The fair and the exhibits in the city usually last for five days. The designers and brand ambassadors channel all their efforts into this one big show in April in Milan, Italy. Millions of dollars are spent on design, creation, production, and after a short week it is all gone. Great memories and lots of new contacts and maybe some sales, but generally ‘come and gone’.
Tom Dixon and his team decided to make the Milan Design Week more permanent for them. The design of the Manzoni restaurant in the heart of the city is the result. He has learnt over the many years that he has worked in Italy that there is a strong connection between food, design, and business.
The Manzoni with its sleek, almost monochrome design speaks to that. At the entrance the coffee bar is a great way to catch an espresso or cappuccino for people on the way to work. The long tables into the space have a communal feel, and the marble-clad courtyard invites to sit and contemplate.
Further into the space, the almost cozy sitting room or lounge is an excellent place to mingle and to look at the latest product and accessory designs on display. The team has an opportunity to see how potential buyers react to a new product that can live within a real environment.
The Manzoni is a place for inspiration and contemplation. The level of detail in the design is astounding. From marble slabs from Mount Etna at the coffee bar to the table tops that come from Chinese hills to the ‘fat’ furniture.
The chair and table designs follow the trend of ‘fat is beautiful’. The comfortable seats sport oversized cushions and large, soft tubes as back and arm rests. They invite guests to have long conversations over a good meal.
Everything is planned and crafted down to the last detail. The ‘Spring light’ provides transparent illumination and fill the space beautifully without blocking it. The inspiration came from slinky toys, and the lamp is also able to transform into a different shape.
At the presentation where Tom Dixon explained all of the details to the sculptures that are created with a sort of terrazzo mix material and the leather art work, food was not missing at the Manzoni. It was so artfully arranged that invitees were not sure if it was part of the installation and only to be looked at or tasted.
This week at the Milan Design Week shows that the strong, powerful color trend continues, however, the black and white theme of the Manzoni is a welcome alternative and escape from the visual senses overload. Albeit not less interesting and intriguing.