Decorating & Design

April 29, 2011

See Worthy

Every April, the mother of all design events takes place in Milan under the banner of Salone Internazionale del Mobile (or as insiders call it, Saloni). Imagine the Milan fashion shows, except stick-thin models are replaced by ultra-slim LED lights, ready-to-wear by flat-packed and pre-assembled. This year, the event celebrated its 50th anniversary and the stats tally in at 2,500 exhibitors spread out over 20,000 square meters. Just imagine how many homes you could fill with all that fabulous stuff!

For magazine editors, it’s a time when our inboxes fill up with fresh discoveries and new inspirations a zillion times a day. Sifting through it all can begin to feel like a chore, but the thrill lies in uncovering gems like these new works from U.K. designer Benjamin Hubert. The name of his new chair, Maritime, got my attention first. (Although our world — especially the design world — is increasingly driven by images, words still wield some power.) It immediately conjured salty ocean breezes and a certain ruggedness that will always be cool. And the chair is all kinds of cool.

Inspired by traditional wooden shipbuilding techniques, its outer shell leaves the supports visible and looks a lot like the interior of my grandfather’s antique cedar canoe. (Though the chair is made of laminate ash.) For those who enjoy peeking inside the creative process, his working sketches are charming, too.

Benjamin also debuted the Paddle lamp for Fabbian, an oak and cast aluminum LED task light that follows a similar theme. Lean and oh-so-lovely, it’s the first light to edge out the Jielde task lights in vibrant colours, which have long topped my home office wish list.

Inspired by the 360 degree movement of a paddle, the light has multiple axis of movement, making it functional for all sorts of working environments. Plus, more fascinating sketches.

These thin-walled cast concrete pendant lights aren’t new, but they’re also by Benjamin and I couldn’t resist showing them. Drool, drool.

This guy clearly knows his way around a socket: The Roofer lights, above, also launched in Milan for Fabbian. I love the current trend towards mass customization and these are a shining example.

Inspired by roof tiles from Marrakesh, they can be customized by the customer on wire frames in a variety of shapes and using tiles in a range of colours.

You’ll have excuse me now, my inbox is chiming for attention.

For Suzanne Dimma’s picks from last year’s Saloni, see her Milan Furniture Fair blog post.

Photo credits:
1-7. Benjamin Hubert