The 4th Local Milan (the largest independent showcase of Australian design to date) was unveiled this week at this year’s Milan Furniture Fair and Design Week.
Over the past four years, Local Milan has presented a collective of Australian design that aims to advance awareness and understanding of Australian design on a global stage. Curator and founder Emma Elizabeth explains her ambition to ‘heighten the global perspective of our Australian aesthetic and style, encouraging and supporting local designers to continue advancing and developing the industry.’
The 2019 edition brings together innovative new creations from 44 trailblazing Australian and New Zealand based designers, curated by Emma as a celebration of colour, texture, and sound.
She gave us the inside scoop…
How does this year’s ‘LOCAL MILAN’ build on the three showcases that have come before?
The creative driver for this year’s show, like all the previous shows, was the location. The curation and creative direction of all the designers’ works, was pushed to connect with the palazzo.
The styling and level of the designer pieces have been considerably heightened this year, which I think is a result of the level or trust we have built over the past three years – I am able to workshop and directly guide the designers through their decisions of what to show and how.
The scenography of the sets and placement of pieces is not overpowering and allows the design to be the heroes.
This year I am also excited to have worked with a series of Australian creative contributors based here in Milan, including Bradley Seymour who assisted on the visual identity of the show and Berlin-based floral artist Ruby Barber.
Forty-four Australian and New Zealander designers – wow! How did you select those included and how can aspiring designers get on your radar?
This year was the first year I did a ‘call out’; in previous years I have asked designers directly. I wanted to widen the reach and hoped to discover new Australasian talent in both Australia and overseas.
All designers were selected or asked based upon the merit of their existing work. Generally, I look for interesting use of materials, unique visions, and a passion for our industry.
As this show is also my passion project, I need to work with designers that are willing to not only create amazing work but are able to assist me in setting up and installing everything to complete an overall vision too.
In addition to celebrating ‘colour, texture and sound’ what is the theme of this year’s showcase?
I think the overall theme is a narrative of Australasian design, and also the design of our current times.
It’s about an immersive experience that evokes thought and stimulations through the senses. It’s not just about looking at pretty things, it’s about a level of understanding of process, materials and the designers’ visions. With the majority of designers also present at our exhibition, to verbalise their stories.
The exhibition spans 10 rooms across two-levels, how have you gone about styling the experience?
All rooms are a complete mixture of designers and brands, which is one thing to visually create in my head but there is a lot of work that goes into managing expectations… such as maybe sitting next to competitor brands.
Nevertheless, this is the driver for me, the industry is a narrative of aesthetic that is a collaboration of cultures and creative ideas – this story needs to be told in unison.
Huge congratulations. Now it’s all underway, how do you reflect on this mammoth effort?
I am a one-man-band and the help of the designers involved has been greatly appreciated along with the sponsors’ assistance. This year I received the most help I have ever had! Eleven students from LCI Melbourne kindly donated their time, along with their two incredible staff members, and then there was a sponsor budget allowing me for the first time to bring over one assistant.
I’d also like to acknowledge all of our sponsors: Cosentino Australia, Brickworks Building Products, Nau, LCI Melbourne, Kvadrat Maharam, New Volumes, Avion and Max&You. Without their support, this exhibition is not economically possible. Their contributions go directly into the exhibition and with greater support this year in the 4th edition, we were able to raise the bar. We’ve also added elements like the Nau Cafe (with refreshments and quirky Australian snacks), the installation upon entry, and a bespoke soundscape by Mason Mulholland.
Hover your cursor over each photograph for details on designs and designers. You can also find out more information and see the full list of participants here
Local Milan Milan No.4
Milan Design Week Exhibition
April 9th to 14th, 10am-7pm
Via Cesare Correnti 14