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Milan 2013: MOST by Tom Dixon

Once you’ve stopped being mesmerized by the gold, copper and bronze that characterizes Tom Dixon design, you’ll find many an interesting Dutch project on show at MOST.

By Cassandra Pizzey / 09-04-2013

It’s a feast for the eyes walking through Tom Dixon’s 2013 presentation at MOST in the national museum of Science and Technology. The British designer’s set up this year imitates a factory or storage facility with large open storage units showing older classics and new works. 

Through a perfectly-styled Tea Shop and past the gift shop we reach the basement where the first Dutch brand on the list is located. Showing last year at Ventura Lambrate, MOST seems a better fit for product designer Sander Mulder. 

A wide range of products are on show, including new additions to his lampshade collection Carat, Cyclops lamps and custom lightbulbs. What binds the various items on show by this Veldhoven-based designer is a real sense of ingenuity and keen, commercial aesthetic. 

On a more conceptual level, we come across Hélène Combal-Weiss, a French designer, based in London but with a strong connection to the Netherlands thanks to her earlier work for new media and textiles designer Bart Hess. 

As part of the Textile Futures exhibition, part of a two-year Masters programme at Central Saint Martins, Combal-Weiss explores how we can instill a sense of aura in industrially produced materials. “Animism is an ancient belief but I would like to question whether there could be a new spirituality in an industrial era,” explains the designer. Part of her project is a video which shows how various materials and clothing interact with the elements.  

Another Dutch participant of Textile Futures is Loekie Smeets who looks at the inherent transformation of natural materials. Instead of creating adaptable technology, Smeets aims to highlight the transformation that these materials go through over time, rediscovering the beauty of natural materials. 

Also worth a mention is Fab, a design web shop that has conquered both European and US markets in a very short period of time, no small feat in the current economic market. We chat with Creative Director Europe – who happens to be Dutch – about the company’s success and how it aims to grow not only in a retail sense but also as a meaningful organization promoting international design. 

On show at MOST are two presentations by Fab, which sells everything from fashion (Kiboots) to coat hangers and home furnishings. The back of the train pavilion features an enthusiastic team showing off selected items from the web shop, while occupying two of MOST’s shop windows is a project by Fab, the Belgian Quinze & Milan and the Andy Warhol Foundation which sees the famous Brillo boxes remade into poufs. 

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