Today we hit the ground running – covering Designer's Block, Droog, Ventura Lambrate and the remainder of Zona Tortona. Let's skip to the highlights (as our feet and livers need soaking). Ventura Lambrate was excellent – so much to see and certainly the most variety with an experiment of art, furniture and design. Lambrate is considered the most up-and-coming zones of quality design. To us it felt the most intimate, as if we stumbled along a great little secret area – yet everybody knows about it.
Zona Tortona is more like the designers version of Mardi Gras. The streets are packed with aggressive show goers who only slow down to consume a beverage or two between showrooms and shops. The clear gem was Swarovski's Crystal Palace. We've never seen such a demonstration of sparkle (and if you know weetu, that's saying a lot). It was something to awe and, oddly enough, we were a little wobbly coming out of there as if we fell down the rabbit's hole. It was also a nice palette cleanser from playing a human instrument at the Royal College of Art a few moments earlier. What seemed like neutral vinyl upholstered pads, to our dismay, turned out to be naked boy backs. You'll have to see the video to get the visual.
The train ride into Rho today conjured reminiscent appreciation for the "denim kit". Yes, head to toe denim is often a no-no, but when rocked in Italy it really is something to admire. And we did.
Today weetu saw a lot more along the lines of yesterday, but a walk around "Salone Satellite" (a juried hall of innovative, young designers from around the world) left us convinced that in the very near future your newspaper will be able to quickly convert into a cappuccino machine, or at the very least a comfortable chair.
Satellite's showcase of new thinking was a reminder that you don't have to carry a big name to make an impact. Cut-away materials and transforming furniture ruled the day as tomorrow's innovators showed how a strong imagination and solid prototypes go a long way even if their creations haven't yet been picked up by a big line. It's only a matter of time for some. For the others, surely they were as inspired by their peers as we were.
As with any organized show, especially at this scale, there does seem to be a bit of restraint. The buzz is that Salone, or even Fuori Salone, is lacking the radical that, perhaps, has been more present in shows past. Is this reflective of current economic times or simply a wave of needing to play it more safe? These are questions circulating among a diverse range of Salone attendees (press, architects, artists, etc.). Weetu are not seasoned pros at this particular show, but do identify that an element of mind blowing in actual new products are fewer than imagined. Yet, the energy and vibe this city possesses does not reflect anything lacking. In fact, it's exciting how alive it is.
Weetu's out again to see what Fuori Salone has to offer tonight. Stay tuned.