’Simple’ by Philippe Malouin at Project B Gallery, Milan

Wooden bench
Philippe Malouin's first Italian solo exhibition, 'Simple', on show at Milan's Project B gallery, presents several new works that have been developed over the course of two years
(Image credit: TBC)

We backed a good horse when choosing to single out Philippe Malouin (opens in new tab) during our Salone coverage last year. The London-based Canadian designer has experienced a steep career trajectory since and ended 2012 on a high with W Hotels (opens in new tab)' 'Designer of the Future Award'. This week, he opens his first Italian solo exhibition, 'Simple', at Milan's Project B (opens in new tab)gallery, an impressive effort showcasing his unique design approach.

Curated by Maria Cristina Didero and taking a dynamic installation format, Simple presents several new works that have been developed over the course of two years. 'It takes a lot more work to do something simple,' reflected Malouin, who spoke to us during a time-out from the show's technical installation. 'These are all fully-cooked ideas that have really had time to develop. The chair has been redone over 20 times. We made over 50 1:1 models to get it right.'

Spanning furniture and tabletop objects to decorative MDF wall pieces - the latter were inspired by the Brutalist architecture of Juliaan Lampens (opens in new tab) - every object in the exhibition is a testament to Malouin's sophisticated perspective, which sees basic shapes and an austere treatment of materials forming the guiding principles.

The main focus in the exhibition is a series of furniture pieces called 'Slat', which are comprised of tessellated strips of timber to form large table tops, benches and shelves. Meanwhile the aforementioned 'Type Cast' chair, constructed from sand-cast aluminum frames, is Malouin's second wafer-thin chair. It possesses a new elevated quality, in spite of its humble beginnings.

'I've always been interested in the process of making things by hand, especially when they don't look handmade,' Malouin explained. 'I am obsessed with working with materials that are overlooked because they are too readily available.'  

As if all that wasn't enough, Malouin has even managed to squeeze out a contribution to our own Handmade 2013 project. A collection of concrete vessels, which use everyday Tupperware as moulds, are further proof of a designer who has truly hit his stride.

Stacked wooden planks resembling shelves

The exhibition debuts a series of furniture pieces called Slat, a collection of timber stackable pieces. Pictured are Malouin's 'Slat' Shelves. Photography: Eva Feldkamp

(Image credit: Eva Feldkamp)

Wooden bench with thick columns

The series is comprised tessellated strips of timber built up to create this dining table. Photography: Eva Feldkamp

(Image credit: Eva Feldkamp)

Top view of wooden panels

A detailed image of the surface of one of the benches from Malouin's Slat collection illustrates the collection's geometric aesthetic. Photography: Eva Feldkamp

(Image credit: Eva Feldkamp)

Black framed chair

The 'Type Cast' chair is constructed from sand-cast aluminum

(Image credit: TBC)

Glass topped table with wooden frame and six black chairs

Made from sand-cast aluminum, the wafer-thin Type Cast chair possesses a new elevated quality, in spite of its humble beginnings. Photography: Eva Feldkamp

(Image credit: Eva Feldkamp)

Close up view of black chair back

A detailed shot of the 'Type Cast' chair, which is formed from sand-cast aluminum. Photography: Eva Feldkamp

(Image credit: Eva Feldkam)

Black lamp shade with black body

Philippe Malouin's additional collection 'Functional Shapes' includes this nestling box and lamp which are made from black MDF sheeting that has been laminated, shaped, waxed, polished and waxed again. Photography: Eva Feldkamp

(Image credit: Eva Feldkamp)

Brown wall hanging

Realised when forming the 'Functional Shapes' collection, this wall hanging has been constructed from individually cut pieces of MDF wood which have been stuck together and then laminated to create a piece of wall art. It forms a geometric pattern that recalls the Brutalist architecture of Belgian architect Juliaan Lampens

(Image credit: TBC)


Project B Gallery
Via Maroncelli 7

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Pei-Ru Keh is the US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru has held various titles at Wallpaper* since she joined in 2007. She currently reports on design, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru has taken a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars and actively seeks out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.