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Schools at Ventura Lambrate (Milan)

With over half of the participants at Ventura Lambrate hailing from the Netherlands, we were bound to find some of tomorrow’s talented designers. DAE, HKU, Piet Zwart and the KABK were just a few of the participating schools during the Salone del Mobile. 

By Cassandra Pizzey / 15-04-2014

A few years ago Ventura Lambrate was another ‘up-and-coming neighbourhood’, packed with disused warehouses, old garages and other vacant properties. Thanks to Margriet Vollenberg and Margot Konings of Organisation in Design, this area to the north of Lambrate train station is now firmly established as a Salone del Mobile creative hub. 

Ventura Lambrate became known as the spot where designers with smaller budgets were able to put on shows, an excellent spot for design schools to present themselves and the talents of tomorrow. 

Like last year, the Design Academy Eindhoven presented a scaled-down version of the 2013 graduation show Self-Unself at Lambretto Art Project or LAP. Some of the students’ most promising projects were on show this time, in an exhibition curated by Thomas Widdershoven and Jan Konings. A social theme could clearly be found in the graduation show and was translated to the show at LAP. 

Among the designs were Inge Kuipers Tea Set Touch, a tea set made for people with arthritis who have trouble pouring out tea from a normal pot. This one has no handle and doesn’t become too hot to touch, allowing the user to gently pour out tea with two hands. 

A piece we spotted at multiple venues across Ventura Lambrate was Arnout Meijer’s Thanks for the sun, a series of lights that mimic the morning sun, daylight and setting sun through adjustable LEDs. A project that questions our throw-away culture and proved a hit during the Salone is François Duquesnoy’s ‘One Place, One Week, One Interior’ or Collectibles series. The designer spent a number of weeks travelling from city to city, collecting discarded furniture off the street. In each city he would create new items of furniture from what he found on the street, colour coding the items to match the feel of each city; a grey blue for Eindhoven, pale green for Normandie, and bright red for Berlin. 

The Royal Academy of Art, the Hague also chose a similar approach to last year’s show with a live lab, exhibition by students and alumni and a series of live performances. New this year was Arne Hendriks’ The Incredible Shrinking Man lab. Eleven students of the KABK have joined Hendriks’ research team to find out what would happen if we all shrunk to 50 centimetres.

The multidisciplinary show named Back Stage On Stage asked for audience participation as students/alumni recreated some of their pieces such as Anouk van Klaveren’s project
000 004 HYPERTRICHOSIS 2.0, in which she takes human hair to create bow ties, questioning the transparency of mass-production fashion houses. 

The students of the KABK were focussed on a series of experimental projects which look towards our future. They presented not a social manifesto but one that sees design as a breeding ground for innovation, whether that be through bio-hacking, technology or even shrinking as the human race. 

Over at Piet Zwart Institute (Master Interior Architecture & Retail Design) students focussed on presenting a visible or tangible soundscape through the presentation Instruments. While audio is something immaterial, students created products that integrated sound in new ways, creating alternative ‘sonic’ experiences for contemporary home life. 

The ‘sonic f.lux’ by Marco Busani  and Natalie Konopelski combined lighting, water and speakers to create a beautiful hanging lamp which illustrated sounds through water ripples. As the light shines through the water, the ripples become visible not only through the water but also through the light itself (video below).

A fun project was Obsessive Cleaners by Bianca Yousef and Kleoniki Fatiadou, a quintet of miniature cleaning machines which create a micro soundscape through repetitive friction (video below). 

Not Dutch, but definitely worth a mention is the group show by HEAD – Geneva University of Art and Design. Here, students had built an entire apartment complete with neon pink living room, mirrored bathroom and meeting circle. Walking around the various spaces required some skill as visitors were asked to climb ladders and fit through tiny doors. The experience itself however was refreshing as it reactivated the senses.

Main image: HEAD – Geneva courtesy of Arts Thread
Other images
1. Inge Kuijpers ©DAE
2. Arnout Meijer © DAE
3. François Duquesnoy © DAE
4. The Incredible Shrinking Man
5. Anouk van Klaveren
6. Sonic F.lux
7. Obsessive Cleaners
8. HEAD- Geneva courtesy of Arts Thread