The Salone Internazionale del Mobile is essentially where designers go to show off the wildest and weirdest they’ve got. It’s been going on this past week… and some of the stuff out there is even stranger than you might think. Here are the ten strangest designs from the show.
1. The Vertical Village
Inspired by the “informality” of East Asian villages, we’re mostly wondering why this particular type of furniture wasn’t given the more honest name of “Gymboree.” It’s not really clear what this is supposed to do or where it fits in your home. It’s furniture? We think? Hey, if nothing else, it does look pretty cool.
2. Agravic Table
We know what you’re thinking. This has wires, or glue, or subtly hidden reinforcements that ensure that it stands up. Nope, nope, and nope. This is instead a table done with insanely precise measurements courtesy of Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka to balance perfectly. You might remember Yoshioka as the guy who, back in 2007, was commissioned to make a boring corporate artwork and instead filled the room with plastic straw. Of course, you could never use this table, ever, but notice we didn’t say this was a show about everyday design.
Gemini, compared to some of the wackier stuff we’re putting on this list, seems almost sensible. Granted, in this case “almost sensible” means “looks like somebody took a blowtorch to half a chair.” But there’s genius in the offbeat design; the chair is built so you can sit in it in multiple ways, cramming more use into a smaller space. The weird melty design is just a bonus.
4. The Clear Wood Table
Design fans know the name Ron Gilad quite well; you might remember him as the guy who cut a table in half and hung it on a wall as “wall tables”, or the guy who put a table within a table to create an offbeat vase. Or for his “coffee table” that was really a grid of easily moved wooden blocks. You may have noticed he likes to mess with the concept of tables, and this time around he used a special printing process to layer wood grain onto glass, creating a table of “transparent wood.”
5. RUG by Yoy
Of all the ideas on display at the conference, Yoy’s oddball take on the throw rug might just be the most useful. The essential idea is that this lies seemingly flat on your floor… until you pull up an edge and sit down on it. The secret? The rug is woven around a sheet of aluminum, making this a springy makeshift chair. Just clean under the rug!
6. The Crumpled Foil Rug
This is not a photo of a crumpled sheet of foil. No, it’s a rug. Seriously. The illusion is courtesy Anselm Reyle, who is a popular abstract artist and who’s made a habit of making things look like crumpled up foil when they’re not. Needless to say, owning a Reyle isn’t going to be cheap: This rug is $20,000.
We can’t wait for next year, when more architects get their weird on. Until then… try not to be fooled by rugs.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.