Milan Design Week 2015: Mixed Metals

From chairs to tape dispensers to lamps, the best in metallics at this year's event

by Jill Singer

In recent years at Milan Design Week, it’s almost become a game to guess which metallic might be deemed in vogue that particular season. The pendulum has swung from brass to copper and back again many times, occasionally alighting on a more rarefied metal, like rose gold. But this year, designers and manufacturers seemed to throw up their hands at the idea of trying to capture the current zeitgeist, and offered their wares simultaneously in a trio of metals: copper, brass, and some sort of silver offering, be it steel, aluminum, or chrome. Here are five of our favorites from the bunch.


Cantili Tape Dispenser by Poetic Lab for Beyond Object

At Designjunction this year, London-based duo Poetic Lab created a temporary showroom for its self-produced offshoot brand Beyond Object. The space featured a metallic desktop collection including a letter opener, pencil sharpener, pen pot and this tape dispenser made from a zinc alloy and plated with copper, gold or silver.

Volume by Fabrica for Daikin

Under the creative direction of Sam Baron and the art direction of Formafantasma, students at the Italian visual research center Fabrica created an exhibition for the Japanese air conditioning brand Daikin, exploring the ways in which one can visualize air. This installation used mirrored metallic sheets, attached to granite bases, to press and distort white balloons, making visual the effects of volume.


Melt Lights by Tom Dixon + Front

Tom Dixon collaborated with Swedish collective Front on this trippy, tricolor set of lights: when off, Melt’s distorted surface appears to have a smooth, mirrored finish, available in copper, chrome and gold. Turned on, the lights become translucent and emit a hallucinogenic glow, an effect that’s achieved through a process called vacuum metallization.


Bonbon by Luca Nichetto for Verreum

Inspired by shiny candy wrappers, Italian designer Luca Nichetto’s shiny, totem-like tables for the Prague-based glass brand Verreum are made from different hues of hand-blown silvered glass. These super-glossy side tables are—simply by being so bold—able to simultaneously clash and match everything.

Max Lamb’s Metalware Chairs

Part of Max Lamb’s blockbuster “Exercises in Seating” exhibition, a retrospective of the designer’s history in chairs since 2006, these new seats come as a pair. One is made from copper and brass, while the other is composed of standard steel tubes. Lamb has constructed this exact form before—most notably in a wood chair made from dowels of varying diameter—but the use of mixed metals makes this particular iteration feel of the moment.

Images courtesy of respective brands