Brimming with up and coming talent from across all five continents, the Salone del Mobile’s SaloneSatellite exhibition is where big-name manufacturers go during Milan Design Week to scout the design stars of the future. This year marks the Satellite’s 19th edition and we were particularly impressed with the number of experimental, material-driven products that emerged. Correlating with the exhibition’s theme of "New Materials, New Design”, products ranged from heated stools to furniture made from old yoga mats. Underscored by the need to minimize material use, minimize waste, and optimize energy consumption, here we highlight 8 of the most interesting and innovative material-driven projects.
Italian designers Henry & Co presented a multifunctional piece of furniture made using a variety of sustainable materials. Designed for use in the bathroom or kitchen, the TAAAC module incorporates worktop surfaces made from old electrical cables mixed with bio resin, drawers made from hemp and clay, and handles crafted from fast-growing woods such as coconut and bamboo. All made in Italy, and constructed using vegetable-based glues, the TAAAC unit can be 100% recycled at the end of its life.
Similarly, old yoga mats were reborn as a cushioning plastic material used to make home accessories and stool seats by Taiwanese studio ViiChENDESIGN in collaboration with CELLwood, while the Wood Mosaic furniture and lighting by Kairi Eguchi Design from Osaka, Japan was made using Japanese Cedar offcuts. Also heralding from Japan, Imagine studio used tough Kibiso silk—a yarn spun from the discarded cocoons of silkworms—to craft a series of cocoon-shaped stools called Kibits.
Elsewhere, innovative production processes resulted in unusual new surfaces and textures. Studio Nito’s Bobina Chair was made from woven cotton threads strengthened with bioresin, while Samuel Adam Sheard of London studio Also Adam presented furniture made from wood decorated with intricate suede inlay.
Playful material reappropriation was also popular across the show with Studio Philipp Beisheim scooping himself first prize in the 7th Edition SaloneSatellite Awards for his Inflatable side table. With a blow-up base made from rubberised, waterproof canvas - a material that’s more typically used to produce rubber dinghies—Beisheim’s compact design has the advantage of being easy to ship and store. Japanese studio Bouillon also raised a smile from visitors with their low-tech Warm stool. When filled with hot water, the stool’s hollow terracotta top creates a surprisingly pleasant heated seat.