Milan Design Week created to the theme of climate emergency and community building

Milan Design Week is truly special, with few cultural events on the calendar having quite the same reach. Joining Salone del Mobile — the historical indoor furniture fair at Fiera Milano — is Fuorisalone.

What began in 2003 as supporting exhibits with a more conceptual theme has since morphed into a hugely exciting set of events around the districts of Brera, 5Vie and Tortona. And it’s here where art, design and architecture intersect for the cross-fertilisation of ideas. This is where you can pick up the discourse on design thinking, which for 2023 was imagined to the theme “Laboratorio Futuro” (Future Lab).

Read my highlights here.

What is the role of a design museum Today? Tim Marlow, Design Museum director discusses

Ahead of his exhibition this spring, artist Ai Weiwei poses outside London’s Design Museum
Photography © Rick Pushinsky/Design Museum

As the director of the Design Museum in London, Tim Marlow is on a mission to transform the institution into a lively space that examines and showcases all sorts of different idea, and from multiple perspectives.

I met up with Marlow at the west London museum to see what the former Royal Academy of Arts director has in mind for a museum dedicated to contemporary design.

During our long conversation he said: “I’d like to get to a position where I can raise enough funding so we can be the museum that examines and showcases all sorts of different ideas. We are the national design museum and should be doing this.”

Read the full interview here

Sudo Reiko explores material’s possibilities at Japan House London

Making Nuno, Japanese Textile Innovation from Sud? Reiko

‘Some things disappear, some things have to disappear, but some things live on using different materials and technologies,’ says Sudo Reiko. The visionary Japanese textile designer’s work is anchored on exploring the possibilities of textile. Often fusing ancient and modern techniques, and involving unusual materials, her studio Nuno’s fabrics are almost always unexpected and imaginative. Now, Japan House London is hosting an exhibition dedicated to her work.

Making Nuno, Japanese Textile Innovation from Sud? Reiko

Making Nuno, Japanese Textile Innovation from Sudo Reiko (17 May ? 11 July 2021) is an immersive study of the artist and her studio’s creations. ‘Textile gives us the knowledge about our past, present and future,’ says Takahashi Mizuki. ‘I want to bring visitors to the journey of the textile through experiencing the production,’ adds the curator and executive director at the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile in Hong Kong, where a similar show was displayed two years ago.

Making Nuno, Japanese Textile Innovation from Sud? Reiko

Sudo’s fabrics tell infinite stories of time, place and people. She says in Japanese textile making, there is a tradition of handing down knowledge and knowhow through generations, and so the human factor, the people and their personalities, are central to the work at Nuno. Working with artisans around Japan, the studio also helps preserve skills passed on through generation.

Making Nuno, Japanese Textile Innovation from Sud? Reiko

Five large dynamic installations offer Japan House visitors a chance to see some of Nuno’s experimental processes in action. The Kibiso Crisscross fabric, for instance, takes the discarded protective outer layer of silk cocoons to make yarns from the tough remnants in tailored machines. Or, to celebrate of textile’s industrial process, discarded punch cards, which control the movements of the warp yarn on the programmable Jacquard weaving looms, are roughly stitched together for a screen that projects ethereal shadows onto a wall.

'Making Nuno, Japanese Textile Innovation from Sud? Reiko' at Japan House London explores the work of the visionary textile designer

There is a poetic energy to Sudo’s work that make her objects feel timeless. And her sustainable approach to product and production are extremely timely as consumers become more environmentally aware and expect greater accountability from brands they invest in.

‘I grew up in a small country town, where every spring and autumn we looked forward to the arrival of the travelling salesman and his bundle of kimono fabrics,’ recalls Sudo. ‘Hiding behind my mother, aunt and grandfather, I would watch spellbound as he presented these beautiful textiles, one after the other, on the tatami mats. That was probably when I first dreamt of one day becoming someone who makes beautiful fabrics.’

Images © Japan House London