"Who Said Architects Could Not Design Furniture?" The Artistry of Architecture Meets Functional Design at Milan Design Week

Written by: Nauradika Of London



Time to read 2 min

The integration of architectural elements into furniture design was evident in several standout installations and showcases across Milan. At the Salone del Mobile, the world’s largest furniture fair, Thomas Heatherwick's studio unveiled the 'In-Side' collection in collaboration with Italian brand Magis. This series features a chair crafted from recycled plastic mixed with bio-resin, exemplifying a commitment to sustainability while maintaining aesthetic appeal. Heatherwick himself described the collection as an effort to "reveal the inner beauty" of discarded materials in an artistic way.

Meanwhile, Foster + Partners introduced their latest creation, the Osuu chair, at the Walter Knoll showroom. This piece is characterized by its sleek composition of steam-bent dowels and molded plywood, highlighting the studio’s seventh foray into chair design. Available in various natural hues, the Osuu chair exemplifies how architectural principles of form and function can translate into everyday usability and comfort.

Cultural Fusion and Innovation

At the Capsule Plaza Radical Sensations showcase, Herzog & de Meuron presented their H&dM Objects collection, featuring six sculptural chairs that combine traditional craftsmanship with modern finishes. Each chair, assembled without screws and finished with a glossy lacquer, showcases how architectural techniques can enhance the structural and visual quality of furniture.

Zaha Hadid Design took a bold step with the Seyun collection in collaboration with Japanese wood brand Karimoku. Displayed in the lively Tortona area, these pieces merge Japanese woodworking techniques with Zaha Hadid’s iconic contemporary design language. The collection includes not only chairs and tables but also smaller items like serving trays and barstools, all adorned in natural wood colors and metallic hues.

Experimental Spaces and Public Interaction

The design week also embraced experimental approaches to display and interaction. Junya Ishigami’s collection for Maniera gallery was particularly captivating, presented in an underground garden space at Villa Bagatti Valsecchi. His mesh furniture, constructed from materials like stainless steel and rattan, stood in stark contrast with the surrounding natural elements, offering a unique narrative on the integration of architectural design within natural settings.

The Future of Design: A Synergy of Disciplines

Milan Design Week has clearly demonstrated that the fusion of architecture and furniture design is not only possible but also immensely fruitful. By stepping into the domain of furniture design, architects are expanding the horizons of what can be achieved, pushing the boundaries of design, and offering new perspectives on the functionality and aesthetics of everyday objects.

As we reflect on this melding of disciplines, it's evident that the creative potential is limitless when architects venture into furniture design. The innovations showcased this year not only challenge our traditional perceptions of space and form but also invite us to imagine a more cohesive and artistically integrated living environment.

What are your thoughts on architects designing furniture? Could this trend redefine our living spaces in the years to come?