A patterned project at Nilufar Gallery offers a multilayered experience
Ask anyone in town for Salone del Mobile, and they will tell you that Nina Yashar’s Nilufar Gallery is a must-see stop on the design week trail. Whether your visit provides much-needed respite from the constant slew of furniture launches, or a conceptual moment in the midst of a product-heavy week, the gallery’s shows always stand out from the rest of the week’s events.
Not to be confused with the Nilufar Depot, which houses Yashar’s extensive collection and was made open to the public in 2015, Nilufar Gallery is located in the Quadrilatero della Moda – an area of Milan mostly populated by luxury fashion boutiques and upmarket restaurants. The success of both Nilufar outposts lies within the difference between them. While the Nilufar Depot staged an ambitious exhibition of emerging designers, curated Valentina Ciuffi/Studio Vedèt, the inner-city gallery has an undeniable air of refinement.
On the occasion of this year’s Milan Design Week, the gallery played host works by Bethan Laura Wood and Osvaldo Borsani, and provided a late-night spot by India Mahdavi, Chez Nina II (following the success of its first edition last year). But most impressive was its windowed facades, filled with a collaborative installation by designers Michael Anastassiades and Martino Gamper, and artist Brigitte Niedermair, titled ‘Piano Nobile’.
Technically, the project is a continuation of Gamper and Niedermair’s Screenshot piece – originally completed in 2017 as a contemplation on ‘art through the medium of digital technologies’. But having caught Yashar’s eye back then, she proposed to the pair that they create a ‘total Screenshot’ for this year’s Salone, whereby the artwork becomes design and presents itself as a full interior, rather than a wall-mounted work.
To enhance the multilayered experience, Anastassiades was brought on board as the third puzzle piece – crafting five lamps to illuminate the sets. As with the original Screenshot piece, the Piano Nobile installation made use of Dedar fabric. Works by the likes of Sol LeWitt, Otto Dix and Paul Klee were reinterpreted through abstract patterns crafted from panels of the cotton satin. The result looked similar to a colour chart, with key tones and shades represented through the reams of cloth.
‘I thought about historic Venetian buildings and how in the past artists were the absolute protagonists of the space for living in,’ said Niedermair. ‘Today, we can recreate that same vision brimming with cultural references, in a contemporary way.’ These colour charts were complimented by new furniture designed by Gamper, and lighting fixtures by Anasstassiades. Gamper’s ‘Post Re’ collection saw the London-based designer repurpose consumer waste in order to profess the ‘beauty in scrap’.
Elsewhere in the gallery, a room was dedicated to the work of Bethan Laura Wood, including a new Bauhaus-inspired tea set for Rosenthal, among other new designs; India Madhavi’s Chez Nina space from last year was refreshed with new lighting projects by Vibeke Fonnesberg Schmidt, and tribute was paid to Osvaldo Borsani. An eclectic, yet epic, curatorial feat made possible by Ms Yashar’s unwavering eye. §