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I came into my friend’s house, only to find her up a ficus tree. I was worried for a moment, until I remembered that the jungle theme is this year’s home design trend. I don’t need to buy new covers for all my cushions or take the pot plants back to my mother - even though they’d definitely live longer at hers. But if the home is turning into a jungle, I need to be willing to dress as an explorer.
Time for the 2017 Salone del Mobile: from 4 to 9 April, the entire design world flies to Milan. I’ve never thought of browsing Pinterest in search of advice and outfits to wear to the airport, naively believing that it was enough to dress comfortably (cashmere flight socks exist for a reason, don’t they?) in order to travel well. Nevertheless, airport attire is a thing, at least it is on internet: you can lose yourself in #ootd (Outfits of the Day) on the topic on Instagram and YouTube Lookbooks lasting a good five minutes.
Travelling in a specific direction, on the other hand, is Louis Vuitton, whose Objets Nomades collection is extended for the Salone del Mobile by eleven new items.
Seats, luggage and even lamps are designed to accompany the contemporary adventurer who, even when travelling, can’t do without exquisite materials and attention to detail, Maison Vuitton’s trademarks.
The Objets Nomades inherit the brand’s look of iconic products while at the same time bearing the mark of the design partners’ tastes and personal research. The miraculous result is an eclectic yet perfectly coherent collection.
This year’s collaborators once again include Patricia Urquiola, the Spanish designer and architect who arrived in Milan as a student, to train with Achille Castiglioni.
She is considered the most influential designer of the decade 2000-2010, and her successful collections have even won the Spanish government’s Gold Medal for Fine Arts.
Her noteworthy collaborations include Alessi, B&B Italia, Kartell, Molteni & Co and Salvatore Ferragamo; she also worked with Kvadrat to create the fabrics that embellished the Rodolfo capsule collection.
The distinguishing feature of Patricia Urquiola’s work, regardless of the commission, is her dedication to what she calls the heart of the project, which must not be compromised. Creating minimalist pieces at times and colourful overlapped woven items at others, the common thread in her work is the juxtaposition of textures.
Urquiola has interpreted the maison’s brief as not being limited to the journey, but extended to all areas of life. An essential part of her design work is a focus on the empathy created with an object that grows with its owner as it shares the various stages of his or her life.
The result is items you don’t discard once you get home from a journey, but which are ready to follow you from one apartment to the next, which become part of your everyday life and will be present at key moments. You won't be able to do without them, because they’ll be tiles in the mosaic of your life.
For this year’s Salone del Mobile, Patricia Urquiola updates the 2015 version of her Swing Chair: warm Mediterranean colours are replaced by classy black, while Vuitton’s emblematic leather is retained.
The third piece by the designer - after the Stool, presented in previous editions - is also a seat: Chair is inspired by the African chaise à palabre and features one of Urquiola’s stylistic trademarks, weaving.
Like the Stool, it folds, because lightness is essential on a journey (as we know from the fees when we exceed 25 kilos at the airport) and Patricia Urquiola opts to valorise this in homage to nomadic culture and the bravery of modern explorers.
But every good traveller knows that it’s the quality of the materials that counts, if you want protection from the elements. Luckily, Louis Vuitton has us covered.