Milan Design Week: Taking a Moment to Lounge

Photo of author

By Margaretd. Regina

This article is part of our Design special report previewing Milan Design Week.


A cruel irony of Milan Design Week, which runs until Sunday, is that it requires tremendous exertion; visitors must speed walk from booth to booth, and from showroom to showroom, if they hope to see even a fraction of the goods around town. And yet many compelling new products, like the chair, sofas and bed linens presented below, are about rest and relaxation. On the positive side, one usually can take a moment to sink into the displays to see just how comfortable they are. Ahh!

The American designer Stephen Burks has once again teamed up with the outdoor furniture company Dedon to create a new piece that uses the company’s signature woven fibers. Mr. Burks is introducing the Kida lounge chair, adding to an existing collection that includes a hanging swing chair and a dining chair.

“The original brief for Kida in 2019 was to make a fully woven outdoor swing,” Mr. Burks said in an email. “What’s so exciting is the result is just the opposite. The fully wrapped structure is the first of its kind in the Dedon collection to treat the fiber as surface texture and color while maintaining a structurally open lightweight frame.”

Like the rest of the Kida pieces, the new lounge chair incorporates coiled bands of fiber that form the seat frame, creating a look that Mr. Burks said “is at home in both residential and contract settings.” The bands of color that stretch across the back of the chair add a vibrant pop to the piece and can be left exposed or support a cushion for added comfort.

“I’d love to see Kida casually dispersed in urban and natural public spaces,” Mr. Burks said, “open and available to all.”

The piece will be exhibited Tuesday through Sunday at Salone del Mobile, Hall 9, stands L01/L03; dedon.us. — LAUREN MESSMAN


In past design weeks, Alberto Biagetti and Laura Baldassari, the founders of the design studio Atelier Biagetti, working with the curator and journalist Maria Cristina Didero, have publicly explored topics ranging from the spiritual to the salacious. From 2015 to 2017, they presented successive exhibitions on the themes “God,” “No Sex” and “Body Building.” As for this year, Ms. Didero said, “We wanted to talk about the future.”

In a collaboration with the luxury fashion and leather goods company MCM, they are presenting “Wearable Casa,” furniture that doubles as clothing and accessories. The collection’s seven pieces are on view at Palazzo Cusani, a 17th-century palace in the heart of Milan.

“It’s about contemporary nomadism,” Ms. Didero said of the collection. “We’re all connected via the internet and social media. It’s dynamic living for people that are always moving around.”

The objects include the Chatty Sofa, a bulbous, white upholstered loveseat whose form spells out the word “CASA.” The studio integrated a version of a neck pillow used on airplanes into the center of the letter “C.”

“It can be removed from the structure of the sofa and taken with you on a flight,” Ms. Didero said.

Multifunctionality also guided the creation of Magic Gilet, a stiff leather utility vest that transforms into a cabinet, and leather mats called Tatamu that fold into daybeds.

“The way Atelier Biagetti designs moves between reality and irony,” Ms. Didero said, “there’s always something to make you smile.”

The exhibition runs Monday through Sunday at Palazzo Cusani, Via Brera 13/15; atelierbiagetti.com. — LAURA MAY TODD


Hannes Peer’s new sofa for Minotti is named Yves as an homage to Yves Saint Laurent. Why? Because the French designer “broke up the stiffness in fashion,” Mr. Peer said, and he would like to do the same with furniture.

“My sofa is two systems that work as one,” he went on. A synthesis of geometric lines and organic shapes, Yves offers a variety of modules that can be arranged at different depths, creating coves where a small table or ottoman can fit. The upholstery is tailored with asymmetrical seams (another fashion tribute). “You can go conservative or organic with forms and shapes, or mix them,” Mr. Peer said.

“I love to play with perfection,” added the 47-year-old architect and designer, who represents a new generation of collaborators for Minotti and whose embrace of curvature is a departure for the family-owned furniture company. (Minotti sofas are traditionally square, in the best way.)

The seating is layers of different densities of polyurethane covered in soft, thick quilting. The back and armrests are removable and can be upholstered in a choice of fabrics and leathers. Yves stands on delicate feet of chrome-plated aluminum and will be available in the United States in the fall. On view at Salone del Mobile, Hall 7; minotti.com. — ARLENE HIRST


Hemp textiles have long been appreciated for their ability to keep people warm in winter and cool in summer, as well as for their antibacterial and odor-resistant qualities. Such fabrics also become softer and smoother with use, extending their life span. But hemp is not what anyone would describe as sumptuous, until maybe now.

The Japanese brand Majotae is introducing a new line of luxury hemp bedding called Majotae 9490 in two presentations during Milan Design Week, both designed in collaboration with Teruhiro Yanagihara Studio, based in Kobe, Japan, and Arles, France.

The presentation at the Secci Milano art gallery (Via Olmetto 1) is the more sensory of the two, offering visitors a chance to interact with the richly colored sheets, duvet covers and pillowcases that make up the Majotae 9490 collection. (The name refers to the number of days of sleep in an average person’s lifetime.)

At the bridal shop Berta (Via Cesare Correnti 14) will be a historically detailed overview of hemp. Known as taima-fu in Japan, where it was introduced more than 10,000 years ago, the cloth was adapted into ropes for repelling malevolent spirits and into loincloths worn by sumo wrestlers. It served as a breathable undergarment slipped under armor and a warming layer for hunters in winter. Examples from Majotae’s archive of more than 1,500 hemp artifacts will be on display.

Both exhibitions can be viewed Tuesday through Sunday. The products will be on sale globally beginning in May at majotae9490.com. — PILAR VILADAS

Leave a Comment