Chairs&More has returned to Salone for 2018 with three new designs that further blurs the design sensibilities between sectors. We caught up with the team at Chairs&More over gelati to find out a little more about the story behind these new products. Here's a sneak peek:
Following its knockout release at Salone last year, Tommaso Caldera and Chairs&More return in 2018 with the latest iteration of MOUSSE: the MOUSSE Lounge. As an armchair carrying all the aesthetic cues of its forebear, the MOUSSE Lounge develops the initial design resolution anew with a more generous, embracing design specifically targeted to the evolving dynamism of the commercial and hospitality sector worldwide.
Arising from the collaboration with Roberto Paoli of Babah, NUBE is a seating collection of chairs and stools all bearing the characteristic quadrant of cushion-esque elements forming its shell. With either a metal sled or wooden base, NUBE's soft, elegant lines express comfort and aesthetics in one harmonious design resolution.
Developed with Studio Pastina, CHIPS arises from this inaugural collaboration between the two brands. As a collection of padded seats with fabric upholstery and an array of base options, the CHIPS collection makes a bold, confident statement about the place comfort ought to play in our day-to-day lives – whether that be at work, at a restaurant, or even at home.
What key ranges or products are you exhibiting at Salone this year?
We’re returning to Milan this year with the latest addition to our MOUSSE collection, designed by Tommaso Caldera, the MOUSSE Lounge. Also, we’re exhibiting two new products called NUBE and CHIPS that combine soft forms with modern, architectural silhouettes.
Were they designed for a specific need or sector in mind?
We specifically designed these ranges with the contract and home markets in mind. As those lines between sectors continue to blur, we’re seeing great opportunities to rethink the design approach for specific spaces.
Can you briefly describe the design intent behind them?
For NUBE, for instance, we wanted to have a new product with a soft polyurethane shell that still provided a great ergonomic support and degree of comfort. But for CHIPS, we were looking forward to developing a product with an upholstered seat and back that could be easily customised with a range of different fabrics.
What is the personality of your brand?
Great design, affordable pricing, and great service.
What is the trait you appreciate most in an object of design?
Originality and the ability to stand out from other objects.
And, what is the trait you deplore most in an object of design?
Often, I deplore the fact that the object is really just the name of the designer.
What is the trait you appreciate most in a designer?
I appreciate the designer who understands the company's needs.
And what is a trait you deplore the most in a designer?
For us, we think it is important to be really attuned to the needs and capacities of companies. This means that one of the more worrying aspects to some designers is that the products proposed are unattainable for their construction or for the production capabilities of the company.
What does design happiness mean?
That’s easy! It’s when you want to have that product at home.
What does design misery mean?
That’s also easy, sadly enough. I think design misery occurs when designers copy details from other products.
Aside from your own, which stands at Salone do you always visit?
Moroso, Kartell, Vitra, Magis.
What are you expecting to see quite a lot of at Salone this year?
When we were getting ready to go over to Milan, none of us knew what to expect. All we do know is that we’ll definitely see many beautiful things this year!
At the recent 2018 inaugural press conference for Salone, Stefano Boeri commented on the place of Milan within the global imagination of design. “As you go about the world, you realise just how unique this small very intense metropolis is. Milan is a unique city that has managed to create a miracle. The hard work and innovation of the business world, the creative risk of the designers, the desire to invent new spaces – all this has gone into making Milanese and Italian design legendary and is still, even now, a crucial key to deciphering Milan.” In your personal opinion, what place does Milan hold for the future of design on the global stage?
Milan and Italian design play a very important role worldwide, and will continue to do so. But, unfortunately despite the efforts, little is still done for young designers. Breaking into this industry is very difficult for new and emerging talent, and those companies that invest in this group of up-and-comers and companies that invest in new designers are not much considered.
Each year, one of the most surprising things that designers notice travelling through Salone is just how much the lines between sectors is continuing to blur. Commercial design is being heavily influenced by the hospitality sector; the residential space is being influenced by the design thinking behind offices for examples. What, for you, is especially interesting about this cross-sector conversation?
More and more, the product must be usable in different contexts. It a product is beautiful for the home why can’t it also be equally beautiful in a hotel or in an office? In these kinds of spaces we’re noticing more demand for creating areas that would appear to have more of a domestic profile, so the residential sector is only going to continue influencing design in these spaces too. It is fascinating to see how each different sector is influencing and enriching the design conversations in other sectors too.
More than 2,000 brands are participating in Salone this year, with 30 percent of these hailing from outside of Europe. In your opinion, how has this increasing number of non-European brands influenced Salone recently?
I find it right that there are foreign companies represented because not only is Salone an international fair, but the world of design is a truly global phenomenon.
In recent years, we’ve seen an increased focus placed on health in the commercial sector. Air quality, natural light, and psychological wellbeing for the end-user are all important aspects of greater health, but what do you believe we need to begin focussing on as well?
Creating common spaces where workers can feel like they’re at home will continue to be an important weapon for businesses struggling with the war on talent. We need to look at the provision of health in these spaces more broadly, and consider how increased wellbeing can also benefit productivity, staff satisfaction and new cultures of innovation and confidence between teams and individuals.