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If You’re Tired of the Brass Trend, This is the Exhibition For You

As design editors, it is our duty to report on design trends or at least acknowledge the ones that take over a certain year. But that does not mean we necessarily like all of those trends, nor do we always agree with the pace at which they bloom, wither, and die. Studio Vedèt founder Valentina Ciuffi must have had some bone to pick with the utter ubiquity of brass over the past few years for she recently curated an exhibition for FAR at Nilufar Gallery in Milan titled Brassless: New Accords for the Metallic Wave, featuring 13 designers and studios experimenting with metals and materials other than brass. “With a light but decisive statement, it aims to accelerate the ending of the brass era, or rather, the ending of a phase in which contemporary design and architecture abused this alloy by using it randomly or needlessly,” Ciuffi announces in the accompanying exhibition materials.

Ciuffi argues that it’s not actually brass she has a problem with but rather the way it’s deployed and what it represents: “We are moving into a new era: one in which the choice, acquisition, and desire for certain design qualities will increasingly stem from two-dimensional images… Only with ever more difficulty will we be able to touch, lift, perceive an object in the round before bringing it into our spaces, using it, scratching it, staining it, cleaning it. In this climate it is especially urgent that designers link us to material properties, employing all of their experience and creativity. Brassless is not a “stop to brass” but rather a denunciation of the decadence of trends and an effort to prevent the very thing we need least—a new homogeneous movement spreading designed matter at random over our tired world.”

In the exhibition, Objects of Common Interest employed iridescent steel to expose its magnetic properties; Martino Gamper dusted off pewter, making a thoroughly modern vase form from it; Simon Ballén worked with the community of a historical gold mining town of Marmato, Colombia to transform the waste product of gold mining into glass objects; and Anna Diljá Sigurðardóttir aims to highlight sulfur — an underestimated element rarely seen in its pure state. Scroll through for some of our favorites below.

Top: XX Side table by Bram Vanderbeke & Wendy Andreu in aluminum

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Daydream Freestanding Shelving by Objects Of Common Interest in chromed and painted steel

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Guise Metal Lamp by Odd Matter in EPS, steel, fiberglass, polyester, spray on chrome

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Vases by Martino Gamper in pewter

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Suelo Orfebre by Simón Ballen in glass

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Free Hand Shelves by Thomas Ballouhey in aluminum Nilufar_FARBrassless_AnnaDiljaSigurdardottir_EarthlyDelights_01_©mattiaiotti

Earthly Delights by Anna Diljá Sigurðardóttir in sulfur

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Raster Kit Furniture by Antonio Barone in aluminum

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X Wall Shelf by Bram Vanderbeke & Wendy Andreu in aluminum

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Goosefish Table Lamp by Carlo Lorenzetti in bronze

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High and Low Section by Destroyers/Builders by aluminum and brass

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III+I Tables by Lukas Wegwerth in polished steel