My last day at the Salone Del Mobile was spent at the fair itself. Usually I think the offsite events are more interesting, and of course it is not possible to see everything so I might have missed something great, but this year I preferred the fair. I hate to say it, but the sobering effect the economy has had on the industry seems to have produced more considered work. Moroso and Kartel, in particular, looked amazing.
Warner Aisslinger's Hemp Chair at Moroso caught my interest.
Not sure who did this new waste can at Kartel, but it was a nice surprise and a great piece of plastic.
and Tokujin Yoshioka's new plastic chair for Kartel is perfect.
I then hooked up with my friend Theo Williams, Design Director for John Lewis.
We had a drink with from right to left, Philippa Prinsloo, Fiona Curran, Shawn Booth who worked for Harry Allen Design for seven years back in the early 00's, and his colleague, Alex LeTourneau, from Kohler,
A few of us went on to attend the Elle Decor Awards party.
And party with some Swedes, including Ikea's Lars Dafnas (right) head of design management until recently, I believe.
The day started with my friends Ilene Shaw and Katie Miller in the Tortona area where I was confounded by the Samsung exhibit.
Admittedly, I am a luddite, but their vision of the future scares me. Too much electricity. Not enough doing. The basic idea was that they created all of these blank, greyed-out rooms, and then they gave you a computer tablet to walk around with. When the tablet was pointed at the room setup they came alive with visions of the future. The program was cool but when I looked up everyone was staring at their tablets, living another reality. It all just seems so remote.
I did however like the greyed-out rooms.
Then I took off to see my friends Fabio and Luigi in their new showroom called Primopiano. It is an amazing new space and they are showing some beautiful work. My favorite were the cast vases by Peter Marigold (in the image below with the boys).
Next up, Tom Dixon's new extravaganza, MOST, in the Museum of Science and Technology. Cool space, lots to see, including David Weeks giant Cubebot. The kid in the blue shirt was all over it.
In the evening I attended the opening for my Gaia Vase project for Gaia & Gino. I'll try to post some better pictures at some point. My vase was well received, many people were in attendance, and it was a fantastic party.
I spent the day wandering around Milano looking at design. There was a great buzz at Rosanna Orlandi Gallery and it was here that I saw some the best work.
A delightful, if messy, lamp that featured an actual soap bubble by Front:
Poetic unglazed Japanese ceramics:
Resin tables with hundreds of inlaid plastic pieces
And this illusional chair upholstered in "marble" pattern.
My last stop was the Triennale, the design museum, where the forthcoming London Olympics torch, by Barber Ogersby, was on display. Very cool.
And Ross Lovegrove had a show with the glass manufacturer, Lasvit. It was a display of undulating glass walls. Here is an image of Ross distorted through the glass. It all made me sort of queasy, but I have a low tolerance for undulating architecture.
I arrived in the morning and spent most of the day setting up with the Gaia and Gino / Swarovski team. The show looks amazing, right in the heart of the shopping district on Via St Andrea.
I then headed over to my friend Tanja Solci's apartment to see how her renovation is going. She has redesigning her classic Milanese penthouse to include "a little more pattern". Its not done yet, but these shots will show you where it is headed. Sometimes I think the best design is about a commitment - and Tanja has made a commitment to color and pattern. The apartment is a swirl with flowers and bees and tartan and it is amazing.
Here is Tanja getting ready to go out.
FYI, she takes forever.
Tanja and I went to a couple of events and then I ended up with some NYC friends at dinner, including David Weeks and Joe Doucet ...
Lindsey Adelman and Jason Miller...
We closed the night at Bar Basso, a mistake, and thankfully no pictures.
China being the new frontier, Harry Allen Design headed to Shanghai the week before last.
We were showing at Luxepack, a trade show that showcases the luxury packaging industry. The booth was given to us free as part of the Platinum Pentaward we won for the Marc Jacobs Bang bottle. All we had to do is get ourselves there.
The trip was grueling, so I was happy to know about the URBN hotel. It is a little boutique oasis in Jing'an constructed of reclaimed material, including the amazing wall of leather suitcases behind the reception desk.
Shirley (HAD Studio Manager) and I ended up at Fu 1088, a very fancy restaurant the first night, located in an old house. Just the two of us in a room by ourselves. Amazing food, but not a great place to take the pulse of Shanghai.
The trade show was located just a stones throw from the Shanghai World Financial Center - an incredible building designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox. Its hard to take a bad picture. I shot this one from the back of a taxi.
Our booth at the show was more modest in scale, but still pretty beautiful. We set up two Macs with our portfolio and made the last minute decision to black out as much of the dingy slat-board as possible. A variety of our packaging projects were on display at the back of the booth.
We received hundreds of potential clients, and the response to our work was great. It is clear China is booming, but I'm not sure China is ready for us yet, and vice versa, but the jury is still out.
However, on Easter Sunday we snuck in a visit to the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden to see Patrick Blanc's vertical installations. It was a crazy idea to visit on Easter, one of the biggest days of the year at NYBG, but we got in and out early and it was a gorgeous day!
The Orchid show is well worth a visit, and it is up until April 22.
My only complaint is that the conservatory is so stuffed with plants already that it is hard to see the "green walls" from the rest of the place. I would have preferred a gallery setting to isolate and accentuate, but the orchids are amazing.
The Orchid Show used to fill the void before spring started in the Garden, gloomy March, but this year global climate change has the entire garden in bloom at least a month early. If this weekend was any indication, the end of the world will certainly be spectacular.