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Design

Salone del Mobile: Vitra, B&B Italia, and ProjectB

By Catie Keck

April 18, 2013

Modernity was everything for three designers debuting their new lines in Milan at Salone del Mobile last week. Minimalist staples such as simple wooden tables and chairs were paired with vibrant 60s-style accents. Below, we share with you the three design houses whose mod aesthetic is on our radar.

While it’s fair to say that the recipe employed in contemporary design is generally “less is more, ” Vitra steps in to prove that there is a place for pop. Dutch designer Hella Jongerius partnered with the design brand as Art Director for its Colours and Surfaces collection – a contemporary remix (if you will) of a mod aesthetic. Teal, rust, and a muted red play an integral role Vitra’s new line, evoking a sort of 60s-nostalgia with a tastefully modernized edge. Solid wooden tables and chairs contrast nicely against vibrant staples, such as the Alcove Sofa family – a series of low-seated quilted couches with practical sensibilities. The collective sum of the line’s pieces speaks to Vitra’s classic motif, while still speaking to Jongerius’ creative authority. “The Vitra Colour and Surface Library allows freedom and stimulates the imagination – not by showing that everything is possible but by working towards a clear concept of possibilities,” said Jongerius.

On a similarly modern design note, B&B Italia debuted its new line with key designers Antonio Citterio, Patricia Urquiola, Naoto Fukasawa. Playing with retro silhouettes and color pallets, the line premiered at the B&B Italia Store in Via Durini 14 and featured a collection of four beds – Erik, Husk, Papilio and Alys (the above-mentioned designers are joined by Gabriele e Oscar Buratti) – as well as an innovative wardrobe system, Backstage, by Antonio Citterio. Citterio was also the key designer for B&B’s outdoor collection Mirto, a series of lean aluminum furnishings. The line’s showstopper and most distinctive design, however, was the Hive – an ottoman and small table piece by atelier . A cascading wall of comb-like material rolls smoothly from the ceiling crevice out onto the floor, and a waxy-topped table stands squarely at its center affirming B&B’s claim that “design is the unrivaled protagonist.”

Style’s all in the name for ProjectB’s Simple, the first solo exhibition in Italy by Canadian designer Philippe Malouin. Permanence and durability are reflected in Malouin’s metal rug – yes, you heard us right – as well as an all-in-one meeting room with hanging chairs. For functional shapes, black MDF sheeting is cut and laminated and the resulting material is then crafted into shape. MDF is extensively hand-polished, transforming this basic material into “something new, light and highly tactile.” Our favorite, however, was Malouin’s design for a sleek wooden structure that functions as either a table or bench by itself, and as a bookshelf when stacked – a design both classic and innovative.

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