Milan Furniture Fair: Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomades collection, Hermès’s focus on lightness
The eagerly awaited installations by Louis Vuitton and Hermès for the Milan Furniture Fair have lived up to their billing. The LVMH label set up shop in the heart of Milan’s luxury retail district, in a disused 1930s garage that stood empty for 20 years, while Hermès chose La Pelota, a historic venue that hosted Basque pelota tournaments from 1947 to 1997.
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Objets Nomades line, Louis Vuitton took over the Traversi Garage, the first multi-storey car park built in Milan. Housed in a spherical eight-floor building inspired by rationalist architecture and built by Giuseppe De Min in 1939, the car park was closed in 2003. It re-opened for the first time for this year’s Design Week, hosting the installation by LVMH’s flagship label.
Louis Vuitton transformed the garage into a homely, elegant lounge, wrapped in dark carpeting to highlights the label’s new collection of design objects in shimmering colours. The Objets Nomades line, inspired by the ‘art of travel’, was launched in 2012 in collaboration with leading designers. This year’s showcase features a selection of signature items in new materials and colours and, for the very first time, in outdoor versions for terraces and gardens, as well as a series of entirely new creations.
In 10 years, the line has expanded to such an extent that it now allows Louis Vuitton to harmoniously blend together items by all the different designers, creating a number of clusters, each with a specific theme. Among the items on show, classics like the Venezia lanterns by Marcel Wanders, the Bell lamp by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, and the Talisman table by India Madhavi, this time revisited in a leather-inlaid version, alongside new objects, such as the Merengue poufs in brightly dyed lambskin by the Campana brothers, who also designed a series of colourful modular screens.
Another notable item is the first creation by Louis Vuitton’s own object design studio. The Totem Lumineux is a lamp composed of a set of Murano glass spheres in different colours, stacked on top of one another and resting on a base of Carrara marble. The studio, with a staff of a dozen people, has been working on Objets Nomades alongside the line’s celebrity guest designers for 10 years, helping them create works that are made to order or, in some cases, are sold directly in-store at Louis Vuitton’s largest boutiques.
As with every edition of the furniture fair, Louis Vuitton is also showcasing a new ‘nomadic architecture’ installation, right opposite the Traversi Garage in Piazza San Babila: Nova House, designed by Michel Hudrisier and M. Roma in 1972 for Studio Rochel, a 45 m2 living module in the shape of a metal bubble with a bay window. In recent years, Louis Vuitton has exhibited a number of mobile micro-architecture installations in Milan, by Shigeru Ban (2019), George Candilis (2018), Matti Suuronen (2017) and Charlotte Perriand (2015).
A little further away, in the Brera district, Hermès has unveiled its own showcase in a more plush but equally colourful setting, conceived as usual by Charlotte Macaux Perelman and Alexis Fabry, the creative directors for the luxury label’s home decoration division. Four giant structures, shaped somewhat like lanterns, are set within the spacious La Pelota venue, immersed in darkness, each them glowing in a different hue. The four wooden structures are covered with translucent coloured paper, reminiscent of water towers, each containing a series of objects laid on white paper pulp stands.
The idea is to place the emphasis on lightness, the theme inspiring all of Hermès’s creations this year. The entire collection is steeped in a flimsy, insubstantial mood: from the delicate bamboo and wallpaper lamps by Tomas Alonzo, to the airy throws, and the new Soleil d’Hermès tableware set with its yellow gold motifs featuring palm leaves and stylised flowers, made under the aegis of designer Arielle de Brichambaut at the Nontron porcelain factory in the Périgord region of France. The leather-sheet plates are hand-painted at the same factory.
Lightness is also the concept behind the Karumi bench and stool set by Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza, made of bamboo and reinforced by an inner structure in carbon fibre. This year, the focus is on textiles, exploring different types of expertise and manufacturing techniques such as quilting, embroidery and re-stitching, highlighted by the variety of throws in different colours and geometric patterns.
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