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  4. Milan's unofficial fair showcases vangua

Milan's unofficial fair showcases vangua

Fuorisalone wows from fragrant eco-furniture to fringed marble

(ANSA) - Milan, April 17 - As the massive, international Milan furniture fair - or Salone del Mobile - entered its fourth day on Friday, so did its sister design extravaganza, the Fuorisalone - or unofficial fair.
    Colourful "Fuorisalone" banners flapped under uneven weather as bands of visitors hopped from one store to the next to see what surprises awaited inside. While more than 2000 furniture companies and 700 young designers are showing their latest collections and designs at the Fiera di Milano in Rho through Sunday, hundreds of design shops and exhibit spaces in synchrony have flung open their doors to show special installations and collections in the streets of Milan.
    The reputation and tenure of the Fuorisalone, which sprang up spontaneously in the 1980s, has over the years become so associated with the vanguard in creative design that high end Italian design brands often have double shows - at the fair and in the Milan store - and the Fuorisalone takes over Milan's toniest shopping districts as well as its trendiest quarters.
    Four hundred Fuorisalone events are plotted across the city in a guide assembled by the interior decor magazine Interni. This edition, Spazio Pontaccio, a design boutique in the heart of the Brera Design District that has made its name selecting Europe's most intriguing contemporary designs, this edition debuted its first full in-house collection.
    "This year we felt we were ready," said Eleonora Negri, who runs the boutique with her husband Alberto Pellini.
    "Our closets are full of objects waiting to be produced". The walls of the shop were covered in the retro, graphic patterns of artist Federico Pepe in ivory, red, mustard gold, black and blue across hung carpets and framed canvases, echoing the palette and retro spirit of the collection. Low marble tables gave the illusion of being suspended on floor-length fringe. A classic red velvet armchair was blown out to new dimensions to seat at least two. A crystal glass display case was made to look like a safe, with a rotating "locking" dial, and mounted on a bronze frame.
    Historic Milanese contemporary design brand DePadova introduced the Yak sofa forms designed by LucidiPevere. Curved leather supported by slightly tilted wooden legs framed upholstered armchairs and sofas - designs made of raw wood, cowhide, fabrics, and inspired by the animal and vegetable worlds. DePadova also debuted the Albereta armchair by Philippe Nigro, a revisitation of a classic, fan-back armchair whose crouching silhouette reveals contemporary edge, and the Smeralda pouf and table, a minimalist design by Anna Von Schewen. DePadova's new products become installations on islands in gray painted wood, where raw beech panels and white metal screens divided space and created a play of shadows.
    Premium plastic specialist Kartell and ceramic maker Laufen opened for their first mono-brand store for their two-year-old bathroom collection, designed by Ludovica and Roberto Palomba.
    They also introduced a 120cm, shallow sink made of Laufen's proprietary SaphirKeramik material, which incorporates a mineral from the corundum family - the same group that includes sapphires. The sink was described as being as strong as steel but much lighter than normal ceramic, because the mineral is the second hardest material after diamond.
    Design heavyweight Moroso completely emptied its Milan store to make way for an art and design installation to highlight furniture designs by Jurg Schellmann, whose minimalist and conceptual ideas were shaped by influential art from the early 1960s by people like Donald Judd, Daniel Buren and Sol Levitt. The front window display featured a canary yellow, steel framed work space with a simple grey desk surface and three grey shelves. New player Staygreen presented a full line of furnishings made from composite layers of corrugated cardboard. The Venetian furniture company says the eco-furnishings are as durable as wood, and use natural glues, like one based on pea starch. Its armchair has built-in fragrance release powered by lithium batteries built to last at least five years.


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