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When design-bulimia replaces innovation.

I’ve now fully recovered  from the usual indigestion from design in April, so a few considerations on the Milan Design Week are almost de riguer. I must admit it: after attending 40 of them, my enthusiasm and curiosity are beginning to wane, but my impressions have been confirmed by the comments of WOW! reporters and some practitioners I hold in high esteem; to mention just one of them, the sharp “Perlina” posted on Facebook by Enrico Baleri, which I find incomparable.

First of all I’d like to congratulate the Salone del Mobile on its new attendance record (343.602 visitors!).
Many exhibitors actively contribute toward this success through their luxurious stand booths, conceived by important designers as temporary architectures, able to attract visitors and emotionally involve them.
In many cases the design of the container seems to be prevailing over the products, that hardly palpitate with true innovation even if their quality is top-notch.
Many companies stop to invest in technological research.
Kartell should be mentioned as one of the exceptions: under the title “Contaminations” ( upper photo) it presented many nice and innocvative chairs… and it is not easy to offer quality and quantity!
The dangers lurk when the company has run out of ideas and dusts off the look of the fifties, or penetrates fields that defy common sense and ergonomics, bordering on ridicule.

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And I’m sorry I have to say that Alias is following this trend. Hybrid design is okay, but how can you even conceive a chair -uncomfortable- integrated inside a bookcase?
That could be explained by the obligation to present something new at all costs.
Maybe we should also reflect upon the very format of the“Fair”: is such a rigid subdivision in different furniture sectors still relevant? Isn’t it anachronistic compared to the fluid way living, working and recreation environments are blending?
For example why Lapalma presented its “Light Office” collection at Salone del Mobile instead at Workplace 3.0?
If the office is increasingly fluid –as the installation A Joyful Sense at Work confirmed- changing a somewhat outdated format might increase its attractiveness: what do you think about a more dynamic Salone Contract & Workplace?

And then there is the festive occupation of the Fuorisalone… son et lumière everywhere in the city, amazing installations that can enhance disused locations, yet also damage historic buildings with ugly setups fit for a funfair.

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I’ve asked about dozen people lying on sofas inside the Orto Botanico in Brera: “Excuse me, do you know the name of the manufacturer of these sofas?” Answer: eyes wide open and an uninterested “no idea!”.
Unfortunately that company (who was it?) invested money for attending that location…
I’m considering writing a “Guide to prevent design-bulimia”. It could be useful.

Editorial by Renata Sias, editor WOW! Webmagazine

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