Milan Design Week review - Beyond the Object

By Shir Hechter

We recently returned from Salone del Mobile, also known as Milan Design Week the biggest event in the design calendar. Designers and brands from around the globe were showing their work and created an
‘Ta- Da’ moment through extraordinary installations.

Milan’s design week is an amazing opportunity for our team to celebrate design in its finest and the most extravagant way. Besides having great Aperativo, we walk for miles to discover the most surprising, innovative and intriguing designs.

After the show, on our return to the studio, we gather the data, identify design trends and synthesize all into meaningful insights.

While trends are significant elements in leveraging business opportunities, real insights are the ones that relate to bigger and more meaningful influences. Capturing the trend’s core values allows us to create better products with a significant impact on our society.

We are happy to share with you some of our insights on the trends we have seen:

Physical interaction and a “friendly” Artificial Intelligence

Sensorial experiences have gone a long way in the last few years. A product by itself is no longer enough and people these days are expecting end-to-end experiences.

Sony, for example, is known for its experimental exhibits. ‘Affinity in Autonomy’ exhibition and last year’s ‘Hidden Senses’ exhibition have narrated just how technology can enhance our daily lives and be integrated more naturally.

As expected, Sony addressed big questions within the complex universe of robotics and artificial intelligence. At their installation, Sony invited visitors to form and experience a ‘new relationship with robotics’ by having robots detect their movements, react to their emotions, and search for the right response to each one.

Image: Sony

Sony’s efforts are invested in creating intelligence robots with a high level of humanity, making them friendly and sweet as pets to dispel fear and lack of understanding around AI.

Shaping past knowledge into the technological future — “The new craft”

This year the sense of craftsmanship was very present in Milan, from exhibitions as Missoni that unveiled a fully knitted interior, Loewe’s bamboo & leather crafts, the elite crafts of Louis Vitton, Cos’s 3D installation and the list goes on and on.

Even though “The new craft” is already been here for a few years, we saw a great growth in the last year that can be attributed to new technologies driven by CAD that exposed infinite potential.

Similar to other trends in history, technological growth sparked a nostalgic movement of authentic material processing and appearance, which raised a Renaissance of local methods and crafts made in an industrialized production.

One of the prominent exhibitions dealt with this subject was French Maison Louis Vuitton which presented its latest ‘Objets Nomades’, that includes 40 objects from collaborations with well-known designers, beautifully placed under an unforgettable “sky” of white handmade lanterns.

Image: Louis Vuitton

The objects were created with great efforts which combined industrial production techniques combined together with classical crafts which who were inspired by trips around the world, evoking far-off places while emulating natural forms and bringing back the exoticism.

On the other side of the spectrum, COS and the architect Arthur Mamou-Mani have created ‘Conifera’,
a site-specific work made from 3D printed bioplastics bricks. The bricks were created through open-source software, using parametric design to maintain structural stability while optimizing the use of materials — using less to achieve more.

This installation looked into the future of design, tech, and material innovation, and created an ethereal experience that bridges architecture and nature.

Image: Cos

A Space for Being

The Growing phenomenon as Li Edelkort named it “Nesting”, is a response to a world in transition, the home environment becomes a place to escape and comfort alongside the increasing access to connectivity.

Edelokrt imagined a future in which technology is used in the process of nesting, and working from home is part of a typical lifestyle, which will lead to offices that will become less cluttered and more living-room oriented.

The ‘Spiritual Home’ is a new domain in which we will strengthen our relationship with furniture, objects, and material. It will be expressed by a presence of simplicity, tactility tenderness, and humanity, putting our design efforts in creating opportunities for being together.

In last year’s exhibition “Software”, Google was the first to implement a new way of engaging with technology, allowing it to seamlessly exist in our lives and homes.

Image: Google

This year, Google exemplified how different aesthetic experiences can impact our health and wellbeing, utilizing varying lighting, sounds, scents, and textures, the three exhibition rooms were intended to stimulate the visitors’ senses in different ways.

Before entering, visitors were equipped with a wristband that detects their physical and physiological responses to each space using four sensors. Google’s main goal was to show that in 2019 environments can be automatically modified and changed to suit individuals’ diverse needs.

Seen any other trends? Share with us!

Prime. Total Product Design

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Prime is a consumer-tech product design firm. Learn more @ https://www.prime-do.com/