Rafael de Cárdenas’ Picks from Salone del Mobile and Beyond


This past week, Salone del Mobile took Milan and furniture lovers by storm. The bulk of Salone takes place in the convention center, Fiera Rho, but as with anything, it’s the off-the-beaten-path exhibitions that are worth the schlep to Milan. Here’s architect Rafael de Cardenas and Interview‘s rundown:

Rotor at Fondazione Prada
The six-person, Belgian collective Rotor had its way with the Prada archives, creating an installation based on broken-down sets from every Prada runway show since the line’s first in 1993 [pictured, above]. They decided to classify the elements primarily by material. The enormous piles of materials, some almost 20 feet high, have a Beuysian quality and a ghostly presence. Most have been sitting in the Prada-owned warehouse for almost 20 years, with little hope of being seen again.


Natura Morta Dinner by Studio TooGood
Up four flights of a rickety staircase, in a tiny, tenament-style apartment with peeling paint, we found a dinner design display. Each room had a different type of food installation by Francesca Sarti of Arabeschi di Latte, meticulously organized, which required multiple assistants dressed in black latex dresses with black latex over-the-elbow gloves. Helpfully, they illustrated how best to take an egg—hard-boiled in black tea—and cover it with a black fermented fish sauce and black sea salt, and the best way to take a rough-looking steel knife and stab a piece of dark bread, dip it in water and sugar, and casually nosh on it. Locally-brewed artisanal beer with fresh vanilla bean stalks in it washed the rest down. PHOTO: MARIUS W. HANSEN

Leon Ransmeier for Established and Sons
Set among the now iconic pieces in Established and Sons’ roster, Ransmeier’s stool has a cool elegance, and a subtle sense of mechanical innovation. The stool pivots on a bearing stealthily camouflaged two-thirds down its legs… a pleasant and welcome surprise, never before executed so elegantly. I’ve put in a special request for a yellow one!

Jaime Hayon for Baccarat
The aptly named Candy Light isn’t so sweet-looking in my preferred silvery mercury-glass. Instead, it resembles a grenade—with a red power button, indicating when it might detonate? The brilliantly cut glass shade nods to Baccarat’s centuries-old and unmatched glass-cutting prowess and cuts the softness of the voluptuous lam base.

Bernard Dubois at Conduits
Bernard’s collaboration with La Ville Rayée seems uncomfortably simple. Using fine proportions and heavy materials, they combine large and small, and disorient the viewer. The statuary marble sheets, laminated to generate material thickness, further lend a weightiness while retaining some of the marble’s classical roots. It’s a trek, north of the city—but worth it in voyeurism, as this is where Giancarlo Pollizi lives.