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Random innovative concepts, products, and services at the intersection of technology and culture.

Milan Furniture Fair ‘09

The “Salone del Mobile” (Milan furniture fair),  the largest and most anticipated trade fair in Europe , showcases everything from one-off pieces to coordinated suites and everyday household articles. The accent is on materials, technologies and styles, ranging from the classic to the ultra-modern. It is held every year, usually at the end of April, in the FieraMilano complex (main show), but it is also spread across the city with hundreds of off-site events in Milan’s showrooms, studios, art galleries and public spaces… This event brings around 348.000 visitors, 2450 exhibiting companies, 570 young designers and 22 international design schools.

Some of the Italian frogs went to look around the city, but due to how huge the fair is, this is a report of 2 themes among many: The ‘soft products’ & the ‘innovative installations’. Enjoy the 10 things we noticed most among those 2 themes… But keep in mind: this doesn’t represent the whole fair.

Soft products:
1/ The ‘Embroidery Rug’ by Charlotte Lancelot is a rug made out of hand made oversized cross stitch.

Composed of one felt layer filled of a holes pattern and some extra colored stitches allowing you to create your own graphic (a flower in this case). I like the fact that the rug can be customized by the owner and will evolve with time. charlotte lancelot


2/ The ‘Carpet-Sandals’ by Lise El-Sayed is a rug made out of very thick wool in which 12 pairs of tongs are precut and ready to be fitted for the guests or the family.

Her aim here is to enable the carpets to regain their gifts of welcoming, comfort, location and mobility. Imagine having those sandals integrated into your entrance carpet... they seem soft and comfortable to wear, just like walking on the carpet itself. Right, so what’s so cool here? The invitation to change your behavior at home!


3/ ‘Floora’ by Johanna Richter is a system of wool felt modules that can be used as a rug or wherever soft furnishings are needed.

I like the fact that with a unique module; you can extend the cloth, or even replace some dirty areas as needed. It gives much more flexibility to the customer, and it looks good!


4/ ‘Wooden textile’ by Elisa Strozyk are beautiful laser cut triangular pieces of walnut veneer are mounted to a cloth substrate to create "wooden textiles".

It is interesting from its structural point of view, but it also has a nice tactile feeling. elisa strozyk


Innovative products/installations:
Tokyo Fiber Senseware ’09, an exhibition directed by Japanese designer Kenya Hara, features some of the most innovative products in Milan this year. Shaped masks and lampshades from moldable nonwoven fabric, products with softness and firmness from the same material, knitted bundles of light, super lightweight chairs and rucksacks and a unique water logo are just some of the futuristic products exhibiting at ‘La Triennale’ di Milano.



1/ ‘Con-Fiber’ by Kengo Kuma is a concrete bloc letting the light passing through it.

By embedding optical fibers continuously into concrete, then cutting across the fibers, it is possible to make concrete that light will penetrate. It is a development with the potential to change the meaning of architecture. Along the light, the shadows of people moving outside penetrate the space. These are walls permitting communication with outside. We need to think about what walls shut out and what they let through.


2/ ‘Water logo’ by Atelier Omoya & Hara Design Institute is a sign made of controlled drops of water on top of ultra water-repellant fabric.

The water drops well up to form letters on top of a sloped fabric, so that whenever a drop reaches a certain size, it naturally begin to roll down the sloping surface under the influence of gravity. A new drop of water grows up to take the place of each drop that rolls away, so the water logo is constantly renewed. The water drops form tails as they roll away. These tails is a result of friction between the water and the fabric.


3/ ‘Mist Bench’ by Gwenael Nicolas is a bench with knitted bundles of light that respond to human movement.

The material become information controlled by the time and by the movement. The information is not on the surface but within the material itself; lights become the vital fluids that glow and flow within the transparent veins. The surface expresses its desire to communicate with its surroundings: the eyes of the sensors detect the movements of the visitors. As he gets closer, the surface glows softly from emptiness; it follows the visitor movement and glow gradually to finally reveal its real identity, a long bench, a mist of light floating in the dark.


4/ ‘Time of Moss’ by Makoto Azuma is a green carpet that keeps on living, quietly keeping its place in the world.

This man-made fiber originates in plants… Over 10 years, it degrades and returns to the soil. The use of this material plus moss, another plant, creates a new scene. The ‘terramac’ fiber is spread on the sloping sides of embankments before seeding, and protects the seeds as they grow.  It has a solid record as a material for protecting the environment. A number of different types of moss were carefully combined and placed on the planter.


5/ ‘Hologram body’ is a scale 1:1 human body mounted on hundreds of conductive cables.

Awesome 3d light fixture, which is basically a whole human body mounted on hundreds of conductive cables.

video by Benco


6/ ‘liquid story’ by felice limosani is an installation that mixes industrial technology, 3D animation, electronic and symphonic music by using the amazing, invisible interactions of magnetic fields.

Ferrofluid is not just for entertainment, though.  Scientists in Quebec a looking to use the highly-reflective substance in telescopes, replacing mercury mirrors; the ferrofluid could be more precisely controlled and used in non-horizontal installations.

felice limosani      video