At Salone del Mobile 2016 visitors from across the world spent a whirlwind week discovering the latest offerings from some of the most exciting names in the industry. We had the opportunity to find out what Liz Teh, the Head of Design for Haworth Asia Pacific, thought were the best design trends and exhibitions this year.
June 9th, 2016
Celebrating its 55th year, Salone del Mobile is an annual celebration that occurs every April in the capital of the design world: Milan. Originally intended as a showcase for the depth and range of Italian design, it has since expanded with each iteration. As the largest event of its kind, Salone del Mobile proudly stakes its claim as the one week of the year “where everyone who’s anyone in the international furniture design and manufacturing scene come together to keep up with the latest developments in the field”.
Never far from the design scene, furniture powerhouse Haworth were on the ground at Salone del Mobile 2016, supporting many of their long term collaborators and partners along the likes of Cappellini, Poltrona Frau and Cassina. Part of the Haworth team exploring the thousands of exhibitions was Haworth Asia Pacific’s Head of Design, Liz Teh, who finds the annual pilgrimage an inspiring experience.
As head of design, Teh is the creative force behind all of Haworth’s showrooms in the Asia Pacific, devising all the strategies to ensure Haworth’s spaces provide seamless workspace experiences. Before joining Haworth in 2014, Teh was the creative lead for Philips Design across Europe, Taipei, Hong Kong, and Singapore, leading product design, spatial design programs, and design research for various business sectors. With her expertise and ample experience, Teh’s perspective on Salone del Mobile are a fascinating insight.
How would you describe your role at Haworth?
Teh: The main part of my role as Head of Design is developing the strategies for Haworth’s showroom designs in the Asia Pacific region. We take input from our North American counterparts, as well as from our ongoing collaborations with Patricia Urquiola in developing these strategies to deliver the best showroom experience possible.
Which were some of your favourite showroom exhibitions at Salone 2016?
Teh: As you know, Salone is a massive event and incredible works are dotted everywhere. There are so many impressive works and I can only highlight so many! Here are some that left strong impressions on me:
De Padova’s showroom was designed by Piero Lissoni, who created a holistic view of De Padova’s offerings into one luminous ‘home’. As an organic domestic setting, what struck me most was how ‘effortlessly’ warm it made you feel, with the richness of textures and tones around you. From selecting architecture with intimate courtyards, windows and skylights that bring poetic light into the space, to the minimalistic and raw interior structures intimately curated with artefacts, art and lighting in dedicated spaces, every corner was breathtakingly composed.
For Cassina’s booth at the fair, Patricia Urquiola was inspired by the Rietveld Pavilion, a temporary building designed in 1955 in Holland to display sculptures. Within the space, a multi sensorial installation flows throughout with video projections, explaining the spirit of the project and featuring interviews being played alongside the latest designs such as Patricia Urquiola’s Beam Sofa System. The composition of the concrete style blocks of the structure juxtaposed with coated foam blocks of old tech like speakers and radio antennas was very refreshing and kept with the industrial spirit of the space. I also loved the Deadline collection of mirrors by Ron Gilad that were placed throughout the space as art frames. Each one is a complex construction of illusion and reality; a combination of wood craftsmanship for the frames and technological innovation.
In typical Moooi fashion, for this year’s presentation, Moooi created a surreal world of fantasy and illusion with theatrical designs, incorporating a stirring and captivating display of art, design and craft.
Naota Fukasawa designed the surreal Geoluxe “Unveil” exhibition, which embodies purity and lightness, showcasing the Pyrolithic® Stone from Geoluxe, a breakthrough material of natural origin, inspired by the world’s finest marble. It’s hard to describe the pure poetry of hard monolithic surfaces and subtle fabric movement against mystical lighting, all set against the dramatic backdrop of a forgotten courtyard. Walking through the installation, I could feel the work of a Master intuitively.
Other than these, one of the biggest observations I made while visiting Salone del Mobile was the way in which some designers and groups have dedicated themselves to the exploration and experimentation of incorporating an evolving elegance of technology in lifestyle living. This was seen most clearly in the showcases of Lexus, Citizen and Panasonic.
What is the most significant trend you’ve seen occurring within the industry?
Teh: It has become apparent over the past few years that facets of life and work have begun to blur together, meaning flexible workspaces are needed to accommodate this. At Haworth, we call our showrooms ‘Organic Spaces,’ with the core design approach centering on the need for constant change. The future of the workspace is in its flexibility to adapt to evolving work styles, cultures, and innovation in products.h
Liz Teh, Head of Design for Haworth Asia Pacific
How does Salone del Mobile influence your work and your goals for Haworth?
Teh: By understanding and observing trends from Salone, and the major design trends in other design industries, we are able to shape Haworth’s work environments and present proposals for Haworth’s showrooms. The showrooms are spaces where we like to share and demonstrate what we have learnt with our customers, in regards to space, products, and wellness.
We will continue the trend of blurring the lines between life and work by mixing in different textures of interior finishes, and integrated intuitive technology which showcases the furniture from our diverse portfolio of Haworth Collection, xFriends, and desking systems. From here, we will echo this tailored approach and continue to pursue expressions of functional workspaces that are inspiring and sophisticated ways of workspace living.
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