A number of the firm’s recent designs for the collection attracted both critical and public attention. The most overtly playful of these was Fabio Novembre’s ROBOX, a light-hearted reinvention of the bookshelf posing as an old fashioned robot; something to make reading fun for kids of all ages. Novembre also premiered a number of other designs at the fair. Continuing with his nod to Werner Panton that began with the Strip chair that segued into the Child chair, featuring an anatomically correct moulding on its underside, Novembre unveiled the grown-up version of the latter at the fair. But, his sense of humour and craft with scale was particularly evident in his new Pot’n Chair. Very much as described by the name, it is in fact a design that combines a giant pot with a seat. Available in white, cement grey or brick red colours, the design is meant for use in spacious interiors or outdoors; in domestic or public. In the case of the former, of course, it’s entirely capable of bringing a little of the great outdoors inside since the pot is large enough to provide a habitat for a sizeable tree.
British designer Benjamin Hubert also unveiled a design for a bookshelf at the fair. His design, whilst being somewhat more droll in the delivery, perhaps, was every bit as witty as that of Novembre. Playing with variety rather than homogeneity, Hubert’s design uses an overall unifying frame to pull together a seemingly disparate selection of familiar industrial shelving styles. Viewed at a glance, the design also gives the impression that one is surveying an urban skyline rather than a single library. Industrial function was also the undertow of Hubert’s second new design, this time taking a nautical direction. His Maritime armchair, whilst initially appearing light and weightless is constructed from the best solid timber, its curved surfaces based on traditional marine construction in materials that are every bit as strong as a sturdy seafaring vessel need be.
And these, of course, were only two of the designers from Casamania’s impressive roster attracting attention in Milan. The Italian design house was founded in the mid-1980’s, at the height of the then renewed international interest in Italian design. As the name suggests, its focus remains primarily on quality contemporary furniture for the home though many of its designs for seating, tables and storage have found their way into design-conscious offices and workplaces around the world.