Italy – On day two of Milan Design Week, The Future Laboratory headed to Tortona Design District, which housed notable exhibitions from Ikea, Superstudio and Base.
Carrying on the theme of future homes, Ikea’s Assembling the Future Together examined the past, present and future of life at home. The main exhibition explored the evolution of key furniture pieces that have contributed to Ikea’s success and vision since the 1950s, such as its Nytillverkad collection, which re-interprets iconic pieces for new generations.
Across the road at Superstudio, Samsung Electronics hosted Bespoke Home, Bespoke Life. Visitors could explore the brand’s growing range of eco-conscious home appliances and then discover how to personalise them to better fit their home and personality style. Examples on display included a laundry installation that doubled as a bar, and fridges that, at first glance, looked like a gallery wall. In the next room Lexus presented prototypes from the four winners of the Lexus Design Awards 2023, which has an overarching theme of ‘shaping the future’. Pavels Hedström, designer of Fog-X, presented a jacket that transforms into a shelter, which catches fog and turns it into drinking water – demonstrating true innovation in the camping market. Kyeongho Park and Yejin Heo, designers of Zero Bag, displayed a new package that dissolves in water and contains a detergent that can remove chemicals from products such as food or clothing, while reducing plastic waste.
The day ended at Base, exploring how to build more creative and inclusive cities. Professionals from Experimentalista, Prince Claus Fund, LAGO and Moleskine Foundation highlighted the importance of creative minds contributing to city policy and design, particularly in emerging economies such as Mexico City and in African cities. Local communities too should be involved in urban planning to create sustainable and inclusive spaces. A big question posed was: ‘How do we design a city to reflect the people who live there both aesthetically and economically, and how can we move these ideas out of the talking phase and into applied solutions?’
We Will Design, also hosted by Base, presented projects from London university Central Saint Martins’ Material Futures students, including footwear redesigned to mimic the behaviour of keystone species to aid biodiversity and probiotic clothing that explores the benefits of fusing healthy bacteria into items of clothing, providing therapeutic and functional benefits to the wearer’s body.
As designers push the boundaries of material innovation, consider how bio-materials could alter the role that everyday products play in sustainability initiatives