SALONE NEWS in Milan
by Masayuki Kurokawa

  • 2007/04/23
    I am completely exhausted. Yes, there are many, so many things I should see that I haven’t seen yet.
    It’s almost impossible to describe the actual condition of Salone at present to let the readers get a clear picture of it. It can really kill you. The last day of this year’s Salone, the Sunday every place of Milan, regardless its main exhibition arena or its streets, is full of people who don’t want to miss the final day of this international trade show for this year. On top of that some important soccer match was held earlier today in which Inter Milan won the game, every corner of the city of Milan is filled with exited people. Cars and motor cycles are running in and through the big open square close to Doumo and any square in whole Milan, honking their horns, hoisting Italian banner. Cars can’t move but the idea of walking is more scary.
  • 2007/04/22
    The main show of Cassina is in Fiera. I’d like to introduce its items I found on the streets with a few pictures I took. As a mogul company, it still has a great energy to go forward. Let me leave the report on Cassina to someone else, though.
  • 2007/04/22
    I remember I saw around 20 of this cow in Marunouchi, Tokyo. I hear that some artist is showing it at big events all over the world through the sponsors the designer found. In short, it’s a kind of project to exhibit cows all over the streets of Milan by inviting lots of artists to do that. It’s one of the features of Salone.
  • 2007/04/22
    This is a wonderful exhibition space I can never fail to visit every year. Though I don’t know whether these works are its permanent exhibits or only for the period of Salone, it is showing items of excellence as usual. The towel hunger I introduced last year seems to have been not taken up for its collection. I cannot find it here this year.
  • 2007/04/22
    I have brought here Canon 5D and the zoom lenses from 24 up to 105 for it, which I recently purchased. It’s heavy stuff but the excellence of this photo equipment makes me very excited to take pictures. I can no more use portable small thin digital cameras. This Canon is a digital camera that enables its users to change ISO easily depending on the conditions of the places where photos are taken. If the place is dark, for example, you can set it to 1000 or 1500. In bright outside, 100 or 200 is suitable.
  • 2007/04/22
    It may be the first time for Yamagiwa, being conscious of Salone, to exhibit its new line of products to be introduced at Euroluce. Yamagiwa entrusted several designers with their designs.
    The one hanging from the ceiling was designed by Lovegrove. The lanterns with outer cocoon-like round fabric are the works of Tomio Ito. The small stands with LED are the works of Makio Hasuike well known for his brand of bags and accessories he designs. The ones of small round thick crystals with their backside smoked are by Tokujin Yoshioka.
  • 2007/04/22
    I’ve, too, revised the design for my small chair. In the first design, the angle of the bent part between the seat board and the backboard was precise 90 degrees. But the revised design has adopted a continuous curved line for the surface of its seat and back. One reason for this change is, of course, to improve the feeling for sitting on. There is also another crucial reason, that is, the difficulty of producing the wooden chair with its first design.
  • 2007/04/22
    Mr. Azumi came to visit Next Maruni’s space. He scolded me though he was wearing great smiles for me. He said, “ Why isn’t the story of my chairs written, here?” I answered, “Because I found no great difference from the ones last year.” I’d like to develop to writing about the details as my answer to him may have been a kind of too blunt.
  • 2007/04/22
    The exhibition of Ingo Maurer is the one I’m always looking forward to seeing in every year’s Salone. This work may not be his own making but the one by someone Ingo gave his instructions. If you know whose work this is, please let me know. As Shigeru Uchida’s ‘Waves of Light’ indicates, ‘light’ is an essence that always moves people’s hearts with its eternal and dramatic nature.
  • 2007/04/22
    In the yard of Triennale is a cabin by Shigeru Ban. The recyclable material of plastic and pulp molded in the forms of H and T like those of steel structures, makes up of this cabin. Some material used for its horizontal parts claimed to be recyclable are a little bent, which causes me a little worry.
  • 2007/04/22
    The pictures here are showing the works exhibited at a super studio named ‘NEW CREATIVE GENERATION/THAT’DESIGN’.
    The exhibition here seems to be one having been planned to focus on young students, standing against Satellite that has been growing to be ever professional. The problem with the project like this is that its success or its failure is largely judged by the content of the exhibited works there.
  • 2007/04/22
    These are the photos of a one-man-show and a group exhibition.
    The one-man-exhibition is the one presented by Mr. Toshiyuki Kita and the group-exhibition is the one taken charge of by Mr. Shigeru Uchida. Mr. Uchida’s glass-tree and water-reflection are good. He says he made this glass-tree in Czech Republic. He also says water-reflection is the fruit of more than a few trials and errors.
  • 2007/04/22
    This is a work presented at the theatre of D&G. They say the support of the D&G owner realized this presentation. All kinds of chairs are exhibited in Salone, some works of which are half-boiled art, some of which are only for their rational functions of chairs and some of which are ones hiding their vulgarness under the cover of the term, ‘Conceptual’.
  • 2007/04/22
    ‘The paradise of Mendini’ is the name I myself gave to this chair and not the actual name of this work. The various activities of Mendini with the brilliant emergence of Post-Modern Movement are unforgettable memories of mine. His energetic activities and vivid worldview always come back to my heart like the experiences of being in the heavenly paradise. The splendor of this chair shown at the corner of the stage with its pride seems to me to be a message from the great paradise.
  • 2007/04/22
    It has been placed here at the entrance of Triennale for sometime. There’s a spiral-shaped galleria inside, which, I guess, for people to play there.
  • 2007/04/22
    I’m not quite familiar with the history and the cooperate principle of the company, Moroso. I’d like each of readers to check and understand them. This company looks, in fact, very interesting to me. What I wrote in another report on ‘Common Patterns’ is actually concerning Moroso. I’m not even sure how to pronounce this company name but I’ve found a fresh but a kind of lofty achievement in its products. The modern design completed by eliminating all the decorative elements impresses us with its great presence like the embodiment of the most sophisticated fashion.
  • 2007/04/22
    Needless to say, Tokujin is excellent at presenting his works. He is not so much a product designer as a display designer. His eyes to see things in the context he creates are something beyond what most product designers can see. It’s the design of how things should be seen.
  • 2007/04/22
    I never fail to visit Triennale. It always has various exhibition programs some of which may be good and others of which may be not good. Where are the exhibitions of Mr.Kuma and Mr.Kenya Hara supposed to be held? They must be being held as presentations of a Japanese real-estate company. As this photo shows, at Triennale such variety of programs are taking place simultaneously as lectures given at the open space, Modern Italian Exhibition organized by Andrea Brandy and so on.
  • 2007/04/22
    KUMA’s work is very close to the very Japanese itself. He is making use of Japanese esthetic sense to almost excessive extent. But it’s good. Though it’s my belief that true estheticism should be the expression of the sense of beauty that an individual finds through introspection of his or her own mind and that holds good in the modern society, KUMA’s work seems to go on the verge of falling into pop and vulgar cultural concept of Japan. Such a method as this he uses seems to have been well familiar to us.
  • 2007/04/20
    The more sophisticated its products become, the less clear their designers’ ideas seem to become. I miss those old days when TOTO, a small local company, was making great efforts to find good designs for its products. I believe design for each single item must come first, which tells us the designer’s dedication having been put in his or her work. What I wanted to see is such genuine efforts each designer has made for the creation of the particular product.
    Now that the products of TOTO have been highly sophisticated, which, in turn, makes its great energy invisible to us.
    The stool exhibited at the entrance was wonderful. It has a lot more excellent products in stock. Not to show them in Salone seems to be a kind of unwise waste of its investment for participating in this event.
  • 2007/04/20
    It reminds me of the groups of travelers that were seen everywhere in Europe. Many Italian designers seem to welcome this festive fuss saying, “ Oh, I think this is good liquor.” The liquors exhibited there together with the huge miniature of Tokyo made by Mori Building are the center of people’s attention.
  • 2007/04/20
    The design-team of YAMAHA that has been continuously making excellent designs for their electrical musical instruments finally arrived at Milan Salone. The concepts and their expressions they have given to their products represent their most original forms to the almost unprecedented degrees in the past. Showing their products may be enough to let us know the revolutionary and the miraculous findings they have made.
  • 2007/04/20
    To show Lexus. That is the purpose of this demonstration. Tokujin Yoshioka inspired us with his striking expression last year. Based on the concept of ‘Toyota versus Tokujin’ , the exhibition of Lexus and the chairs by Tokujin was creating a very impressive effect to be remembered for a long time.

    This year, however, the ideas and the conceptual structures seem to be a little vague.
    Though they are trying to present the collaborated expression between architects and Toyota’s planners being unified, it seems that too much theories are emptily spinning.
  • 2007/04/20
    I walk all around Satellite. I do this not only for writing this ‘ Salone Report ’ but also for finding the designers I should invite to participate in ‘Designers’ Catalogue‘, an annual event held in July at Design Gallery of Ginza Matsuya Department Store. The most important purpose of this event is to find young designers we are to back up. The designers sought for may not be matured yet but should be promising ones in the future. Almost all designers I’ve selected for this event in the past are now as visibly active as I expected.
  • 2007/04/20
    I’m obsessed with patterns. I remember, 40 years ago, I was always asking myself what ‘decoration’ should be like. And I thought that without attaining the ultimate answer for this question, it might be impossible to know the essential nature of designs. I recently started to work on the production of porcelain in Jingdezhen in China. There, I encountered characteristic antique patterns the excellence of which moved me and, at the same time, began to make me suspect that something seems to be wrong with modern platter-drawings like those of present day Jingdezhen porcelain.

  • 2007/04/20
    Each of the table and the chair, here, is made of a folded plastic sheet. At a glance, you may think they are just works with the use of cardboard but the actual works are made of solid and strong plastic sheets with wonderful texture. The lines of perforations at their corners give us such an impression that the sheets of plastic board are bent along these lines.
  • 2007/04/20
    ‘One sheet of cloth’ is a work of Issey Miyake, the idea of which is to make things from a sheet of cloth. Let’s take a look at several examples. The concept of a ‘sheet’ is, needless to say, essential to furniture.
  • 2007/04/20
    The works of Starck, now, seem to have come to represent all the French estheticism.
    With its calm gracefulness, I like the works of Starck now better than those in the past. I felt a kind of weird impression about them, though. Every work being introduced gives us an impression of collaborated work with someone else. The chair in this photo, for example, is named ‘Philippe Starck by DOLCE & GABBANA’. Here the name ‘ Starck’ seems not so much the designer’s name as a brand name. ‘Starck’ seems to have come to be ‘a brand’ rather than a designer.
    Anyway it’s intriguing to me that Starck has come to have an air of a right successor of French culture.
  • 2007/04/20
    Two lounge chairs introduced by Next Maruni. One of them is a work of Alberto Meda. The other is a work of Tetsu Sumii, the Grand Prix winner of the International Competition.
  • 2007/04/18
    The time of Milan Salone comes around. Hotels and streets there have begun to have its special air of tension and excitement.. People from around the world get together here in Milan and those who work here let me hear a variety of opinions and rumors.
    Some say, “It seems some college students from London are showing their works at Satellite.” , Others say, “ It looks like Salone is only for Italy and Japan.” In anyway, the enthusiasm of Japanese on Milan Salone seems to have reached its peak.. An Italian designer whose studio I visited, pointing his forefinger to the pile of invitations, dared say, “ Those are trash.” I said, “ Mine is in them.” Then, he said, “Oh, mine, too.” This could be a laughing matter.