Every year, during the month of April brings, spring brings not only warm temperatures and blooming flowers to the city of Milan, but also a huge international event: Salone del Mobile, one of the most important international furniture fairs in the world. It is a massive event, that every year attracts thousands of visitors, businessmen and design amateurs. While this exhibition takes place in the fair, the city center dresses up for the much awaited Milano Design Week. The metropolitan sister of the Furniture Fair invades the streets, buildings and museums of Milan with art and design displays, ready to make tourists and locals really feel the enthusiasm of the Salone del Mobile week. Lighting design is one of the most interesting aspects of this yearly event. Today we want to tell you about a very special exhibition, which is the result of a collaboration between a famous brand and a genius designer. Are you curious to know more?
Michael Anastassiades is one the protagonists of the Milano Design week 2018, with his lighting design collection, created in collaboration with Flos. This designer of Cypriote origins, has been living in London for 30 years, and his design and research work is mainly in the field of lighting, often collaborating with the Italian company that this year, once again, brought his works at the attention of the international community, gathered in Milan for the Salone del Mobile. “Arrangements” is the name of the collection that Anastassiades is exhibiting this year. The lighting design line was first proposed at Euroloce 2017 in preview, and is now being distributed all over the world. 2018 is seeing this collection being celebrated as the work of art it is, at the Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery of Milan. Illumination by this unconventional designer looks ethereal, like sunrays floating in the air, drawing sinuous lines in front of our eyes. This exhibition will take you to a dreamy world, where gravity is a relative concept, and light takes mysterious directions.
You may think these oneiric creation come from a dream, a pure effort of imagination, but would you be surprised in finding out the opposite? Michael Anastassiades revealed that his works are the result of a strict discipline, that he applies in every aspect of its life. He believes discipline is what makes you think, gives you a structure, helps you pursuing your goals. This is what the designer thinks after 20 years of a successful career: two decades that taught him that creativity means nothing, if you can’t be coherent, persistent and committed. What does design mean to this artist? Something that is always changing, evolving, moving, fluctuating. In order to never look dated, a piece of lighting design must be ready to adapt to every possible context, or style, or era. Anastassiades’ artistic journey, in fact, lead to light design only in the recent years, after a long introspection looking for a unique style, that could truly be one of a kind.
This exhibition at Milano Design week will show us how light can be treated as poetry: you will discover the most magical and evocative side of lighting design. It is very different from other products of interior decoration, because it lives in two different scenarios: when it is switched on, and when it is off. The time during which it is turned off, coincides with about 80% of its existence, while only 20% of its life is spent while turned on. That small 20%, however, is when something really unique happens: the space that the light occupies becomes very different: the shadows that the lights create in relation to their sculptural shape, and the other objects in the environment, draw a pattern in the room, like the wise hands of a master painter, who changes his mind according to the time of the day. Lighting design is no longer about creating an inanimate object: home décor is alive, always changing and constantly interacting with the humans living in it. Even when a lamp is turned off, it has a sculptural beauty, which must be approached in a completely different way. Michael Anastassiades draws two different lights in one design, each one different, with unique characteristics. A project as ambitious as this one, could come to life only with the collaboration of an innovative brand: Flos was surely the most suitable company to help the Arrangement lighting collection enter the Salone del Mobile and Milano Design Week with a wide appeal.
Michael Anastassiades has a stable collaboration relationship with Flos, but he also has a brand of his own, an independent company. A big name of lighting design like Flos gives him the opportunity to experiment new materials, creating pieces with the aid of innovative technologies, taking advantage of their astonishing background and craftsmanship knowledge. For the brand that bears his very own name, instead, he gets to the bone of its personality as a designer: minimalism and simplicity mirrors perfectly his artistical identity. In a world that bombards us with visual information, Anastassiades desperately looks for purity. By deleting pieces of information, you get to bring out the idea behind the product, and even behind your thinking. In the case of the Arrangements collection, he deleted the structure, but other projects show different kinds of decluttering and simplification.