Milan’s annual furniture fair is not just about furniture. Increasingly, exhibits outside the fairgrounds deal with design in a broader sense. And each year, architects play an important role.
New York-based firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro put together a striking exhibit inside the courtyard of the Palazzo Litta in the city center. Called “Off the Cuff,” the installation is composed of 300 pairs of stuffed Trussardi jeans, linked waist-to-waist and cuff-to-cuff to create a tensile catenary diagrid that acts as a roof canopy over the courtyard.
Another New York firm, SO-IL, teamed up with MINI to create “Breathe.” The installation proposes a resource-conscious approach to shared city living within a compact footprint. A flexible metal frame spanning three levels supports a light-permeable outer skin that has a special coating that filters and neutralizes the air. A roof garden uses vigorous oxygen-producing plants to further improve air quality and the urban microclimate. “Breathe brings its residents into direct contact with their environment. By making living an active experience, the installation encourages visitors to confront our tendency to take resources for granted,” says Ilias Papageorgiou, principal at SO-IL.
RESET is a new stress reduction installation for the workplace. Conceived by Ben van Berkel, founder and principal of Amsterdam-based UNStudio, and Jeff Povlo, founder of social design company SCAPE, together with a multi-disciplinary team of experts that includes neuroscientists, the RESET pod is designed to empower people to deal with stress more effectively. It was exhibited as part of the ‘Joyful Sense at Work’ exhibition within the fairgrounds. UNStudio’s Knowledge Platforms and Product Department are actively engaged in investigations into new ways of working and the role that architecture and design can play in the creation of physically, socially, and psychologically healthy spaces.
Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto created a very architectural piece of furniture for the Italian line Alias, drawing inspiration from the relationship between architectural space and the human body. Called Bookchair, the compact shelving unit incorporates a chair that can be extracted. An object within an object, Bookchair underscores the relationship between humans and books: after choosing a book, the reader can take the chair and sit down to read it.
Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron recently completed the Feltrinelli Foundation building in the Porta Volta neighborhood of Milan. It served as an exhibition space for Cassina. The iconic Italian brand celebrates its 90th anniversary with a comprehensive display on the second level of the long, narrow building, and its furnishings were spread out across the impressive triangular shaped reading room on the top floor.
After being chosen as the winning city to be designated as the World Design Capital for 2018, Mexico City has revealed the theme of the year-long program of events and installations: Socially Responsible Design.
The announcement was made this week by Design Week Mexico, the country’s leading platform for design and architecture, at the 56th edition of the Salone del Mobile Milan, in collaboration with Abitare magazine.
The theme of Socially Responsible Design was chosen by organizers to reflect “an ambition to promote the role of design and creativity as agents of social and cultural change within the urban context.” With a population that has grown from 5.5 million in 1960 to 22 million today, the Mexican capital is constantly battling the urban challenges associated with rapid urbanization, including housing, mobility and sustainability.
Under this theme, Mexico City will play host to a full slate of world-class exhibitions, conferences, urban interventions and educational projects driven by four key objectives: generating opportunities, empowering civil society, preserving heritage and transforming respectfully. World Design Capital will give those in the design community a chance to voice their thoughts on the ever-changing megacity, and showcase their efforts toward building a more liveable, more international city.
Mexico City was chosen as the 2018 World Design Capital in 2015 following a competitive selection process to find a city to celebrate and showcase the positive use of design as an effective tool for economic, social and cultural development. It will be the first city in the Americas (and the sixth city overall) to hold the title, awarded biannually by the World Design Organization (formerly Icsid, International Council of Soci- eties of Industrial Design), an international non-governmental organization that promotes the profession of industrial design.
“Mexico City has a vibrant design scene, which has gained increased international attention over the last few years,” said Emilio Cabrero, General Director of Design Week Mexico / World Design Capital 2018. “Today, World Design Capital presents an opportunity to challenge and demonstrate our ability to use design solutions to address the social and urban challenges our city is facing. Coinciding with the 10th anniversary of Design Week Mexico, we are determined to create a moment for design professionals, creatives and the general public alike to come together and rethink the role of design in our society in an impactful way.”
An open call for applicants will be launched ahead of the World Design Capital 2018 that will offer up to 50 international design professionals the opportunity to work in Mexico City for a period of three weeks in June 2018. This residency program strives “to open up an international dialogue for participants to work on the practical implementation of projects addressing housing, mobility, public space and sustainability.”
News via Mexico Design Week.
Robert Konieczny + KWK Promes’ National Museum in Szczecin – Dialogue Centre Przełomy has been named the World Building of the Year 2016 as the World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Berlin comes to a close. The project consists of an atmospheric underground museum below an expansive, undulating public plaza, adjacent to Barozzi Veiga’s Mies van der Rohe Award-winning Philharmonic Hall Szczecin.
The National Museum in Szczecin – Dialogue Centre Przelomy is now the ninth project to hold the World Building of the Year title. Last year, the award was given to “The Interlace” by OMA and Buro Ole Scheeren.
Winners of the year’s Future Project, Landscape, and Small Project awards were also announced. Read on to see the winning projects with comments from the jury.
World Building of the Year:
National Museum in Szczecin – Dialogue Centre Przełomy / Robert Konieczny + KWK Promes
The judges, chaired by Sir David Chipperfield, gave the following commendations:
“This project enriches the city and the life of the city. It addresses a site with three histories, pre-World War II, wartime destruction, and post-war development, which left a significant gap in the middle of the city.
“This is a piece of topography as well as a museum. To go underground is to explore the memory and archaeology of the city, while above ground the public face of the building, including its undulating roof, and be interpreted and used in a variety of ways.
“This is a design which addresses the past in an optimistic, poetic and imaginative way.”
Future Project of the Year:
South Melbourne Primary School / Hayball
The school is a new model of vertical school responding to the specific inner-urban context of the developing Fishermans Bend urban renewal area in the city. Accommodating 525 students, the new school will be an integral component of the Montague Precinct within Fisherman’s Bend providing an education and community focus as the area is developed.
WAF’s Future Project super-jury, comprising Kim Nielsen, Ole Scheeren and Coren Sharples selected the project for “the way the space interprets and promotes pedagogy” commending it for the way it connects indoor and outdoor teaching areas and differentiated learning environments. The judges felt the architects overcame the challenges of designing a vertical school, using a central staircase as a point of interaction and as a gathering space.
Small Project of the Year:
ZCB Bamboo Pavilion / Chinese University of Hong Kong School of Architecture
The public event space was built for the Construction Industry Council (CIC)’s Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) in the summer of 2015 in Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong. It is a four-storey-high, 37 metre spanning, bamboo gridshell structure with a usable area of approximately 350m2 and a seating capacity of 200 people, placed in the ZCB Garden Area. It is built from 473 large bamboo poles that are bent onsite to shape the structure and that are hand-tied together with metal wire using techniques based on Cantonese bamboo scaffolding craftsmanship. Recognised by judges as “an excellent architectural outcome” the project was commended as a “brilliant example of cutting edge simulation and modelling combined with delightful traditional craft and skill.”
Landscape of the Year:
Kopupaka Reserve, Auckland, New Zealand / Isthmus
The project is a hybrid park, where a storm water reserve has been combined with an urban park, playground and skate park, all made possible by dovetailing the masterplanning of the streets with the green infrastructure of the 22-hectare reserve. Judges praised the project as “a successful translation of Maori traditions that succeeded in being both poetic and imaginative in its creation of a landscape that captures the soul and nature of the area.”
News and descriptions via WAF.
AN Design, Black Cant System – HEIKE fashion brand concept store, Hangzhou, China