Milano Design Week: Austrian Exhibition turns Sala Reale into Design Poo

The Sala Reale, once the waiting room of the Royal House of Savoy at Milan’s central station, is rarely accessible to the public and will open its doors for the first time during Design Week for the exhibition “Austrian Design – Pleasure & Treasure”.

Visitors can expect a unique scenographic experience: in order to view the Austrian furniture and interior design highlights up close, they will have to wade through a spacious biodegradable foam bath. The magnificent Sala Reale will become a design pool.

Visitors will have to wade through a sea o biodegradable foam on the upper floor of the former royal waiting room to find their way to the exhibits. This represents the fun, or “pleasure” component. The ground floor, on the other hand, will be turned into a treasure chamber – the “treasure” component of the exhibition. The design highlights will be showcased in a darkened hall, positioned on a black pedestal littered with pieces of chocolate gold. That the coins might go missing has already been taken into account by the organisers, and visitors will be permitted to take a coin away as a souvenir. “This year will see a selection of design products from across Austria showcased at Milan Design Week in a particularly explorative way”, explains Reanne Leuning, Project Manager and Director of Creative Industries at ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA.

Up-and-comers and internationally established design greats 

The exhibition will showcase top-class design products from across Austria – from home accessories to office furniture, and from tableware to lighting. The exhibits themselves were selected by a jury of experts based on criteria such as the degree of innovation, craftsmanship as well as formal, aesthetic and functional qualities. Among the curated exhibits will be works by established design greats as well as by up-and-comers. The NEU/ZEUG label, for example, will be showcasing in Milan for the first time. The label operates at the interface between manufactured and digital porcelain production and will be presenting its PEARLS lamp series. The design creations of Lisa Wolf will also be presented to the specialist audience in Milan for the first time. Her clay works Ha & Ba are somewhere between art and product design and combine function with sculpture.

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Last year, internationally renowned product designer Thomas Feichtner impressed at the Milan Design Week with his scaled back A-Chair. In 2019 he presents the Octagon Chair, which forms a figure of eight made from a total of twelve looped wires that overlap only in the seating surface. The steeped in tradition silverware workshop Wiener Silber Manufactur was founded in 1882 and played an important historical role as partner to some of the most prominent figures of the Wiener Werkstätte. This year it presents the tableware series Landscape, inspired by the decorative arrangements used in the ‘table landscape’ trend of the baroque era.

Lobmeyr designs can be found in large design collections such as the MoMA in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the MAK in Vienna. Marco Dessí and Lobmeyr have developed a new lighting concept with Ritter/The Knight. Starting from a sine curve, Dessí has developed a shape for a single lighting element that can be arranged and re-arranged to create ever new forms and shapes. The Alva shelving system by industrial designer Rainer Mutschimpresses not only with its airy, almost transparent appearance, but also thanks to its outstanding stability.

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