Kartell, Lenny Kravitz, Philippe Starck, Poltrona Frau, Salone Internazionale del Mobile

Design rocks

Lenny Kravitz exhibits Kartell chair designs at Milan while Poltrona Frau celebrates its 100th anniversary

Lenny Kravitz attended the recent Milan furniture fair, Salone Internazionale del Mobile, where he designed six chairs for furniture company Kartell and wave-inspired tiles for Lea Ceramiche.

The chairs are based on designer Philippe Starck’s “Mademoiselle” armchair and come in python, leather or fur. Kravitz also designed black and white tiles for Lea Ceramiche that were inspired by water drops and waves.

The project grew from the friendship between Kravitz and Starck and Kravitz Design, Kravitz’s design company and received approval from Claudio Luti, president, Kartell.

“Philippe Starck has been wonderfully supportive of my design endeavours, so when he asked me if I would interpret his Mademoiselle chair for Kartell, I was excited about the idea of two icons collaborating in this way,” said the singer.

“The Kravitz Design take on the Mademoiselle chair is haute couture meets rock and roll.”

Kravitz Design was founded in 2003 and is located in New York’s SoHo neighbourhood. In 2005 and 2006, Swarovski selected Kravitz Design to contribute two chandeliers to its Crystal Palace Collection. It also created the Florida Room lounge at the Delano for Morgans Hotel Group and is responsible for a recording studio in The Setai Resort & Residences in Miami Beach.

“Lenny proved at the highest level he could create an entire musical universe. It is now time for him to translate the magic of his music into materiality, into chairs and into lamps. A new experience for Lenny, a new territory for us,” said renowned designer Starck.

Salone del Mobile celebrated its 51st anniversary this year with 2,700 Italian and foreign exhibitors at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition, the SaloneSatellite and the biennial EuroCucina,International Kitchen Furniture Exhibition and the International Bathroom Exhibition.

There were an estimated 331,649 visitors overall, 3.5% up on 2011. 188,579 foreign operators made up 64.5% of the total (+5.9%), plus 103,791 Italian operators, in line with last year’s results.

“These are exceptional results, especially given the prevailing bleak economic climate in the run-up to the Saloni.” said Carlo Guglielmi, president of Salon del Mobile organiser’s, Cosmit.

“However, our minds have been put at rest not just by the figures, but particularly by the level of exhibitor satisfaction at the very real business opportunities and the excellent operator standards. The whole thing has been a tremendous success, not just in quantitative terms.

The events in the city promoting the culture of living also had a large part to play. Yet again the Saloni have proved themselves not just as a business opportunity but as a vehicle for culture, with culture at the very heart of our city-wide events.”

Poltrona Frau celebrates its centenary this year and used the Milan furniture fair to promote its partnership with Lanvin to create a reinterpretation of its Club armchair, embellished with a Lanvin pattern.

The company will mark its 100th anniversary throughout 2012 with three different projects: a book, a design contest for young designers to launch the “centenary armchair” with a top-class judging panel, and the opening of the first Poltrona Frau museum in Tolentino.

“We have a series of significant investments to commemorate its first 100 years,” said Dario Rinero, CEO, Poltrona Frau. “The company wants to celebrate by looking at itself through other people’s eyes, having the courage to strip itself bare and take pride in its roots which will be shown with no filters. Poltrona Frau projects itself towards the next 100 years with the same energy and enthusiasm of the first 100.”

Group used the occasion to announce a two floor 500m2 Poltrona Frau showroom in Via Durini Alias and Pistoletto exhibit at the Triennale.

It also opened Milano Design Village at 56 Via Savona, with the latest collections from Poltrona Frau, Cassina, Cappellini and Alias. The 2,700m² exhibition space will host displays of the four main companies of the group on the ground floor, together with Gebrüder Thonet Vienna and Gufram.

“The Milano Design Village will propose itself as the first “made in Italy home” with spaces such as the lounge and the panoramic terrace designed to make our customers feel at home in a contemporary lifestyle atmosphere,” said Rinero.

Other highlights at the fair included; altreforme, a collection of scenographic furniture inspired by Arlecchino by Moschino; David Medri wall lamps and hanging light designs; and the Eye series of seat poufs by designer Alexander Lervik for Johanson Design.

“I wanted to find the simplicity of a pouf and integrate it with the comfort of a chair,”said Lervik.

“The name of the chair is inspired by the chair’s back, which resembles an eye. The Eye series is ideal in many types of settings, since it is possible to choose fabrics, colours and patterns to suit the particular setting.

For example, solid-coloured fabric and leather can be used for strict office settings, while brighter, cheerier alternatives may be more appropriate for less formal surroundings.Combining a solid-coloured fabric with a patterned fabric in the same chair might be just what is needed to create a unique office interior.” The Eye series includes chairs, tables and armchairs, for offices, lounge areas and cafés.

Also featured at the show was Italian manufacturer Selva showcasing its Philipp Selva Home line, including the latest Collection Vendôme, designed by Lorenzo Bellini, featuring cabinets, tables, chairs, sofas and beds.