Design for everyone, at the SaloneSatellite
Inclusivity, sustainability, slow living and slow production are the center of the thinking of the designers who are planning our tomorrows
Design for our Future Selves is the title that is bringing together 600 young designers in pavilions 1 and 3 of the Salone del Mobile.Milano 2022 to recount all the opportunities that design offers to cope with the challenges – great and small - awaiting us in the future. The SaloneSatellite is showcasing the most experimental, independent and advanced projects by young designers (all strictly under 35) and the results of the work of academies, schools, universities and laboratories around the world.
Among the objects featured in the booths of the SaloneSatellite you will be able to preview the forms of the future, in which an increasingly inclusive society will make provision for the most varied needs, coming to terms with the urgent themes of contemporary life: the aging of the population, the massive extraction of resources, pollution, the progressive increase in temperatures and the growth of mental health disorders - with all the myriad facets evident in the present.
Above all, what the projects at the SaloneSatellite bring out clearly is that these future factors concern us all. The Cinzia and Victory chairs by Andrea Maggiarra, for instance, show how combining discreet technical devices with careful design makes it possible to create an elegant object meant to be used also by the elderly and disabled (who often need to rest their weight on their arms rather than their legs to get up from the sitting position), while avoiding that typical sanitary-aesthetic appearance we are accustomed to.
Then the RemX Walker project by Lani Adeoye - winner of the SaloneSatellite Award 2022 - is an asymmetrical walking frame with organic forms and neutral colors, handcrafted as a slender domestic sculpture consisting of two lightly intersecting curves.
Even the multifunctional walking sticks developed by Unibz students effectively show all the variations on the theme that can be imagined for a seemingly commonplace product: sticks for carrying objects, for fitness, for couples, for gardening, for carrying groceries and even for playing. Products that look at the contemporary make-up of our society and meet its needs, in a very near future and close to everyone's daily experiences.
And there’s much more. At the SaloneSatellite the objects also speak of the ravaged environment, critical manufacturing chains and lack of respect for the resources that the consumer culture has generated. So design, which in the last century was a driving force behind this anti-holistic culture of consumption and manufacture, today becomes the principal key to interpreting our approach to material production in new and more optimistic ways.
On the one hand there are many toys that educate children to the way plastics are being dispersed in the seas, and participatory and shared moments, like the work of the live knitters of the Art Academy of Latvia, who enhance the gesture of repair and raise awareness of the theme of the time it takes to produce things, as well as daring experiments with mycelic furnishings, ceramics for architecture that develop out of reclaimed rubble, and waste fibers that become lightweight partitions to enhance the acoustic comfort of rooms.
On the other hand, the emotional and relational needs of contemporary society are also explored and reintroduced in multiple forms. The OTO chair by LABAA, for example, is a very sophisticated project, designed and curated both aesthetically and technically in every detail. In the form of a chair it embodies one of the needs most deeply felt by people suffering from autism spectrum disorders: the desire to feel they are in an insulated and compressed space, as if enclosed in an embrace.
Then the Fachhochschule of Potdsam has created the final projects of its students in a set entitled Stuck. It entraps them beneath a plastic sheet on which appear phrases contained in some emails from companies that the school had contacted to obtain data on the gender gap, printed in block lettering. Then, to the cry of Smash social ceilings! FHP reports the answers (rather discriminatory in an attempt to explain that there were no company data on the subject), bringing to light a timely theme that is also reflected in the design industry.
The design showcased at the SaloneSatellite therefore embodies all the opportunities offered by projects devised for a constantly changing society, ready to adapt to the challenges of the context (and the age!) and also ready to change its mind, allowing itself to be captivated by innovative ideas while welcoming dissonant viewpoints.
These ideas are staged here in many languages, including film. Green Grads, David Morris's British initiative to promote new talents and the care of the planet is given an exclusive preview at the SaloneSatellite with a 25' documentary conceived by design critic Barbara Chandler and directed by curator Michael Czerwinski.
Discussions, exchanges, dialogue and togetherness are therefore the founding values of both the objects that recount the present of design and the SaloneSatellite itself, which unites voices from 48 different countries to present a choral story of the contemporary meanings of design. Highlighting the vocation of this, the flagship event of the Salone del Mobile.Milano, founded by Marva Griffin Wilshire, is also the design of the area by Ricardo Bello Dias, which unfolds around two main piazzas where everyone can get together and share moments of rest and relaxation.