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“I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.” –Dr. Seuss
Dashing over to the Zona Tortona, I felt myself in a dreamy, high-concept mood. At the same time, I meditated to gain a grand scale of patience as chaos met me: random lines of disorganized entry policies, lack of public transportation, no way of finding public restrooms, incorrect markings of exhibit sites, and more.
But as I entered the Zona Tortona, everything became highly organized, washing away the reality of being abused by the urban decay of exhausted personalities at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile. The weather, mild and beautiful to walk the sidewalks, added to the charm of the participating Zona Tortona exhibitors, which increased in number this year. These exhibitors were highly regarded global brands and proved it with unmistakable exhibits.
The process of signing in and proceeding into the exhibits went well and was organized. Perhaps, these processions were smoothly conducted due to low numbers in attendance this year. Nevertheless, I enjoyed being in the Tortona area during a beautiful spring day in Milan. The exhibits, however, similar to the ones at the Fiera/ Rho, did not inspire me completely: they were serious, business oriented, a more direct approach as in retail environments.
While the exhibits at Zona Tortona were not as high concept as I had hoped, I found much inspiration with Arik Levy’s work for Swarovski Crystal Palace. My next blog will talk about Levy’s exhibit because it deserves its own segment, as the concept was closer to what Zona Tortona built itself on: experimental concepts. While these experimental exhibitions become more realistic later, upon being sold for instance, they make the show what it is supposed to be: a spectacle to garner interest, amuse and inspire, a stage for design industry pioneers. Many of the products I saw this year were too close to real, without any showmanship.
While I had high concepts in mind, and high expectations, I salute the design houses for being professional and mature exhibitors. Things were definitely accessible and convenient. I wonder if these qualities are concepts and sensibilities we’ve lost for a long time. Is it just a reflection of our new economy?