My favorite designs this year were either based on reworking tradition in a new context, incorporated nature or were just downright practical. With a little magic of tasteful curation thrown in, of course. Sounds like I'm craving stability with an edge. Maybe that would help me count better.
Death is a fact of life, yet we are so often unprepared. Having lost some very special people over the past couple of years, I know that the Seeyou project by Ivanka would give me a sense of peaceful passage. The tombstone's blend of solid tradition with the serenity of an organic design that incorporates nature's touch makes this my favorite design of 2009.
Conceptual ceramics projects stayed with me this year, such as the Polderceramics from Atelier NL. The idea of using the soil to both grow the food and make the bowls in which it is served reinforces the need to make do with what we have. Forma Fantasma explored the use of kitchen ingredients as a workshop material in the Baked series of tableware, but the studio's Molding Tradition series was an investigation into craft and immigration. A lot of fine food for thought.
Designers who updated tradition really appealed to me this year, especially when the focus was on textiles. Playing with Tradition by Richard Hutten and Persian Explosion from Studio Mango were two clever carpets whose visual wit are not simply of the moment. I also loved what Grant Heaps did with thousands of tiny coloured squares and lot of thread: the new needlepoint. Heaps created a pixellated tapestry of a scene that evokes that cabin nostalgia. Lots of work and a beautiful palette.
My favorite exhibition of work in Milan was the Maison Martin Margiela installation in Zona Tortona. Huge snowglobes with nothing but water and glitter; trompe l'oeil rugs and wallpaper; the many shades and textures of white. It was a magical place, a workshop with a mood that was both industrious and zen.
I've been thinking about the RKS Laundry Pod for almost one whole year. I know it would make my hand wash cleaner (and greener). Maybe I'd even do more.
The Family Project is something I would love to see wherever I eat and drink, especially this time of year when getting settled (coat, scarf, mitts, bags, etc.) takes forever. It's never simple. I just want to hang my coat and stow my purse. Thank you, Kaman Tung, for helping to keep my belongings off the floor and under control.