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Fashion & Trends, Style

Design Week: An LA Connection

By Sofia Celeste 05 April 2017

MILAN, ITALY – Design Week is a festival that year after year asserts Italian creativity on the world stage. This week, however, a group of talented Los Angelenos crashed the party.

“Intimate Strangers: The Los Angeles Conversation” showcased the best that Southern California has to offer under the Baroque ceilings of Milan’s Palazzo Litta.

Furniture designers Mattia Biagi, Robert Kuo, Nicole Landau, Londubh Studio, Natasha Baradaran and Graye showcased futuristic pieces that highlighted the growing artisanal know-how that is available on the West Coast of the United States today.

At the show, Hollywood actor Billy Zane unexpectedly made his European debut as a serious painter with his "Telemundo" acrylic on canvas that he painted in 1997 while filming the "Titanic" in Mexico (because Telemundo was the only channel available on TV at the time).

There is so much going on in LA in terms of design. We took a chance, and we were really successful in organising the event here. We will definitely come again,” said Gulla Jonsdottir, owner of the eponymous LA-based architecture and design firm that organised the event. A native of Iceland, Jonsdottir admitted that she normally works on hotels around the world. "Furniture design is a hobby," she said shrugging her shoulders.

Jonsdottir's bended-wood petal chair, lava table and her poetic rug designs made by Ariana Rugs created a buzz. The latter is famous for their whimsical carpets and is run by three Kabul-born siblings, who reside in LA and whose family has been making fine hand knotted rugs since the 1920s. “We really want to highlight what is happening in Afghanistan. It’s not just about conflict. There is a lot of creativity in the region and we also want to point out that the industry is changing and becoming more ethical and more modern,” said Alex Ahmadi.

Ahmadi said that unlike many oriental rug makers, Ariana does not employ children to weave their carpets, and that their facilities provide daycare for the children of their artisans.

Italy’s fashion capital has played host to the world’s premier design festival for the past 20 years and in the last decade it has proved not only a source of inspiration for the fashion world but also a meeting place between applied arts and architecture. "Intimate Strangers" was really the first time a foreign group has made a market presence at Design Week.

“It was really a leap of faith,” said Karen Kuo Chou, Kuo's daughter, who works with him alongside her sister Chin-chin. The Kuo family unfurled a white bronze "cloud" chair and a gold-plated lamp and shade that complemented the ostentatious, gilded decor of Palazzo Litta.

Kuo Chou explained that most of the designers involved in the project shared a common ethos, but did not really know each on a personal basis. “It really shows how through the arts - from applied arts to fashion - that things are connected. You really can’t separate things anymore."

Elsewhere, fashion-forward textile maker Bonotto teamed up with post-consumer recycling firm Miniwiz for the “Gardening the Trash” exhibit curated by art director Cristiano Seganfreddo.

Versace Home created a multi-media display around its “Shadov” chair, while Giorgio Armani opened an exhibit at his Armani/Silos space dedicated to photographer Larry Fink.”The Beasts and The Vanities, Larry Fink" exhibit will run until July.

From Milan’s 5Vie neighbourhood to the Via Tortona design district, there will be no shortage of fashion highlights here in Milan through Sunday.

 

 



Sofia Celeste
FAIRPLAY Editor-in-Chief

When she is not hunting down the latest in tech and fashion, Sofia Celeste is scouting artisan talent for her online magazine bacoluxury.com. Born in the US and raised on the Pacific Island of Guam, she went on to write for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. Her work is now regularly published in top fashion publications NOWFASHION and WWD.

MILAN, ITALY – Design Week is a festival that year after year asserts Italian creativity on the world stage. This week, however, a group of talented Los Angelenos crashed the party.

“Intimate Strangers: The Los Angeles Conversation” showcased the best that Southern California has to offer under the Baroque ceilings of Milan’s Palazzo Litta.

Furniture designers Mattia Biagi, Robert Kuo, Nicole Landau, Londubh Studio, Natasha Baradaran and Graye showcased futuristic pieces that highlighted the growing artisanal know-how that is available on the West Coast of the United States today.

At the show, Hollywood actor Billy Zane unexpectedly made his European debut as a serious painter with his "Telemundo" acrylic on canvas that he painted in 1997 while filming the "Titanic" in Mexico (because Telemundo was the only channel available on TV at the time).

There is so much going on in LA in terms of design. We took a chance, and we were really successful in organising the event here. We will definitely come again,” said Gulla Jonsdottir, owner of the eponymous LA-based architecture and design firm that organised the event. A native of Iceland, Jonsdottir admitted that she normally works on hotels around the world. "Furniture design is a hobby," she said shrugging her shoulders.

Jonsdottir's bended-wood petal chair, lava table and her poetic rug designs made by Ariana Rugs created a buzz. The latter is famous for their whimsical carpets and is run by three Kabul-born siblings, who reside in LA and whose family has been making fine hand knotted rugs since the 1920s. “We really want to highlight what is happening in Afghanistan. It’s not just about conflict. There is a lot of creativity in the region and we also want to point out that the industry is changing and becoming more ethical and more modern,” said Alex Ahmadi.

Ahmadi said that unlike many oriental rug makers, Ariana does not employ children to weave their carpets, and that their facilities provide daycare for the children of their artisans.

Italy’s fashion capital has played host to the world’s premier design festival for the past 20 years and in the last decade it has proved not only a source of inspiration for the fashion world but also a meeting place between applied arts and architecture. "Intimate Strangers" was really the first time a foreign group has made a market presence at Design Week.

“It was really a leap of faith,” said Karen Kuo Chou, Kuo's daughter, who works with him alongside her sister Chin-chin. The Kuo family unfurled a white bronze "cloud" chair and a gold-plated lamp and shade that complemented the ostentatious, gilded decor of Palazzo Litta.

Kuo Chou explained that most of the designers involved in the project shared a common ethos, but did not really know each on a personal basis. “It really shows how through the arts - from applied arts to fashion - that things are connected. You really can’t separate things anymore."

Elsewhere, fashion-forward textile maker Bonotto teamed up with post-consumer recycling firm Miniwiz for the “Gardening the Trash” exhibit curated by art director Cristiano Seganfreddo.

Versace Home created a multi-media display around its “Shadov” chair, while Giorgio Armani opened an exhibit at his Armani/Silos space dedicated to photographer Larry Fink.”The Beasts and The Vanities, Larry Fink" exhibit will run until July.

From Milan’s 5Vie neighbourhood to the Via Tortona design district, there will be no shortage of fashion highlights here in Milan through Sunday.

 

 



Sofia Celeste
FAIRPLAY Editor-in-Chief

When she is not hunting down the latest in tech and fashion, Sofia Celeste is scouting artisan talent for her online magazine bacoluxury.com. Born in the US and raised on the Pacific Island of Guam, she went on to write for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. Her work is now regularly published in top fashion publications NOWFASHION and WWD.

 

Photo: Gulla Jonsdottir

 

Photo: Gulla Jonsdottir

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