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The Eames Lounge, Other Iconic Designs Getting Reboot for Milan Design Week

The Eames lounge. Pierre Paulin’s Orange Slice. The Mackintosh Hill House chair. These iconic pieces by furniture masters have stood the test of time and changing fashion.

But during Milan Design Week from April 16 to 21, those designs and several others will be reimagined by a group of emerging designers for “Homage,” an exhibition in partnership with the Masterly Dutch Pavilion and Netherlands-based online marketplace Catawiki.

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Eleven global designers selected famous furniture, decor and tabletop designs to reinterpret with their own twist into limited-edition pieces. The collection will be on display in the Palazzo Giureconsulti before going up for auction on Catawiki — an online auction house that specializes in art, design, luxury goods, jewelry and collectibles.

WWD caught up with a few of the featured designers to learn more about their creations.

Designer: Antonio Barone
Inspiration: Isamu Noguchi’s Freeform sofa

Italian designer Antonio Barone sees objects as a system of reversible companions, and he brought that ethos into his reinterpretation of Isamu Noguchi’s open, rounded Freeform sofa. “Noguchi’s sofa inspires us mostly for its combination of simplicity and fluid forms that make it a timeless, gentle piece,” Barone said. “Our intention was to render this organic design manifesto softer and even more informal.”

Antonio Barone’s reinterpretation of Isamu Noguchi’s open, rounded Freeform sofa.

Barone achieved that by affixing a series of organic, moldable cushions atop a grid platform.

“The grid acts as a flexible ‘plug-and-play’ infrastructure that allows a range of combinations with different parts,” he said. “The form speaks essentially about the search for comfort: This project is the result of the juxtaposition of an organic re-shapeable cushion laid over a rational tabula rasa where the user(s) can try different ergonomics.”

Designer: Aptum (Tineke Beunders and Nathan Wierink)

Inspiration: Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House chair

Dutch design team Tineke Beunders and Nathan Wierink of Aptum specialize in custom lighting installations that can vary from chaotic and colorful to geometric and sober. To reimagine the oversized geometric silhouette of the Hill House chair, the duo positioned a lamp with a grid coated on the front and back with color.

Design team Tineke Beunders and Nathan Wierink of Aptum reinterpreted Charlies Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House chair as a light.

“When you see the two designs together you’ll immediately see the geometrical dessin,” they said. “You’ll use this light in a corner, and it gives the corner a cozy, warm feeling.”

Beunders and Wierink said they selected the Hill House chair in part due to the way it was created.

“Charles Rennie Mackintosh worked together with his wife Margaret McDonald in a way similar to the way Nathan and I work together,” Beunders said. “There is something magical about creative couples working together, and we wanted to dive a bit deeper into their way of working. Research into their work made us happy.”

Designer: Bhulls (Ricardo Parmiciano Borgström and Giorgia Farina)
Inspiration: Richard Sapper’s Plico folding trolley

Italian duo Ricardo Parmiciano Borgström and Giorgia Farina of Bhulls specialize in creating collectible and unconventional pieces that blur the lines between art and design. They felt a connection to Sapper’s design style that made the Plico ideal as inspiration.

Richard Sapper’s Plico folding trolley as reinterpreted by Bhulls.

“We were interested in measuring ourselves against the fluid tension that characterizes this timeless object,” they said. “Plico is a versatile and functional product with a strong aesthetic impact — its apparent simplicity conceals great technique.”

In reinterpreting Plico for their Replico low table, Parmiciano Borgström and Farina saw a chance to return to their design roots.

“This project was an opportunity for us to return to square shapes and industrial process,” they said. “Replico is made up of three CNC laser-cut aluminum pieces. This approach marked the beginning of our journey as a studio, which we had somewhat neglected recently to work on more curvy and entirely handmade projects.”

Designer: Stefan Scholten
Inspiration: Charles and Ray Eames’ Lounge chair

Known for his reductionist design style and distinctive use of color, Dutch designer Stefan Scholten chose to recreate the classic Eames lounge chair and ottoman as one piece.

“My version has a direct relationship to the angles and proportions of the combined original lounge chair and ottoman,” he said. “I created a chaise longue.”

Scholten pays tribute to the Eames’ California modern aesthetic while incorporating his reductionist sensibilities by stripping his L.A. Chaise Longue down to sculptural, ergonomic wood.

“The wood veneer and bending technique are a very distinctive part of the original chair — in my design I wanted to emphasize that,” he said. “The chaise longue is reduced to the essence of what I find striking in the design.”

Designer: Vonn Jansen (Nick and Sophie Jansen)

Inspiration: Gianfranco Frattini’s side table and Vonn Jansen’s Trinity dining table

Dutch brother-and-sister duo Nick and Sophie Jansen of Vonn Jansen took over their family’s high-end furniture company, marrying the brand’s craftsmanship with their modern aesthetic.

As head designer, Sophie chose two inspirations for this project: First, Gianfranco Frattini’s midcentury side table — which features a two-drawer rectangular top on curved pedestal legs. And, second, Vonn Jansen’s Trinity dining table, with a striking pedestal of offset stacked boxes and eye-catching patterned veneers.

Vonn Jansen reinterpreted their side table and Gianfranco Frattini’s side tables.

“We chose the Gianfranco Frattini side tables as our inspiration because when we saw the designs, it reminded us of the type of furniture our dad used to make, so we felt a connection with the design through the heritage of our company,” Sophie Jansen said.

For her creation, Jansen married the two pieces into a table that reflects the silhouette of the Frattini piece while expressing the Vonn Jansen essence through a stacked pedestal and houndstooth and basketweave patterned veneers.

“The piece reflects our look on modern design,” she said. “We love making items that really have their own identity and will be a statement piece in someone’s interior, while preserving traditional craftsmanship within our company and using the decades of experience we have in manufacturing high-end, quality furniture.”

Additional designer reinterpretations in the Homage collection include Dutch textile designer Aleksandra Gaca’s take on Zaha Hadid’s vases; Italian architect and designer Emanuele Ferraro of Atelier Ferraro and Dutch ceramicist Simone Doesburg of Grace of Glaze both interpreting Émile Gallé’s floral glasswork; French designer Laurene Guarneri taking inspiration from Pierre Paulin’s Orange Slice chair for her Double Jaune mirror; Dutch maker Simone Post’s spin on an Alessi whistling kettle, and Carla Joachim and Jordan Morineau of Studio Joachim-Morineau creating mirror platinum-finished wall decor inspired by the Christofle Talisman serving ware.

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