Amid the clamoring to define the new, several shows at Salone del Mobile revisited iconic historic works, reminding us that the future isn’t so far from the recent past. At the Herzog & de Meuron-designed Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, the legendary furnishings company Cassina celebrated its 90th anniversary with a mini-retrospective of its legacy pieces in vibrant colorways. The presentation was set in a futuristic, sci-fi-chic exhibition that included a green room, shimmering iridescent curtains and heavy plastic drapes, an impeccable bathroom with a hazmat suit hanging on the wall, and, most exciting, a full-scale prototype of Refuge Tonneau
, a prefabricated, barrel-shaped mountain structure that contains a running kitchen, bunk, and upper loft housed in an aluminum shell. Designed by
in 1938 and produced as a one-off by Cassina in 2012, it resonates today for its economical use of space and portability, with slight survivalist undertones.
Concept shop 10 Corso Como exhibits Les Sculptures Utilitaires, a collection of Pierre Cardin’s groovy, space-age designs of the 1970s; and at Palazzo Bocconi, Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomades presented its new collection of travel-inspired pieces alongside an installation of Finnish architect Matti Suuronen’s 1968 Futuro House—a canary yellow dome perched on legs that appears more like an alien spacecraft than the portable ski chalet that it was designed to be. Inside is a modular sofa by the late Pierre Paulin, whose family has also reissued several of his designs at Salone.
Old was also made new again through various recycled materials that launched at the fair, including
’s “Really” seating collection for textiles company Kvadrat. The benches are each made from solid textile board, engineered from selvedge waste and end-of-life cotton and wool. At the Triennale, Hong Kong designer C. L. Lamb presented “Green Table,” a tableware collection made from biodegradable waste and food scraps, like lobster shells and tea grounds. The result bears an uncanny resemblance to speckled melamine.
For a more intellectual look at design’s next frontier, a collection of critical and spirited perspectives came from the designers at Atelier Clerici, which included an ongoing performance installation by students and alumni of the Design Academy Eindhoven. Called #TVClerici, the live-edited broadcast mashup of digital, analog, and augmented reality argues for communication systems to become a matter of design itself. The surreal scene tried to sell you nothing but provocation, and for that reason was unlike the series of otherworldly sights that filled the week.