Milan Design Fair: Hermès and Louis Vuitton focus on ever more luxurious design
The second day of Milan's Design Week showcased the interior design collections of some of the world's leading luxury brands, with a common denominator of unparalleled quality. From Hermès to Louis Vuitton, they competed in craftsmanship and precious materials.
On the bustling Corso Venezia, Louis Vuitton's installation, always eagerly awaited during the design fair, did not fail to impress. The luxury house presented, in a succession of rooms and sumptuous salons of the Palazzo Serbelloni, sixty pieces of furniture as well as the "Objets Nomades" collection of travel-inspired items it launched in 2012 in collaboration with top designers. The presentation included eleven new designs by Atelier oï, Raw Edges, Atelier Biagetti, Marcel Wanders, Zanellato/Bortotto, Campana and the Louis Vuitton studio.
Until a few years ago, these objects were showcased through dedicated installations that were often poetic and surprising. In ten years, the collection has grown so much that it is now presented in multiple sets that bring together objects from all the designers to create different worlds. This year, white is the dominant colour with a few incursions of red, while the emblematic Louis Vuitton trunk features throughout the rooms as a coffee table.
More so, the iconic travel trunk is the main focus of a special project called "Cabinet of Curiosities", conceived by the Australian designer Marc Newson, which transforms the luggage to display its most precious objects but also books, works of art or other travel souvenirs, like a personal gallery and library. Made up of 19 metal cubes lined with leather, eight of which have doors and secret compartments to hold valuable items, only 40 editions of this very special trunk have been produced.
But the surprises don't stop there. As at every design fair, Louis Vuitton is also exhibiting a new nomadic architecture in the courtyard of the Palazzo Serbelloni: a light, organic metal structure designed by New York-based French architect Marc Fornes, constructed from more than 1,600 sheets of anodised aluminium, some of which are only 1 millimetre thick. A sort of spherical structure that appears to be emerging from the ground.
Hermès has been a regular at the furniture and design fair since 2011. This year the brand has once again set up shop at La Pelota, a historic venue in the trendy Brera district where, until 1997, Basque pelota was played. However, the scenography has been completely changed, abandoning the usual separate spaces and pavilions to offer, instead, an overall view of the entire collection through a sort of immense metal grid. The décor is made from sheets of steel reinforcement mesh used to build concrete structures.
The idea came from Charlotte Macaux Perelman, who runs the Hermès "House" division with Alexis Fabry. With the help of these long rusty steel rods, usually hidden in the concrete, she created a set of screens with various patterns. Placing the rods vertically, horizontally or diagonally, close together or further apart, she built a display through which the objects were visible from all angles.
For this 2023 edition, the saddler presented many new items, starting with the Contour sofa with its essential and almost classic shape, made of flamed wool and cotton fabric, finished with leather piping. The back of the sofa is decorated with the famous full leather buttons designed for the house by Maison Margiela.
Hermès also called on renowned designers such as Jasper Morrison, who reinvented the Conservatory chair with its geometric and angular shape, which was covered by Hermès in the 1930s. The designer modernised the chair by lightening its base and reworking its shape and proportions.
Finnish designer Harri Koskinen created a series of lamps made of blown glass in different colours, which he placed on a leather base, while Cecilie Manz from Danemark designed an armchair that is both robust and simple, with just a sheet of leather as a seat on a solid wood frame.
This year the crockery set has been completed with a collection of porcelain breakfast pieces decorated by the French designer Jochen Gerner with his freehand felt pen illustrations. Called "Saut d'Hermès", the set is distinguished by its cheerful and colourful drawings in soft tones inspired by the equestrian world, particularly by the Saut Hermès horse show.
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