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Designers’ Experience of Milan: mcdermott baxter

Ruth McDermott and Ben Baxter of Sydney based design firm mcdermott baxter exhibited their trademark flourish in lighting design at the 2015 Milan Design Week. We hear what the duo thought about the fair.

Designers’ Experience of Milan: mcdermott baxter


April 28th, 2015

Name: Ruth McDermott & Ben Baxter

Occupation: designers

Location (where are you based): Sydney

Company: mcdermottbaxter

Position: partners


How would you describe the 2015 Milan Design Fair in one sentence, from an exhibitor’s perspective?

Challenging. Exhausting. Stimulating. Meeting interesting people. It is hard work in every way.

What did you personally take from and/or learn at the fair?

You get things out of it you don’t expect. It is the people you meet, feedback from an audience expert in design, things you see that surprise you & things you see that disappoint you. It was instructive to see the incredible support that countries such as Netherlands, Norway, Austria, France, Belgium give their designers. Governments, educational institutions & cultural institutions try & promote the design culture of their countries. It is an attitude – they all pull together to promote the country’s design.


What is the most valuable thing about the fair in general to you, as a designer?

Feedback on our work from architects, designers, press & manufacturers. In Australia you are in a microsm working in lighting with little manufacturing. We realized that our approach in using LEDs is original & innovative & worth pursuing.




What has been the highlight of your time in Milan?

Meeting the other exhibitors – we were lucky in that we had two high quality designers Philipp Von Hase (Norway) & Josep Vila Capdevila (Spain) who we were happy to exhibit beside & were also great people! Prosecco’clock became the order of every afternoon!


What would you change about the fair

The fair needs to keep the focus around furniture & associated areas such as lighting, accessories etc. The inclusion of car makers, fashion, washing machines as seen at Zona Tortona dilutes the message.


What has/have been your favourite:

three products this year?

For us as lighting designers, developments in LED technology such as magnetized tracks were interesting. Some daylight products were good.


Michele De Lucchi’s curated an interesting exhibition near the Salone Satellite connected with offices of the future. There has been a movement to day lighting products which we found interesting.

Light by Michele De Lucchi

Light by Michele De Lucchi


Artemide opening party they always have the best parties.

newcomer’s stand?

Philipp von Hase working in traditional material creating new forms.

Table by Philipp von Hase

Table by Philipp von Hase

What is the 2015 Milan colour and texture?

Marble, wood, glass, Bronze gold.

What product and/or trend at Milan do see being most relevant to the Australian market?

Definite move towards natural materials such as marble , wood, glass etc or materials that have patina & history such as gold, bronze, brass, copper. Interest in handcraft. Sustainability more than a buzzword.

mcdermott baxter

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