The Festival Experience

Salone del Mobile 2009 is officially over: we once again find ourselves in a tragically pizza-deprived part of the world. Back in London, sans gelato (though it's too cold here today to imagine wanting some anyway), it's time to reflect on the trip.

What’s it like to exhibit at the Milan Furniture Fair? Very different from the experience as a visitor.

Somehow, I expected to have the energy to balance showing and seeing, but not much of the latter ever happened. It was impossible to mission around Milan after the exhausting installation. Even though, thanks to being part of a collective, we could break our stand-tending duty into shifts, I used most of my free time to rest.

The only other exhibit I saw, and it was a good thing: Senseware at the Trienalle

Also enjoyed lattes. Also enjoyed pizza. Also nursed hangovers. Also celebrated Amelie’s birthday. Also recovered from a post-Mexico trip flu.

Mmmmm....a nice delicious Italian tea for Melissa.

You would be just as excited about a pizza of this scale.

Amelie's funky birthday cake.

Quite funky indeed....

Luckily, the guilt of having missed out on this annual concentration of design creations is offset. A flourishing of small-scale media coverage brought instant reviews of the shows to the surface. There were twitterers, bloggers, and on-site daily newspapers (The British Council provided The Incidental. Another, more interesting publication was KithKin's Working Title.)

Clare Acheson showed us that the secret to successful design writing is snacking on lettuce.

Now, from the uninterrupted dismal calm of a cold cloudy London day, I can finally “return” to last week’s Salone as a visitor. The Working Title published six issues – one per night – from their office in the designersblock compound. We didn’t have to make much effort to obtain a daily copy, as this was also where we were located, so I now sit here reading through my collection of them.

The working environment of the Working Title

The style of this publication is perfectly suited to reflect the Milan experience. Written by members of the collective KithKin, the diverse opinions portray a kaleidoscopic approach. The group didn’t have a specific agenda with the paper, so it ends up echoing the subjective experiences of individuals. Some articles offer in-depth descriptions, some trail off into amusing anecdotes. It’s a paper that wanders. And wandering is the only real way to stumble upon the best of Milan.
These temporary publications circulating through the city created a stronger sense of community, similar to the effect of newspapers like The Piss Clear in Black Rock City (Burning Man). It would be amazing to have that sense 'round the year in London. Working Title: please start publishing here and rid us of the Free London Lite!!!!!

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