Milan, Milan, Milan – where to start I wonder? I have decided to jump right in where I felt it most, and to share with you a total experience, that experience being the Unexpected Welcome Exhibition by Moooi. I was blown away by the epic proportions and exceptional art direction, not to mention the discussion with design maestro Marcel Wanders that we happened to walk in on.
So it’s Day 2 and we decide to hit Zona Tortona which is just minutes from our fabulous stay via airbnb, fuelled with ample coffee, a map and our eye on the design prize, we head over the foot bridge and into the day’s quest for seeking out the best. The Moooi showroom looks like not much at all from the outside, and if you weren’t aware of what this Dutch design haus was all about, it would be easy to sacrifice the beauty within. One step inside and I was instantly smitten with the suitably sized 4.5m photographs by Erwin Olaf utilised to divide the 1.700 m2 space into masterful versions of the brand both past and present.
The styling of each zone or living quarter was dreamy from every conceivable angle, a beauty in balance and wit and where everyday objects including cool bikes, plant life, trainers, board games, cans of beer! and an awesome collection of antiques sat alongside Moooi’s best bits and all inhabited by Hans Boodt mannequins. This all-encompassing visual assault provided a very real and lived in view of how Moooi might look in your home, office, favourite hotel lobby…. This real life styling became a trend I noticed across Salone and the showrooms that had chosen this path were the ones bustling with life and business.
What struck me most about Erwin Olaf’s photographs, chosen from his Grief, Faith, Keyhole and Berlin series was that their mood – which dwell on sensations of shame and guilt, didn’t distract from the feeling of wanting to jump right into the joy and at their enormous size this seemed like quite an accomplishment. Moreover, their hidden stories provided a real sense of intimacy that truly appealed and provided the perfect start point for a real and retail relationship with the collection at hand. Five stars for sure.