Putting together the post-Salone issue is always a challenge. A week of high-intensity furniture foraging and fine dining can leave you dazed and carrying a few extra pounds. Between overseeing the Wallpaper* Handmade exhibition, catch-ups with design-industry colleagues and a cascade of showroom visits and events, I find myself working around the clock. But there are always new places to see, ways to wind down and dining rooms to properly investigate.
The restaurant Tokuyoshi, for instance, where lighting artist and theatre director Robert Wilson invited me for dinner. Chef Yoji Tokuyoshi’s ‘cucina Italiana contaminata’ – an elegant entwining of Japanese traditions and Italian ingredients – was a treat, served on dishes the chef designed with Arita porcelain.
The interiors at Villa Pliniana
The next evening I had an invitation to dine at Davide Oldani’s D’O, with the chef, designer Fabio Novembre, as well as Indra Nooyi and Mauro Porcini (CEO and chief design officer of PepsiCo respectively). The recently renovated space, created with Piero Lissoni, is bright, airy and relaxed. The new tables and chairs, made of solid elm by Riva 1920, were designed, along with the cutlery, by Davide himself.
I also found time to squeeze into my shorts for a game of five-a-side football with representatives of Juventus FC, to celebrate the rehaul of their visual identity by Interbrand. As a big fan of football and typography, it was a double delight to don the new Juventus logo.
Tony completes a Cruyff turn and leaves Maarten Baas grounded
Eager for a quiet weekend, I headed up to Lake Como, where I was hosted by hotelier Luis Contreras at Il Sereno. The Patricia Urquiola-designed hotel, with its rationalist façade and lush gardens by ‘green wall’ pioneer Patrick Blanc, was just the place to unwind. Luis also gave me a tour of his Villa Pliniana, a 1573 building, now with design touches by Urquiola. I could have stayed all day, if it weren’t for the beckoning of dinner back at Il Sereno, served up by Michelin-starred chef Andrea Berton. The modern Italian cuisine and selection of Valtellinan wines was the perfect way to toast a great Milan Design Week of work, rest, play and multi-course indulgence.
Back at HQ, though, there was no time For post-Salone slug. We have put together another issue tightly packed with exclusive goodness: an interview with legendary photographer William Klein, a visit to LA’s Casa Perfect, a bobble into Murano with American sculptor Sarah Sze, a talk to the famously untalkative Rei Kawakubo about the design of her new show at The Met in New York, a hack through the undergrowth to reach remote parts of the Philippines with Swiss artist Not Vital, and a look at the future of driverless cars. I remain a sceptic. Navigating the Salone schedule would be impossible without our driver Maurizio and his Maserati Quattroporte; taciturn, well-tailored and as nerveless as Ayrton Senna. It’s hard to imagine sensors and software handling Milan quite like him.
Tony Chambers, Midfield General-in-Chief
As originally featured in the June 2017 issue of Wallpaper* (W*219)