I was excited and curious to see how companies and designers would respond to the crisis. I thought that I would spend the Milan design week surrounded by new stimuli and original designs. I thought there would be fewer people, fewer projects, a greater amount of creativity and invention. I was wrong, completely wrong.

It is hard to avoid being blasé after many years of design, it is difficult to be fully absorbed by the hundreds of articles that are presented in just one short week, in the space of  just a few intense and extremely tiring days. It is even more frustrating to have to admit that nothing lived up to the expectations; the doors that could have been flung wide open by the crisis stayed firmly and resolutely closed.

My only option is to begin to give an overview of my personal selection from the salon, based on light through a poetic moment and location that is enchanted, absolutely far from the madding crowd and from style in se:

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A farewell to Hannes Wettstein, the emotional tribute to the Swiss designer Hannes Wettstein who died last year. He questioned all norms – social, industrial, cultural and ritual – in order to discover something new. “This absoluteness was not an attitude but a methodology. His willingness to rethink everything determined by design – everyday actions, organization of rooms, the purpose of things – led him to create surprisingly simple solutions that outlasted time. Technology transferred from design-resistant fields, years of scientific work on an idea or a material and a fine sense of brand quality – Hannes Wettstein shaped a world in which he sought to comprehend the essence of the articles that surrounded him. Pure, unspectacular, functional design was the ilk of his lights and furniture. Again and again he returned to sleek forms and classic modern lines. These suited his vision of the world and society. Even before his time, he knew that only self-evident design can be endurable. Hannes Wettstein designed elegant, perfect items for everyday use, articles that maintained their identity and remained timeless even under the effects of changing fashion. Also where room  design was concerned, he managed to create archetypes: complete, sensitive design solutions for specific locations, interiors or settings. The comprehensive way in which he helped design the world persists today and lives on in the company he founded in 1991, Studio Hannes Wettstein”.

What else is there to say? We can only hope that Wettstein and the people who continue to work in his studio are an example and a warning for the future of design.

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The installation, supervised by studio Hannes Wettstein and supported by the brand Horgenglarus, will be on display until July 3rd 2009 in the Swiss cultural center in Milan.

Posted on: Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 at 11:13
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