Fuorisalone and Salone del Mobile 2015

As you may well be aware, as it is an internationally very well known show, the Salone del Mobile and Fuorisalone 2015 are taking place these days in Milan, Italy.  (April 14 until April 19)

We’ve been there on April 15, Wednesday, to see some of the major design novelties and to see what’s going on in the automation world.


We’ve been to the Fuorisalone, more than at the Salone itself, as we had been invited to attend a breakfast for the press at Palazzo Crespi, in Milan’s city centre, guests of Fabrica by Benetton, to take a look at the wonderful design ideas they are showcasing these days. And, after that, we continued our journey in the Centre of Milan, first going to see some other interesting design and architecture products we had been longing to see for a long time, later again guests of Fabrica in another splendid location in Foro Bonaparte.


Thousands of new projects, ideas, products are being shown on Milan’s grounds for 5 days every year, and it is from the Salone del Mobile and Fuorisalone that most of the novelties later on spread around the the world.


We went to our first appointment with Fabrica early in the morning, and the location was superb: the historical Palazzo Crespi, open for the first time to a selected number of people in the public, hosted the works of many young talents working and studying at Fabrica, in Treviso. An interactive experience, more than a simple show, dealing with Housewarming, that is, giving a warm welcome to guests, an idea born from teaming up with Airbnb, the international hosting service for rooms and apartments rentals.


Arduino Fabrica Palazzo Crespi Milano


The idea behind all of the works was to welcome to visitors, keeping in mind the multiple nationalities and cultural rituals of Fabrica’s international design team with great creativity and giving a sense of what it feels like being received warmly and feeling part of the house you’re entering to be given hospitality.


The first welcome in the Palace was on the staircase: four mannequin hands, equipped with sensors, moving in a welcoming manner, receiving guests and inviting them to enter the exhibit, with hands rotating one after the other, and well representing the Italian gestural expressiveness, Kraftwerk and Munari’s memories and using an Arduino UNO for the animation: “From Outside to Inside”, by Angelo Semeraro. 


Palazzo Crespi Salone Angelo Semeraro Arduino


Palazzo Crespi Arduino


Arduino Fabrica Crespi


Arduino Fabrica Crespi


The designer, in his work, reproduced a typical Italian way of welcoming guests, using an Arduino UNO to create the movement of the four forearms and of the turning wrists.


Climbing the large and noble staircase to the first floor of the Palace, we met a couple of large flower bouquets, set in very large vases, reminding us of the flowers’ bouquets one usually offers when arriving at the hosts house, to symbolize affection or love. The bouquets were made of white paper crafted flowers, and animated with projections and music. The installation is a work of Sam Baron, a French designer.


Palazzo Crespi Milano Arduino


Palazzo Crespi Milano Arduino


We climbed another flight of stairs and got to the first landing, to meet an Indian typical and at the same time atypical welcome: a rongoli, a flower petals carpet, but  a moving one and, by means of the movement, changing pattern. With the help of an Arduino UNO board and the ingeniousness of a young Indian designer, Chandni Kabra, this magic welcoming gesture was made possible.


To translate the typical welcoming ritual of pure beauty and perfume of the flower petals carpet into a modern installation, she used an automation idea, creating a nice pattern of colorful  flower petals on a round piece of wood and adding the possibility of part of the pattern to change, moving in circular sections, creating always new patterns and hypnotizing the guests in a festive atmosphere, to make them forget whatever worries or bad mood they could have carried inside from outside. 


As Chandni explained, after the end of the show all of the petals will be dried and reused as herbs or tea, therefore there’ll be no waste, with an eye to the environment.


Arduino Fabrica Crespi Arduino






Behind the welcoming flower carpet, a young German designer reinterpreted an iconic piece usually found at the entrance of the house: the hanger for coats and jackets. He created his hangers with birch wood, plying them with steam, using an antique technique already used by Thonet in his masterpiece chairs.


Fabrica palazzo Crespi Arduino


He added a little bench for convenience of use of the visitor wishing to place a bag, or maybe sit down while getting ready for entering the house.




Coralie Gourguechon, from France, had the fantastic idea of welcoming visitors with a personalized map to get lost in the city, to go “somewhere”, starting from Corso Venezia, where Palazzo Crespi is located: launching a pair of curious dice, the number indicated the number of minutes  you had to walk after leaving Corso Venezia 20; subsequently you were asked what could attract your attention and curiosity (and I answered beautiful or particular doors) and that was what you were meant to search. Then another launch of dice would take you to the first road whose name begun by that letter, and there you had to decide wether it was the end of your journey or not. A funny way to explore a city, indeed!






We then met the “Pieces of Advice” by Tom Ethers, from Australia: he thought of welcoming visitors to an eventual house playing with them, making them compose puzzles to receive a piece of advice on how to visit Australia, or where to go.






We got then a warm welcome from an Austrian designer, Marlene Wolfmiar, who represented a typical object of Austrian tradition, reinvented as a 3D modeling specialist: the Jausensackerl, or snack bag. It was a pice of cloth where people used to put food remaining from a big event to carry home, or to carry an afternoon snack. And she reinvented it by creating a 3D model of the granite of the Austrian mountains near her birthplace and stamping it on the cloth. Her interactive installation offered guests to choose from a variety of snacks and packed them in the Jausesnackerl to carry home with them.


Another Italian designer, keeping in mind her own Venetian origins, used venetian papers to cover pastry trays, a symbol of traditional Italian hospitality, but also a gift that many guests carry to their hosts’ homes, and transform them in beautifully decorated mirrors to hang on a wall: Welcome Mirror.


Arduino Fabrica Crespi


Mariana Fernandes, from Portugal, translated her wish to connect to distant worlds, that of the guest and the one from the host, in this case herself, and Portugal, and Milan, with Palazzo Crespi’s hospitality, into her own creation of a silk-screen-printing station to print her creations from Lisbon onto postcards from Milan, “Silkscreen Post.”






Tomomi Maezawa, from Japan, translated the traditional exchange of business cards between guest and host into a different type of exchange: she’d stamp your name, translated into a creative pattern on one side of a fabric bag, and the guest would stamp her name on the other side of the fabric bag. Stamps created and made by her of course, and meant to be interactive, as rituals in Japan are.


Naturally the guest would carry with them the tote bag, signed in red ink by Tomomi, as used by Japanese artists.




After walking through marvelous rooms, full of baroque pieces of art, interspersed with the modern design idea for welcoming guests, we finally got to a beautiful terrace, overlooking the garden of Palazzo crespi.


There we got to meet another young Australian talent, Aaron Gillett, with his Biophilia installation. The idea behind his project was to narrate the lack of a common identity for Australians, being too young a nation and from too many different origins. What creates unity in all of this diversity, in Australia, is, according to this young creative, nature in its fullness and peculiarity, dominating the Australian landscape.


Putting these thoughts together with the habit of his family of giving guests cuttings of greenery or flowers as a welcome gesture, he thought of proposing the same thing to guests at Palazzo Crespi: he chose a Monstera, native of Australia, too, and gave it to guests to plant at home.






We’re of course sorry that we won’t be able to give the rightful space to each one of the nineteen artists and designers welcoming everybody visiting Palazzo Crespi, but we want to mention a special project, Cappuccino Welcome by Daniela Mesina, who offered cappuccinos to visitors but with an artistic touch: a portrait of some of the most famous Italian writers, actors, singers, made with cocoa powder on milk foam on top of the cappuccino. Plus a piece of paper, like you sometimes find in bars between the cup and the saucer under it to eventually absorb drops of coffee, carrying their writings or most famous saying. I particularly appreciated Grazia Deledda and her poetry.








We would also like to thank Angelo Semeraro and Chandri Kabra for using an Arduino UNO boards for their projects and we’ll be back with more information about their work soon.



Stay on line for more news from the Fuorisalone!


Photos credits: Fabrica 


by Silvia Bianchi





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