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The Best of Milan Design Week 2018, Part I

This year marked our tenth anniversary of attending the Salone del Mobile in Milan, and this year's fair felt a bit... different. The showrooms were more crowded (sometimes uncomfortably so), the brands were more lavish (Hermes's installation employing 150,000 Moroccan tiles rivaled only Flos's poured concrete last year in terms of sheer material costs), and the trends felt less obvious (we're living in such maximalist times that it can feel like all colors are suddenly trending at once). Here’s the first of our posts chronicling all the wonderful things we found.
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Week of January 29, 2018

A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week, a list of things that are currently, emphatically IN: iridescent Plexiglas, figurative wire sculptures, pink drinks trolleys and — we warned you — seashells.
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These 3D Interior Images Have Us Drooling Over a Tile Catalog

In the old days, this would have been one hell of an expensive photoshoot: Sourcing design icons-in-the-making from people like Lex Pott, Faye Toogood, and Sabine Marcelis; building out a set; and then painting, styling, and photographing the whole thing. But perhaps this will be known as the year when the rendered, three-dimensional image became almost more exciting — and decidedly cheaper — than the real thing, thereby making it almost de rigueur for brands to invest in these kinds of digital set-ups, no matter the product.
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The Coolest Interiors You’ve Seen This Year Exist Only in Virtual Reality

For our Sight Unseen OFFSITE show — which opened this morning! — we paired artworks from Twyla with 2017's biggest interior design trends, and asked digital artist Tom Hancocks to render seven different interiors, viewable on VR headsets, ranging from a Stockholm flat done up in Scandinavian pastels to a color-blocked apartment inspired by everyone from Dimore Studio to Guillermo Santoma.
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This Collection Is Turning Design’s Biggest Trends Into Stuff You Can Actually Afford

We pride ourselves here on generally being able to spot or define trends as they're taking shape, but it's sometimes just as interesting to track what happens to those trends when they begin to be picked up by the masses. That's why retailers like West Elm have always been so fascinating to us: They're essentially the fulcrum, the point at which trends swing from an insider-y secret to something anyone might adopt into their living rooms. Their latest collection might be our favorite example of this yet.
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A Cult Milan Design Destination Gets Its Twice-Yearly Makeover

Here's something we're not sure why more stores aren't doing: Twice a year, the Milanese multi-brand furniture showroom Spotti gives over its entire space to longtime collaborators — and one of our favorite styling duos — Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto of Studiopepe to remake however they see fit. This summer, the duo has created a interior called Instant Panorama for Spotti's renovated space — inspired, no doubt, by our Instagram-obsessed culture — that's set up in vignettes that are meant to be captured on film.
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At the 2014 Milan Furniture Fair: Part IV

A week ago today, we spent our afternoon at the Milan fairgrounds, our evening surrounded by colleagues at a dinner hosted by Camron PR, and the wee hours of the night at Bar Basso, where we ran into just about every friend of ours who was in town from far and near. Which reminds us of two key things about the Salone del Mobile: that catching up with dozens of the designers and curators we know but never see is one of our favorite things about the fair, and that each of those friends packs their days in Milan with just as many sights and experiences as we manage to pack into ours. We figured we'd combine both ideas into the second installment of a tradition we began last December at Design/Miami, when we invited everyone we knew who attended to send us the best photo they took that week. Read on to see what folks like Faye Toogood, Felix Burrichter, and Rafael de Cardenas thought were the highlights of their trips.
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A typical self-initiated project. “I did the pigeons shoot with my husband. A pigeon fancier lives in the same neighborhood as my parents and I had the idea to ask him if we could photograph his birds. I loved the beauty of the plumage and it was a great challenge for us to photograph these animals. Some of the images were used for one of the trend books, but in general it is possible to buy pro-rata picture rights of my images. I would love to make a photo book out of them but until now, I have not had the time.”

Imke Klee, stylist

Who hasn’t suffered the sting of a thousand rejection letters? Imke Klee, for one. In 2007, having just completed an integrated design program at the University of the Arts Bremen, the German-born stylist and photographer sent her diploma work off to famed trend forecaster and design guru Li Edelkoort in search of some feedback. “It was sort of a trend book about how to transform traditional values into modern, contemporary ones,” says Klee — in other words, catnip for a trend junkie like Edelkoort, who responded almost immediately with an invitation to come join the Paris-based offices of Trend Union, Edelkoort's renowned forecasting agency, which counts companies like Philips, Virgin, Camper, and L’Oréal among its international clients.
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