Thursday, April 14, 2011

Designers playful at Milan's 2011 furniture fair

MILAN : Designers laughed off the economic crisis at Milan's annual furniture fair this year, ditching staid luxury for jocular hammock sofas, tilting chairs, bar stools with pedals and robot bookcases.The Salone Internazionale del Mobile - the biggest event in the design calendar - celebrated its 50th year with over 2,700 companies on exhibit and expected over 100,000 people to flock through its doors.Curious visitors and the design-savvy alike wandered between hoards of minimalist lampshades, bird ornaments and plant displays and perched on sleek plastic chairs or reclined on eccentrically shaped chaise longues.French designer Philippe Starck drew crowds with his "Miss Less" chair, a plastic creation for Italian company Kartell, so minimalist that the designer has boasted he had managed to break the limits of scaled down furniture design.The chair, a solid block of glossy black plastic - which also comes in a two-toned version with a transparent back-rest - starred alongside Starck's towering, long-legged bar stool and white table with a lustrous black top.In another area of the show, Italian architect and designer Fabio Novembre showed off his Transformer-style 1980s Robot-shaped bookcase, created for the design company Casamania."My generation always had a robot as a playtime companion and I needed to find a new reason to justify its presence next to my desk," the 44-year-old joked when the bookcase was recently presented to the public.Composed of black asymmetrical shelves and cubbyholes, the towering robot with jetting shoulders and a square head sported a red compartment for a heart - a perfect place for stashing Transformer comics. More news on the furniture fair at: