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Salone del Mobile 2002, Milan

*All products shown in the slideshow are not available at Totem and only document the Milan Salone del Mobile 2002 - Contact Totem for more information

Most of the journalists I spoke with towards the end of the fair felt that this years biggest concentration of design and designers was a bit lackluster ­ most of the big Italian companies showed fewer new projects than in the past and the party circuit was a bit more civilized. Reflecting during the flight home I realized that this years Salone was in fact more focused than ever and that in terms of level of design quality a major step in the right direction. The American presence was phenomenal and the consensus gelled to the fact that US designers have finally loosened the stranglehold on design long held by the Europeans. From the likes of Jeffery Bernett and Karim Rashid (who launched no fewer than 4 collections with as many manufacturers), from the Hall 02 group - members of the critically acclaimed G7 group of two years ago ­ to the super work at TAG Team. Even Target made an appearance with new products by sometimes New Yorker Mr. P. Starck.

The Nordic Countries made an impressive appearance as well with hit shows by David Design, Offecct and Swedese ­ the Swedes know how to party and have you ever seen so many beautiful people in one room? The Norway Says lads were everywhere spreading their brand of cheer and working some viral branding angles at the same time - it was good to see their work reaching the production stage at various manufacturers.

The highlight on the fairgrounds proper as always was the Satellite bldg. 9 where the young and up and comers hold court. Excellent presentations by groups like Antenna 02 - Werner Aisslingeršs inspired students from the Karlsruhe school - presented a concept not a product ­ a modern form of harvest - display packaged as furniture that can be pulled apart to go.Yuriko Takahashi did it again with some awesome designs and hopped from the Satellite to Swedese where she has the "Twister" in production. The Dutch boys from MNO made a nice presentation and proved once again that there is something happening in Rotterdam.

The other standouts inside the fair were the perennial favorite Edra who kicked off new collections by the Campana Brothers, Karim Rashid and Massimo Morozzi, Ycami, Alias, Driade and Moroso also made strong appearances. One of the best new collections was from Artifort who launched a new sofa system by Patrick Norguet ­ a continuing advancement in the tradition that Pierre Paulin started for the Dutch company.

The good parties were great! And the design stars were everywhere.... Tom Dixon, Michael Young, Stefano Giovannoni, Claesson Koivisto Rune, Karim Rashid, Jasper Morrison, James Irvine the list goes on and usual the Cappellini party that kicks off the show every year was a zoo - Swedish models clad in Pucci bikinišs lounged around an indoor pool and made a nice juxtaposition to the cold rain outside.

The retrospective of Cappellinišs output over the last century was safely behind barriers so couldnšt be trashed as in years past - There highlight was the impressive Fabio Novembre lounge piece that dominated the entrance - and then there was Edra ­ a raging disco that pumped all night - by the time one staggered home in the wee hours you realized that the show had indeed begun - and Bar Basso...not to be outdone the Surface party nearly became the crowd control disaster that Cappellini was last year - as the design thirsty crowd bum rushed the security force and tore a new entrance as several doors were taken off the hinges ­ but as Abitare said - thank you Karim Rashid, thank you Romeo Gigli ­ the latest pick of Ten avant-garde American industrial designers "TAG Team" at Giglišs expansive space near the canals outside the center of Milan ­ Bombay Sapphire flowed like rivers and the bar had to be closed down several times due to guests getting out of hand once they were inside.The party rocked till the wee hours fueled by the pumping sounds of DJ Tommaso Toma and no one remembers how they got home ­ or with who.

Other outstanding presentations outside the fairgrounds were Magis and SCP at Super Studio Piu - in the same area Super Studio 13 hosted Pallucco and Bellato from Italy as well as Derin from Turkey who made impressive appearances with outstanding products. All in all this years show was consistent and focused. The usual Milanese rain didnšt dampen spirits that were enlightened by a level of design canšt be found anywhere else in the world.
Copyright © 2008 David Shearer   
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