Processing Milan

Craft needs design; however design also needs craft to exist. That became clear during the Salone del Mobile at the expert meeting “Does Craft need Design?” that CCNL organised at the Consulate General of the Netherlands with leading Italian and Dutch designers, cultural institutions and businesses. But that the two can’t exist without the other also became apparent through all the exhibitions where the making process took the stage instead if the end results. Designers gave the visitors a look into the realization, material choices and doubts regarding their designs. It wasn’t about producing products, but about creating unique objects with limited editions. There was a lot of experimenting with both material and technique.

Envisions is a group exhibition that showcases everything but the end product. The collection of work aims to offer new insights to different phases that would normally never be seen by the public’s eye. By revealing the steps of the extensive research process that precedes a design’s final outcome, the collection breathes life into initial concepts and pushes them towards reality. Transcending the fear of copycats, the exhibitors reveal more about their work – and themselves – to the public. By doing so, a climate for interaction and exchange is created. The setup is intended to trigger a dialogue between designers, clients and manufacturers, who are encouraged to approach each project as a collaborator. By crowdsourcing ideas, Envisions allows for unexpected developments in the making process and ultimately gives rise to new-found joint ventures.

Last year the company showed prototypes of promising products, this year it returned to Milan with saleable versions and a ‘second generation’. The Fibre Placement Chair designed by Marleen Kaptein got an affordable little brother, which is made from waste from the production of the carbon chair itself. Ultra thin lamps are made from other carbon strips. Kaptein was able to create the Fibre-chairs because Label/Breed linked her to the National Aerospace Laboratory. During Salone del Mobile Label/Breed exposed these connections and showed collaborations between designers and producers such as Chris Kabel and ceramic house St. Joris or DeMakersVan and metal casting expert Lovink.

Design Academy Eindhoven – Touch Base
Ensconced in Milan’s Ventura Lambrate design district, the Design Academy Eindhoven presents “Touch Base,” an exhibition curated by Ilse Crawford and Thomas Widdershoven. The students addressed the overwhelming presence of technology and digitalism, making tactility and the sense of touch their focus. One of the many projects features human hair as a medium to address diversity, ceramics that are glazed by milk, a wol processing unit and a project that revolves around the ritual of hand-washing. The making process forms the end product in a way that both are indispensable.