05. August 2014 · Comments Off on Milan: Design Capital · Categories: Main Blog, Seen & Found, The Business of Design

I ran out of time in Lambrate. It was the end of a full-on few days, I was tired although not as much as the designers who showed there, still I felt it was the best balance of new products and creativity, displayed very professionally.  But why on design-earth it is so difficult to buy those great products there and then? No exhibitor demonstrated any willingness to sell when I showed wanting-to-buy signs: ” How much? Where can I buy this?” Isn’t product design about selling something to someone?

Lighting design installation - Milan 2014

Yet it is there that I found refreshing exhibits and the most human exhibitors. A patient and passionate lighting designer took the time to explain how lighting design fits in the architecture and building process, how her or her colleagues are called when it’s too late and how light should be designed in a building depending on its purpose, use and location. Truly interactive, they had successfully designed the notion of time out of their installation.

Like any other cultural capital, artists and designers are increasing the future value of out-of-reach areas. Lambrate is going through this transition. In a few years, like Brick Lane in London, design aboriginals will be priced out of the area their creativity made desirable.

Designers Block and consorts moved to a quiet street not far from Centrale in the San Gregorio district. Some found the new location a bit quiet – apparently it was almost too busy last year in Tortona. No doubt that they are carving a new niche of cool-ness on the Milan design map.

Lambrate - Milan 2014

Design influencers Wallpaper* and Droog were too in San Gregorio. At first, I was a bit disappointed by Droog’s showdown: a large and nearly empty space with a few pieces, a contrasting presence to Kartell’s golden opulence – which I choose to miss. So if Droog showed less they intended to actually sell their new products.

Leclettico benches and mirrors - Milan 2014

I really slowed down at San Gregorio 39 as I  could not get enough of the crafted design organised by the incourtournable design magazine.  There were quiet pieces of furniture, stationary and furniture carefully explained.  I wonder what the products on show have become apart from the exquisite collection by Czech brands Gaia&Gino and Verreum. They were the rare ones to have somebody there to undertake PR and sales duties. The quiet presence of Leccletico who provided the space, infused vintage value to the area, an advantage when launching a new design district.

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