Craftmanship on Product Design at MDW2024

Catalan Collective Crafts, Products, Experiments, Furniture and Design Exhibitions within 40 projects at PortaVenezia Design District.

Guillem Ferran
DesignTours
10 min readApr 21, 2024

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Crafts and design have a close and good relationship, during the Milan Design Week, we found several examples. During the Salone, mostly all the new projects are prototypes and there is a growing design art one-off piece.

Catalan representation at Salone del Mobile, lead by CCAM and BCD this year is focus with craftsmanship on Design at PortaVenezia Design District. Some modern authors prefer the epicene term craftspersonship to the feminine craftswomanship and the masculine, strictly speaking, “craftsman” is gender neutral.

Porta Venezia Design District is the new Fuori Salone district created to enhance and celebrate the contemporaneity and diversity, giving voice to a more revolutionary idea of ​​design. The cosmopolitan, inclusive neighbourhood of Milan, with a rebellious soul, an expression of a city in continuous evolution and transformation. Adorned by gentle Art Nouveau architecture, it is one of the areas of Milan with interesting points this year, between Centrale and San Babila.

From the 16th Tuesday to the 21st Sunday at Via Sirtori 26 we could find forty Catalan Designers.

Visions of Catalonia Exhibition at Via Sartori 26. Pic from Danny Torres.

Visions of Catalonia

The exhibition ‘Visions of Catalonia. Designing Craft, Catalonia claims the binomial between design and craftsmanship and shows its design craftsmanship at Milano Design Week: objects of daily use that are committed to innovation, proximity, sustainability and social commitment, commissioned by Oscar Guayabero.

Designing Craft originates from the II Biennial of Catalan Craftsmanship, an initiative promoted by the Government, which was presented last July 2023, with the aim of positioning and exporting the talent of Catalan artisans and artists to the world, as well as promoting their commercialization and opening the sector to new international markets.

The second edition, dedicated to the relationship between contemporary craftsmanship and design, consists of the exhibition “Visions of Catalonia. Designing Craft,” a catalog, and a website that showcases artisans and designers with their most recent works.

Ceramic products by Emiliana for Ferres, Andreu Carulla for Calma and Bussoga
Projects from Núria Pié, Mosaics Martím and Oriol Guimerà for Font Barcelona.
Oiko Studio for Il·lacions and Ferran Collado.

In the exhibition, we could see the traditional Catalan clay “canti” updated for the Museu del Càntir d’Argentona, a Ceramic museum where every year on 4th August celebrate la Festa del Cantir, where every year a craftsman or designers in the last days had redesigned this millennium piece.

Càntir updated by architects Carme Pinos, Quim Larrea and Oscar Tusquets.

This iconic pieces is reedited by architects and designers during the years.

Càntir updated by Designers Miquel Milà and Andre Ricard.

Terra Rossa

In the same space, we found “Inspired in Barcelona: Terra Rossa” by Apartamento Magazine and JúliaEsque. Another collective and conceptual exhibition inspired by the use of clay as a primordial and universal element for the creation of the first design artifacts, common especially in the Mediterranean region. Sixteen contemporary artists and designers from Barcelona have intervened the traditional Catalan clay càntir in an event that celebrates and blends matter with form, tradition with creativity, nature with mankind, all through the medium of design.

Inspired in barcelona at milan 2024. Pix by Francesco Stelitano

This artistic “alterations” were carried out in collaboration with the ceramists EloiBonadona a ceramic artist with the following designers

Half of the artists, Jaume Ramirez, Lolo y Sosaku, OWL Furniture and Objects, Helena Fradera, Klas Ernflo, Claudia Valsells, and Robbie Whitehead, intervened their jug in its raw condition, before firing, transforming the traditional pieces into unique contemporary objects, while still functional and respectful of the original proportions, as requested by the curatorial project. The other half of the artists, Mark Bohle, Gina Berenguer, Laura Brichs, Luna Paiva, Pepa Reverter, Albert Riera Galceran, Xavier Mañosa, and About Arianne, have taken a plastic approach, making changes to the pitchers following the firing. They engaged in an intervention on the surface of the jug, adjusting the skin with the use of colors, paints, ropes, or other materials, without altering its original structure.

More to see at: visionsofcatalonia and inspiredinbarcelona. This exhibitons has been made thanks to Accio, Ccamcat, Dissenyhub and BCD barcelona.

Double Signature at Villa Mozart

Not far from there, we can finde the project Doppia Firma, Double Signature, this year in the 8th edition with fifteen creative couples, with designers like Nendo with Tonino Negri, Studio Job with Ganci Argenterie or Marcel Wanders with Ambrogio Carati

Doppia Firma Partnership.

Nendo has designed a chess collection ‘Scacco Matto’, which in Italian means ‘check-mate’, is a chess set inspired by vases, Oki Sato’s work is remarkably compelling for its concise minimalism and pared-back style, which captures elements of Japanese culture and beyond, whilst reworking them with a modern take. Marcel Wanders has created “Big Shadow” a lamp designed in 1988, as he said: “It’s wonderful not to speak the same language and yet communicate, creating something that relies on material skills and the universal language of ideas”. The lamp uses the precious and noble copper in the DeNuance of finishing, an unprecedented reinterpretation of enamels, which is obtained through the combination of fire, oxidation and pigments. Jobs Smeets created Moonlander, a teapot, inspired by Malevich’s silver teapot to venture into the realm of asymmetrical designs. Moonlander has been crafted with practicality in mind, without worrying about the aesthetic result. Yet nonetheless, it stands out as a striking symbol of futurism and liberation”

Doppia Firma 2024 Results

Wonderglass

WonderGlass is a story made in Italy: a family business founded in 2013 by father and son, Maurizio and Christian Mussati, with the vision of preserving the skills and techniques of the Venetian master glassmakers. WonderGlass has revolutionised the classic rules of glassmaking, making them contemporary and innovative, by synthesising the Venetian traditions of impeccable Italian craftsmanship with the cosmopolitan talents of today’s global art and design leaders: Marcel Wanders, John Pawson, India Mahdavi, nendo, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, and the late Zaha Hadid.

This year they present CONTRASTO: seeks out tension and intrigue: between light and darkness, between the textural and the smooth, between the opaque and the transparent, and ultimately from the transfiguration of glass from molten to solid states. Dusk Collection by Nendo recasts contrasting elements as a cosmic poetry. In contrast, a maiden collaboration with FormaFantasma for WonderGlass’s portfolio of works, the duo’s pendant light collection Graft approaches blown and cast glassmaking traditions.

WonderGlass by Nendo

Moooi

At Salone dei Tessuti, the dutch present A Life Extraordinary. This year the Tubelight by BCXSY or the collaboration between Moooi x LG: an exploration of interior design and technology.

Tubelight by BCXSY

Origins of Simplicity

At the Adi Museum we found good examples of relations between “industria e artigianato” at the The exhibition entitled “ORIGIN of SIMPLICITY.

Japanese Design between the winners of Compasso de Oro of the last 60 years.

20 Visions of Japanese Design is a transversal overview through design and craftsmanship to understand the origins of the very concept of simplicity, which can be interpreted as emptiness (ku), space or silence (ma), sometimes readable as poverty (wabi) and consumption linked to use over time (sabi), and on other occasions as asymmetry, non-definition and imperfection: all concepts rooted in diverse philosophical schools of thought belonging to this culture ranging from Zen Buddhism to Shinto animist thought and almost the opposite of Western rationality, but one of the most interesting cases, are the chairs of Andres Reisinger for Nelufar Depot.

Nilufar Depot

Nilufar Depot aims at being a space for experimentations and original encounters, a hotspot for Milan fervent and dynamic design scenes, where Nina Yashar’s peculiar curatorial view meets and merges with emerging talents, historical icons and the city itself. This year I would like to emphasis the “12 Chairs for Meditation,” from Digital artist and designer Andrés Reisinger, an experiential exhibition set in the atrium of Nilufar Depot in Viale Lancetti. Reisinger crafts a theatrical narrative encouraging visitors to partake in introspective meditation that creates an experience detached from the constraints of time. Limited edition of 20 Off white-coloured upholstered wood frame, each for 25,000 euros, during the Salone 8 of 12 were already purchased. Together with a Mosaic Sky with Apples manufactured by Taller Perdomo, the first glass mosaic factory in America, founded in 1949 by Elpidio Perdomo on Mexico. Crafts are still there.

Images from Nilufar Depot

On the same spot we can find Pentimenti Collection by Analogia Project, form by different pieces: The Sgraffito marble tables, carved thousands of marks into the soft organic curves of solid marble, exploring the movement and dimensions of this noble material. Thousands of small etches, filled with black paint, form a fur-like pattern, imbuing the surfaces with a lasting trace and dynamic sense of movement and energy. Stria imprints left by the sweep of a brushstroke on paper, transforming these intricate and unpredictable marks into tangible shapes. This transformation, achieved through the age-old terrazzo technique, embeds marble and coloured concrete to mirror the singular and irreplaceable motion of the brushstroke and Strata, A series of coffee tables presents further exploration of marble via the process of drawing, whereby Mancuso layers shapes on top of one another, like a draughtsman sketching out a body in fluid ovals to find the right form.

Sgraffito, Stria and Strata

Capsule Plaza

The proposal from Alessio Ascari and Paul Cournet has bring in one place different projects together at Capsule.Global. I found related to crafts the NIKE ALPHAFLY 3 by alaska___alaska; a London-based design and creative studio founded by Virgil Abloh and now directed by Tawanda Chiweshe and Francisco Gaspar — provides the scenography with their K67-inspired furniture series, channeling the shared ethos of breaking barriers through prototyping. @k67.berlin and Saša J. Mächtig who designed the legendary K67 KIOSK made this interpretation of the light Nike shoes.

Capsule.Global with the Alaska Alaska, Shapes by Hydro and HayyNuriev.

After we find @shapesbyhydro, an awesome collaboration with the Norwegian aluminium company: Inga Sempé, Max Lamb, Andreas Engesvik, Shane Schneck, Earnest Studio, John Tree, and Philippe Malouin. Finally the @poltronova by @harrynuriev.

To read more About Milan Design week check the Following article on Medium.

With the support of Institut Ramon Llull.

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Guillem Ferran
DesignTours

Product Design Teacher. Empower entrepreneurs, products and ideas. Barcelona. http://guillemferran.com/