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Milan 2013: Lambrate Highlights

It’s hard to believe Ventura Lambrate has only been part of the Salone del Mobile for four years now. Seen as the place for independent designers, design schools and young talent, the Lambrate area always proves popular with the young crowd. 

By Cassandra Pizzey / 18-04-2013

Organisation in Design is behind the Ventura Lambrate, starting the project in 2010 as a celebration of creativity, quality, experimentation, and content. Now, Lambrate is a firm fixture for many visitors to Milan in April. 

It was our first visit to LAP!, right on the edge of the Lambrate area, but Aldo Bakker was glad to be back in this light open space. “It feels like a nice familiar place to be,” says the designer who presents his latest Three Pair stool with Particles gallery in Milan. “I’m surrounded by galleries and people I know, and the space itself is just beautiful.” Bakker demonstrates a scale model of his design, comprising three elements that balance, cover and lock the object in place. His aesthetic is recognizable, “Dutch?” we ask. “That’s not for me to decide,” he laughs. The space is certainly fitting for his work, clean, minimalist, sometimes functional always seeming to conceal a hidden meaning. 


That same duality of meaning goes for most works on show at LAP!, where presentations by the Design Academy Eindhoven (DAE), Chi Ha Paura...?. HAN Gallery, Valerie_Traan Gallery and Z33 – house for contemporary art each occupy a small (or in DAE’s case large) part of the space. The display of latest products for buyers and press has been put on hold at LAP! and instead a moment of reflection is asked from the viewer. After being confronted with a video of conveyer belt workers, whose choreography dictates the form and function of the objects they are making (Cohen van Balen’s 75 Watt) at Z33, it’s time to move on to the next presentation. 


Via Ventura is the main road through the Lambrate area and this year plays host to collective 010-020, so named for their phone area codes, respectively Rotterdam and Amsterdam. That Dutch aesthetic we talked about before is apparent here, even though one of the seven young designers participating in this group exhibition, Dana Cannam, is originally Canadian. “I live and work in Rotterdam in the Havengebied. I love it there, amongst other creative studios and its an inspiring environment.” Studying at the DAE changed his aesthetics says Cannam. At 010-020 he and partner Rachel Griffin of Earnest Studio present All of a Piece, a series of objects made from marble, granite and wood. Different compositions are possible thanks to magnets transforming loose components into lamps or candle holders for instance. 


Among the other designers part of 010-020 are Jeroen van Leur and Mae Engelgeer. “I joined at the last minute,” says Van Leur. “Mae needed something to present her textiles on and I needed something to show on my Woodstock Wardrobe”, a portable clothing rack made from a modular system of wooden poles and copper connections. 

With other designers including David Derksen, Lex Pott, Phil Procter and Studio WM, this group of young designers did well to team up for the Salone del Mobile, showing a strong sense of Dutch design within seven different practices. 


Preferring a solo exhibition this year is Tjep., a designer every Dutch visitor to Milan should know for his designs at Schiphol Airport. In Milan however Frank Tjepkema is keen to show his latest project which incorporates DNA into furniture and jewellery. Taking DNA analyses by DutchDNA, and in particular that of Giulia Wolthuis daughter, “We first created a prototype,” explains Tjepkema. “Then we took the shapes created by the DNA to make a table and jewellery collection. While the prototype is reminiscent of a Jeff Koons work, the forms of the table, continued in rings and a bracelet do feel organic. 


Tjepkema is happy with his space at Ventura Lambrate which shows a mix of furniture, special projects “and for the first time the complete jewellery collection.” 


There was a great mix of designers to be found this year at Lambrate, a great atmosphere thanks to Amaro’s pop-up restaurant and many young design lovers looking to be inspired, just what Ventura Projects is all about if you ask us. 

Main Image: 010-020

Other images: 1. Aldo Bakker 2. HKU 3. ZUYD Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design 4. Earnest Studio & Dana Cannam Design 5. Mae Engelgeer & Jeroen van Leur 6. and 7. Tjep.