I can barely keep track of my mom’s travel schedule, as she’s always heading off to the industry tradeshows, whether as an exhibitor or a trend tracker (like mother, like daughter!).
As president of Architectural Systems, Nancy Jackson has been an innovator of material trends, sourcing the latest and greatest products from around the world for over 20 years. Dedicated to partnering with the design community, ASI is attuned to what designers are looking for and is always staying ahead of the curve. This month, Nancy attended Salone Internazionale del Mobile, which is the center of creativity and innovation, and I interviewed her to find out first hand what's happening from Milan!
What makes Salone del Mobile so special?
Well, Milan’s Design Week is the largest international showcase for contemporary furniture & architectural materials. The show allows people to see the best and newest products in the world of domestic furnishings. This year, the show celebrated “50 years young”, and Salone energized the entire city! There were events and exhibits going on everywhere!
An amazing interactive outdoor exhibit in the famous Duomo di Milano piazza (behind the hotel where I stayed). “Principia - Rooms and Substances of the Next Arts”, was really an experience to walk through.
Wasn’t this the first time you went to Salone? Why this year?
Yes, and my incentive was to represent Architectural Systems (ASI) at the international launch of 3M’s Architectural Markets division, with which ASI has just announced a strategic alliance. At the Triennale Design Museum, 3M featured their DI-NOC™ and Fasara™ finishes and introduced their lighting products, showcased in a fantastic architectural space. The theme, ‘Infinite Innovation’, pairs nicely with our concept of ‘Choice + Innovation’ as these are new collections to the ASI product offering.
The VIP reception at the booth was very exciting! It was a fantastic international turnout with many of the Gensler team from all of their US studios, and it was great to see Keith Rosen and EJ Lee from the NY office there.
I also got to attend the Karim Rashid party, also at Triennale, exhibiting 15 years of his prolific product designs. Who knew that Prada’s cosmetics packaging was his work, too?
What were the highlights of the show? Any emerging designers?
I didn’t get to see as much as I would have liked at the fairgrounds, but two booths I loved were Edra and Kartell (highlighted in the NY Times!).
As you know, I am a passionate supporter of young design talent so the ‘Designing the Future’ exhibit at SaloneSatellite by A&D students from 20 universities was a must see for me. Digital animation which was presented as a new form of communication, housed in an acoustical igloo, was unbelievable. We won’t only be interacting with people through words on Facebook, instant message and text, but soon, through virtual images of each other.
One example of students on the cutting edge of design was the combination of technology and materials being used together in the WAFFT furniture collection. This was a hybrid of aluminum and wood and I hope a manufacturer picked up this promising design!
What were some of the trends you saw?
Digital imaging was definitely everywhere. It was really hard to tell what was real and what was virtual! The images of a park landscape as a backdrop in a booth with actual park benches and musicians playing was really impactful!
The leather manufacturers also used digital images of bookcases as focal elements for their displays and you couldn't tell the classics on the shelves weren't real!
I also saw lots of color everywhere, and QR Codes to scan on your smart phones in the most cutting edge exhibit booths!
What else were you able to do in Milan?
Though I was only there for a couple of days, I did get to enjoy the fabulous restaurants. The first night was a late dinner at Ristorante Da Giannino, which was fun and trendy! The “last supper” in Milan was at Dolce & Gabbana’s Ristorante Gold with my favorite Canadian designers from II by IV. The space was phenomenal – from the mirrored tables and chandeliers to the architecture, all the gold details were bellisimo!
I also happened to discover an Impressionist exhibit at the newly renovated Royal Palace Museum of Art Palazzo Reale, which was a special treat for me. It was composed of 73 paintings by French Masters from the Clark Collection.