Magis, Mattiazzi and GUBI are three very different brands, yet there was a certain something in common in their Salone presentations in Milan. All three brands predominantly employ Northern European designers to create their designs and this may explain the noticeable aesthetic similarities evident in Milan. A number of products were on slimline frames and legs, there was a lot of grey upholstery finishes and black legs. We began to wonder if we are starting to witness a new era in European design, with recognisable motifs and ideas.
Magis, founded during the heyday of Italian design in 1976, have consistently improved their collection over the last decade. Working with a predominantly Northern European stable of designers, including Rowan and Erwan Bouroullec, Konstantin Grcic and Marcel Wanders, has created a clearly defined brand sensibility.
The best in show at the Salone was arguably the Bouroullec brothers wrought iron Officina Collection, however we still have a soft spot for Konstantin Grcic’s Traffic Collection.
Mattiazzi, have emerged in recent years as an exceptionally progressive Italian manufacturer who use the most high-tech machines to do magic things with wood. After the success of Sam Hecht’s Branca chair and Konstantin Grcic’s Medici chair, 2014 saw another Rowan and Erwan Bouroullec creation take the plaudits: the Uncino collection. A range of wooden task chairs with two different backrests and a number of base options, this collection has a quiet authority and is likely to become a popular new office system choice.
Danish brand GUBI have generated a reputation for bringing back into production a number of elegant and refined designs, particularly in lighting. This Salone, they launched the new Masculo Chair by Gamfratesi.
Gamfratesi is a Danish located design studio that combines the talents of Stine Gam and Enrico Fratesi, both architects, one Danish and one Italian. They have tried to create an aggressively masculine chair that has a soft and embracing quality. The accompanying TS table is inspired by the 1930s Danish architecture and is a good example of what GUBI do best, bring past ideas up to a 21st century standard.