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Milan (Design) Diary, 2

Another day in Milan and we literally walked so much that Bobby had to buy new shoes. Even the back of my knees are fucking sore. Mission accomplished?

Here’s why I did yesterday, for any interested to feast on.

Ventura Centrale
Ventura Projects‘ puts on a great show in Milan and their Ventura Centrale was no exception as they literally converted old train station concrete caves into exhibition halls. They became spaces forMaarten Baas with Lensvelt to show off a chattering display to highlight his new chair. Lee Broom brought a fucking carousel to display the past decade of his work. Salviati converted on of these train spaces into a giant hall of hard candy lighting. It was quite an experience.

Studiopepe’s The Visit
Studiopepe is a hip design group in Milan that saw this week as an opportunity to build the dream apartment. Literally: the group converted a space in Brera to be their idealized, styled out, collaboratively made space. It was great.

The Visit was an exercise in marrying patterns and objects, colors and textures. Everything was sweet and light with moments of metallics to play with the pinks and maroons and ivy and mint greens present. Their presentation was an example of the quiet sophistication that comes with good interior design. Any of you would die if you could live there.

Toiletpaper Bar
As a part of Wallpaper*‘s very OK Holy Handmade was a secret hidden in public: a bar created by Toiletpaper. For the unfamiliar, Toiletpaper is an anti-populist populist creation from delightful art weirdo Mauizio Cattelan. They create brightly colored moments of absurdity at affordable price points. Surreal art for the everyday.

The bar was an orangey tangle of spaghetti wallpaper to showcase new works like a literal shit-in-your-teeth rug. There was indeed a full bar to serve treats to alt-world café patrons that heightened how manic the space felt. It’s the type of environment that I feel lives inside of me but I am very rarely allowed to engage with.

Confluence 20+
Confluence 20+ is a traveling showing of the top design talents in or from Hong Kong now. The work was remarkably expansive, from typographical video installations to convertible fashion to ecologically aware homewares. The overarching theme in the exhibition was that of non-wasteful invention. For example: James Law shared his pod houses, which are giant Legos you can live in as space evaporates. C.L. Lam creates home items from plates to lamps that are composed of repurposed organic matter like eggshells and coffee grounds but feel like a rival to plastic. Julie Progin and Jesse McLin recreated classic Chinese vessels from destroyed forms in the hopes of logging physical history. The resulting effect was a who’s who of the area while giving a glimpse at how design will change given urbanization and climate change. It was nicely hopeful.

Rossanna Orlandi
Rossanna Orlandi is a Milan based curator and general art personality who hosts a slew of events at her beautiful space year round. This week, it’s a miniature design fair. The happening is notable for all the fashionable people in attendance but was ultimately design cliché atop of cliché. A few stand outs unblended themselves from the walls to speak up for themselves though: Matthew McCormick‘s ring lights populated a corner while ‘s makeshift home setup rivaled Studiopepe’s showing as
Hattern‘s Mellow Collection displayed neon-clear floral vessels on a ledge and Fernando Mastrangelo‘s rocky desert landscape furniture captured a little room. I’m not sure I can recommend the madness surrounding Orlandi and her compound but the brief moments of beauty were just that: a little beautiful.

And those were the highlights! Tomorrow will be far less eventful, for better or worse, because I’m tired and will be spending much of the day at a sprawling, confusing trade show. Bongoreno!

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