetian Luca Nichetto cut his professional teeth designing glass for Murano (opens in new tab) as soon as he graduated, and it was only a few years later that he founded his own industrial and product design studio in 2006. Nichetto can also regularly be found teaching and lecturing at universities both in Italy and abroad

What are you doing in Milan this year?
This year I am presenting a wide range of different projects like furniture, lamps, wellness space and home/office accessories. Some are the result of new international collaborations with Cassina (opens in new tab)De Padova (opens in new tab)Petite Friture (opens in new tab)La Chance (opens in new tab)Discipline (opens in new tab)Glass Idromassaggio (opens in new tab) and David Design (opens in new tab), and some projects reaffirm previous collaborations with Foscarini (opens in new tab)Established & SonsCasamania (opens in new tab)MG Lab (opens in new tab)Gallotti & Radice (opens in new tab) and Fornasarig (opens in new tab). There are about 20 new products - a lot of work! I have also curated the exhibition for Fornasarig, MG Lab, and the Meet in Milan Franke Kitchen Story

What are you most looking forward to seeing?
I’d like to see a bit less ‘smoke’ than last year. I mean: last year I felt that everything was fake, I had the feeling that every company was in Milan but showing nothing really new, only there because you can’t miss Milan Design week. So I saw a lot of things, but only very few were interesting. I hope to see maybe less products, but more real design and good design

What would be your top tip of where to eat/drink/stay in Milan during Salone week?
When I’m in Milan I rent a flat for me and my team, both the Venetian and the Swedish parts of it. So I move the Studio to Milan for about 10 days. I think this is the best way to live the Salone. I have lunch wherever I am for my meetings, but during the night it’s Bar Basso. I know that every night I can find a lot of my friends/collegues there and relax after a working day with a Negroni in may hand

And your top Milanese souvenir to bring back?
A friend of mine, Giulio Lacchetti, designed a funny object for Pandora (opens in new tab): it’s the BYEBYEFLY fly-swatter. It’s funny because the net is the roadmap of Milan. I think this is a good souvenir of the city

What’s the most useful Italian phrase during Salone week?
Hey, non sono un turista: non fare il giro della città per guadagnare di più! (Hey, I’m not a tourist: don’t make a tour of the city to earn more!) Use this with Milan taxi drivers during the Salone week

HT

Man with chain

(Image credit: press)

Matali Crasset
The bob-haired French industrial designer, and former protégé of Philippe Starck, opened her own studio in 1998. Her colourful oeuvre spans everything from furniture and graphics to scenography and interior architecture.

What are you doing at Salone this year?
'Ondulations', an outdoor furniture collection in stone for Pimar; 'Doublesize', a flexible table that was designed to accompany the 'Doublesize' chairs for Danese (opens in new tab); 'Sweet Talk and Dream', a modular piece that can be used as a small reading chair, play area or spare bed, and was designed for Campeggi (opens in new tab); and 'Parabola', a writing desk for Galleria Luisa delle Piane (opens in new tab), a gallery that will also present the Matali Crasset Works monograph published by Rizzoli (opens in new tab)

What would be your top tip of where to eat/drink/stay in Milan during Salone week?
The Bistro' on via Tortona, Antica Locanda Solferino (opens in new tab) on Via Castelfidardo and the Trattoria Alla Cucina Economica on Via Francesco Guicciardini

And your top Milanese souvenir to bring back?
Anything from the Cibo and Speck delicatessens.

What's the most useful Italian phrase during Salone week?
Ciao (Hello)

MB

Martin Azua with white background

(Image credit: press)

Martin Azua
Barcelona based Martin Azua is perhaps best known for his inflatable, foldable gold house, a product that spread across the internet like wild fire as soon as he launched it, and which was recently acquired for the MOMA (opens in new tab) collection in New York. But Azua’s remit extends a little further than spangly tents: he also designed medals for Barcelona’s World Swimming Championships and packaged Madrid’s recent Olympic bid too

What are you doing in Milan this year?
I will take part in the exhibition Kvadrat Hallingdal 65 exhibition, (opens in new tab) with The Puppet Chair. Also I will be presenting a collection of bentwood chairs for the Spanish firm Tagar (opens in new tab)

What are you most looking forward to seeing?
I hope to see designs that respond to a range of issues arising from the crisis. These will likely come from young designers who often provide the most interesting ideas

What would be your top tip of where to eat/drink/stay in Milan during Salone week?
I like to eat a salad in the garden of the Triennale, on via Emilio Alemagna, 6

And your top Milanese souvenir to bring back?
Some years ago I started to collect bowls, a common item to all cultures. I’ll be looking for a bowl that expresses our present time

What’s the most useful Italian phrase during Salone week?
Se non è vero, è ben trovato (Even if it’s not true, it’s well conceived). An Italian proverb

HT

Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.