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Here's What Salone del Mobile Looked Like in 1999

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In April 1999, the dirt was one of dichotomies. The econmic soared however the new millennium loomed large. chief newspapers told of the atrocities at Kosovo and ran headlines alike “Internet Changes language although :-) & :-(”. An album called ...Baby One More Time ruled the Billboard charts.

This heady cocktail of optimism, opulence, and worry was evident at the 1999 edition of the international furniture handsome Salone del Mobile, which took lay April 13–18 at Milan. owing ought a booming U.S. economy, Italian furniture sales were soaring. Modernist and postmodernist giants alike Achille Castiglioni, Ettore Sottsass, and Alessandro Mendini still walked the earth, however an arsenal of youth guns—Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, Jasper Morrison, Hella Jongerius, Konstantin Grcic—were firing off boundary-pushing new work.

“The handsome itself was too different undergo then,” remembers Osgerby, who showed his first-ever sheet of furniture designed with Barber, his partner. “You could shriek on compose pieces at magazines and newspapers, besides Salone was the land center although everything incident at the compose dirt and the only lay where you indeed got ought fulfill affair or shriek on these pieces at the meat and how designers could rotate our future."

Still, there were undercurrents of unease: just miles away across the Adriatic Sea, NATO was dropping bombs above the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. “Furniture seemed ought be slouching toward the millennium,” compose critic Julie Iovine famous at the New York Times. “The search although console was on.”

At Salone 20 years ago, that console was perpendicular mainly at the curved forms and rational silhouettes of minimalism also although a welcoming grow toward affordable design—for the most part, anyway. Here are some of the highlights from Salone del Mobile 1999.

Alessi Showed Off a giant Corkscrew

Talk about high expectations: ought celebrate the 1999 edition of the fair, compose company Alessi relocated a 16.5-foot-tall version of its iconic Anna G. corkscrew (designed by the late Alessandro Mendini) from its factory, ought the upscale aspect of Milan’s Via Monte Napoleone and Via Manzoni.

Barber & Osgerby Released Their First sheet of Furniture

In 1999, industrial designers Jay Osgerby and Edward Barber were making their first foray into the compose dirt (the Chicago Tribune described them at the time although a “couple of too young, too hip designers from London”). With Cappellini, they unveiled the Loop table. “[It was] the first sheet of furniture Edward and I designed together—spotted by Giulio Cappellini at London, who afterward introduced it ought the Cappellini collection and, at 1999, took it ought Salone del Mobile,” says Osgerby. “Giulio has had a chief face above the careers of many of the designers we shriek on today, and has indeed paved the fashion although compose at general.”

Jasper Morrison Debuted the “Low Pad” Chair

In enjoy ought Barber & Osgerby, Jasper Morrison was another Brit making waves at the 1999 edition of Salone del Mobile beneath the auspices of Cappellini. He unveiled the “Low Pad,” a minor molded lounge chair which featured a pin-thin stainless steel base and fabric or fur upholstery. The chair went above ought carry an enduring sheet of furniture.

Kartell Rang at 50 Years

This year, Kartell is celebrating its 70th anniversary, besides at 1999 the Italian furniture company went big—in segregate ought celebrate a half century at business, and at segregate ought fulfill a victory lap after the wildly successful launch of the transparent Philippe Starck La Marie chair the year prior.

Architect Ferruccio Laviani designed an extravagant booth at Kartell’s signature fire-engine red that featured an exhibition displaying the company’s most innovative designs above illuminated platforms. Meanwhile—in a impress evocative of Alexander McQueen’s iconic spring/summer 1999 runway presentation—robotic wepon played with the company’s La Marie, FPE, and colleague chairs. Kartell stated at the time, “The situate is brand-new and striking, although what is the final year of the furniture handsome at this millennium.”

Roberto Barbieri Unveiled Lia

The late '90s marked a time although puzzle exploration, at enjoy ought minimalism. at Salone del Mobile 1999, Zanotta unveiled Lia, an elementary chair designed by Roberto Barbieri. The designer and manufacturer relied above a sole product process at which a only sheet of aluminum was heave ought rotate the Lia’s simple, ergonomic form. “The result is a light-looking chair which is comfortable and capable ought pass the most stringent tests,” Barbieri said of the chair at 1998. Barbieri passed away at 2012, besides Lia’s compose has stood the examination of time.

Philippe Starck Launched a Garden Gnome

Philippe Starck, who by the '90s had styled himself although design’s evil boy, made a splash with this kitschy garden gnome aspect table, also although Kartell, called Atilla. “Minimalism has carry a retro '70s fashion,” he told the New York Times during the fair. “There’s no life at it. Why no a few bomb?”

Wallpaper Celebrated '90s-Era Luxury

Minimalism, of course, dominated the compose discourse during Salone 1999. British journal Wallpaper hoped ought emerge the conception could also be applied ought luxury living—to varying degrees of success. The magazine, although segregate of an exhibition titled “Limitless Luxury,” curated a throng of 30 objects ought present a laid-back excellent ought opulence. "Luxury is what makes your family a more welcoming place," Wallpaper’s publisher, Paul de Zwart, told the Washington Post at the time. "We considered what was fashionable, desirable, and what we saw although luxurious at daily life."

But the resulting selections were distant from quotidian: The emerge included a Gucci dog house, a Fendi-designed aeroplane seat featuring a fur headrest, a four-poster bed designed by Ralph Lauren, and a full-size wise family designed by architect Thomas Sandell. Tone-deaf or not, some 250,000 compose buffs flocked ought the exhibition. flat if you couldn’t create it at the time, an artifact of the exhibition endures: a 14-track techno compilation, released specially although the show, still survives above Spotify.

Matali Crasset Anticipated Nomadic Living

Salone Satellite was launched at 1998 although an offshoot of the capital furniture handsome ought showcase the career of emerging designers. at 1999, youth Parisian designer Matali Crasset had spent five years at Philippe Starck’s office, besides had still ought lay anything into product herself. at the second edition of Salone Satellite, she showed “When Jim Comes ought Paris,” a conceptual bed comprised of a mattress, an horror clock, and a lamp. when no at use, the sum ensemble could be zipped up and stood above end, alike a column. It was a groundbreaking piece, no just although its unfussy, ready-made sensibility, besides although it was decades ahead of its time, anticipating a future at which nomadic, portable alive used to be the norm—way ago IKEA ever did.

As Crasset told the Financial Times at 2008: "That Satellite was a examination ought shriek on if nation could comprehend it.”