Installation by Tokujin Yoshioka
for Lexus

The Milan Furniture Fair: “From product to the effect produced”

April 5th - 10th 2006

The 2006 edition of the Milan Furniture Fair will remain in our memories as one of the very best. The event this year was the show’s move to the new Rho-Pero site, realised by the architect Massimiliano Fuksas.

The organisers made the most of this opportunity to win back prestigious brands such as the Charme group (Cappellini, Cassina, Poltrona Frau, Alias, Gufram and Gebrüder Thonet Vienna), who had abandoned the main show in favour of the fringe event. The result: a record number of visitors (240 000). Five days proved too short a time to visit the 200 000m² of show space and some 150 events organised in the city!

Even if this success cannot erase all the difficulties that Italian companies have been facing in Europe over the last few years due to the competition from Eastern Europe and China, the surge of optimism expressed by the show is to be welcomed. The brands present, most of them belonging to medium-sized companies, have made considerable efforts over many years to conquer the world and, what is more, to promote the universal image of Italian design. Creation bubbled up irrepressibly, both on the product side and in the design of the booths, as if it had all been orchestrated.


The dominant spirit of the show can perhaps be best summarised as “From the product to the effect produced” thanks to two major elements. First of all, ornamentation effects provided by new technologies both in cutting (laser, water jet,…) and in graphics (use on microfilm, screen printing, dye sublimation,…) enable industrial-scale reproduction of decorative effects ad infinitum. The second element is the omnipresent contribution of light, making it possible to go beyond the formal outlines of things. More importance is given to the immaterial aspect of things over their physical presence in order to make more creative use of space. Beyond their functionality, the products that draw their inspiration from plants and the organic also generate more emotion. To judge by the prices of a product range intended mainly for high-value export markets, finishes are growing more sophisticated and more sparkling. As far as atmosphere goes, effects are becoming ever more astonishing with their outsized dimensions and the integration of multi-sensorial effects created by harmonious combinations of light than are variable both in colour and intensity, as well as sounds and fragrances. An example is: the installation Aria e Acqua by Ludovica & Roberto Palomba for Iris Ceramica (02).

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Laser and water-jet cutting, lace effect

  • Irony table by Mazza and La Spada for Fiam (03) –
  • Veryround seat by Louise Campbell for Zanotta (04) –
  • Jewellery by Marc Manzo (05) (Spain)
  • Mahua Huni candelabras by Ingrid Gossner for Saway and Moroni (06) –
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Turned wood

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Moulded facets

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Fractal effects

  • Sofa by Jakob and Mac Farlane for Sawaya & Moroni (15) –
  • Crockery by David Sutton (16)
  • Bonsaï lamp by Jennifer Chan (17)
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Inspired by plants

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  • Around the roses table by Gardone Nichetto for Moroso (22) –
  • Ukiyo table by Tomita Kazohiko for Moroso (23) –


  • Perished bench by Studio Job, limited edition for the Dilmos gallery (24)
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Discreet techniques

Much thought is given to improving comfort.

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  • Shift shelving by Patricia Urquiola at B&B (30) -
  • Ito transformable model by Giulio Manzoni for Clei  (31) –
  • Sliding work surface at Boffi with the K2 model by Norbert Wangen (32) –
  • Telescopic integrated system for the cooking and washing module at Valcucine (33) –
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Interface: - integrated mechanisms, miniaturised, pleasant to use

  • Clean Dry toilets with infrared control by Toto (34) -
  • Bath with command panel by Toto (35) -
  • Integrated flat-screen televisions in the kitchen at Mobalpa (36) –
  • Induction hotplates with touch-sensitive command at Alessi by Foster (37) –
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This is above all in the realm of new technologies such as stereolithography and new materials…

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  • One Shot stool by Patrick Jouin in stereolithography for Materialise MGX (38) -
  • Z. Island conceptual kitchen by Zaha Hadid for Corian / Dupont (39) –
  • The Medusa chair by Morpheus in cast aluminium (40)
  • Pane armchair by Tokujin Yoshioka presented at Lexus (41) –
  • Installation by Ron Arad at Dolce & Gabbana (42) –
  • At Zeus
    Fractals in suspended growth suspension by Bikram Mittra (43)
    Hibernate by Kok Chiam Leong (44)
    Coral by Yael Mer (45)
    Vase by Luka Stepan (46)
    Forest vase by Liliane Ovalle (47)
    Flip Flops by Jessica Nebel (48)
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… whatever the style, from the most minimalist to the retro.

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  • Muku sofa by Naoto Fukasawa for Driade  (49) –
  • Antibodi couch by Patricia Urquiola for Moroso (50) -
  • Armchairs by Oscar (51)
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