Location_Interni Fuorisalone, University of Milan
Client_Ministry of Economic Affairs of Taiwan
Services_General conception Codesign, single piece design and 1:1 prototype production
As part of “Fuorisalone” held every year by Interni, in the wonderful setting of the University of Milan, we were invited to participate in the collective exhibition BRAin TAIWAN. Promoted by the Taiwanese Ministry of Economic Affairs, the exhibition aimed to represent at Milan Design Week the innovation that Taiwanese textile manufacturing brings to the world.
The curators Louis Ma, Giampaolo Galenda and Elena Gemelli thought the spaces of the Portico del Richini as a large colorful village overflowing with life, in which each of the four invited designers -besides us, Beatrice Arenella, Andrea Bonessa, Lorenzo Palmeri– created and set up six different objects / installations specially conceived and made using a technical fabric Made in Taiwan. These fabrics, each with particular technical properties, were selected by the designers at the Tainan and Taipei companies and then sent to Italy for the final assembly.
The exhibition aims to undermine what the term “Made in Taiwan” represents in the collective imagination: a stigma that recalls low-cost and low-durability plastic products. The mental image of Taiwan is tied to something like a country-factory producing quantity rather than quality. The reality is quite different and tells us that in addition to being a leader in the world of electronics, Taiwan produces 70% of the technical fabrics in the world market. People know little about this because Taiwanese companies often operate as subcontractors of global brands such as Nike and Adidas. The exhibition has the target to show that textile products based on nylon or polyester, despite bad reputation when used as substitutes of wool and cotton, have state of the art technical features.
Conceptual fulcrum of the exhibition, Brain is a large cerebrum represented by neuronal networks and gray masses. Brain has the task of figuring the ironic transposition from “Made in Taiwan” to “Brain in Taiwan”. Taiwan has a powerful entrepreneurial brain, it cannot be perceived only as a factory country. The production structure is there, but we find also a lot of R&D, while production is often delocalized in China and Africa. We therefore represented the network of connections that makes Taiwan a fertile platform for creativity. Thin aluminum rods articulated by thirty different 3D printed joints (neuronal network), support semitransparent veils (gray mass), creating a diaphanous work, immaterial like the profound value of the Taiwanese production system. Brain is not an object of use, not even a work of art. Brain is a space actor, its properties are atmospheric and magnetic.
Fabric features: Stretch mesh (48 g/sqm) 55% nylon /45% polyester, manufactured by Shin Kong Textile , Taipei.
Coocoon is directly inspired by the Taiwanese winter habit of covering every single flower with a net veil, tied at the head of the stem by a ribbon.
By figurative translation inspired by the Buddha in meditation, it is the human body that is embraced and protected as in womb.
The simplicity of this hammock show the extreme resistance of the jacquard fabric. There is the minimum manipulation: a long roll -60 cm wide- is suspended from above up to 45 cm from the ground. Where it folds, a padded saddle is inserted to generate the sitting space. The golden bas-relief pattern on a blue-gray background recalls a vegetable peel.
Fabric features: Jacquard, 100% polyester, manufactured by JML Junmay textile LTD , Tainan.
An old map and the ancient name of Taiwan (Formosa) are the starting point for the design of a coffee table intended for a convivial space. The “face” of Formosa table is defined by the perimeter profile of the island. A particularly heavy (400 g/sqm) and resistant double-sided fabric, with an ornamental pattern based on the Peano Curve, covers the top with the blue side and the hips in green side. With its folds and sinuosity it evokes the tectonic plate on which the island lies, often shaken by earthquakes.
Fabric features: Jacquard with double face embossed pattern, 75% recycled polyester, 25% polyester, manufactured by JML Junmay textile LTD , Tainan.
Tanghulu is an iconic and pop pouf inspired by the bright colors and shapes of Taiwanese Night Markets and in particular by the colorful caramelized fruit skewers. A vibrant iridescent fabric is applied around an air-filled pilates softball. Slightly yielding under the body weight of the person sitting, the diameter of 60 cm is reduced to the height of the generic 45 cm of the seat. The sphere is held in position by a base crown consisting of a simple plate of welded iron.
Fabric features: Elastic technical sheet with a three-dimensional weave, 100% polyester, produced by Tex-Ray , Taipei.
Lantern finds its iconographic genesis from the chinese lantern which, starting from its spherical shape, deconstructs itself, losing its segments like petals. The wind carries them far away, crossing other cultures and then coagulating in a new formal configuration. The term lamp is quite understatement to describe it, Lantern in addition to managing luminous flows, defines the space by delimiting it in height and thanks to the sound-absorbing qualities of its fabric, create a comfortable place within the often chaotic Fuorisalone. Lantern has a very flexible structure made up of steel cables hanging from the ceiling. The fabric can be stretched and deformed at will and has a marbling texture on an intense red background, obtained by spray dyeing.
Fabric features: Stretch fabric 84% nylon /16% spandex, manufactured by Shin Kong Textile , Taipei.
Over a thousand temples in Taiwan are dedicated to Mazu, the Goddess of the seas. Her elegant silhouette, always adorned with long cloaks swaying in the wind, inspires a modular sofa, extremely varied in terms of seating possibilities. A chaise longue, an armchair, a pouf create spaces of conviviality, configurable as desired. The structure is made of recycled cardboard glued in layers, while a layer of foam rubber guarantees softness on all seating and vertical surfaces. The shimmering benzine fabric that covers it recalls the waves that crown the island of Taiwan and when illuminated by flash it lights up sparkling.
Fabric features: DWR (Durable water repellent) fabric, 100% recycled polyester, manufactured by Everest Textile , Tainan.