The List’s Project Spotlight column features unparalleled projects created by our forward-thinking List members. By going straight to the source—and having the designers demystify the methods behind their designs—we hope to enlighten and inspire our creative audience to further push the boundaries of what is possible in the realm of design.
We saw so, so many things at Milan’s Salone del Mobile 2019 edition—almost too many, to be honest.
There were outré spaces and designs that we simply won’t be able to forget, but there were some more reserved, more considered installations that will stick with us as well. Rapt Studio’s freshman entry—a staged space called “Tell Me More”—for instance, is still top of mind at the moment.
As part of the return of Ventura Projects’ Future and Centrale exhibitions, the New York–based studio with a huge presence in San Francisco and Los Angeles offered up two conjoined spaces: one a haunting hall of cleverly illuminated booths where visitors shared secrets on scraps of paper, and another where previous secrets hung from the vaulted ceiling of the Via Ferrante Aporti along with Rich Brilliant Willing’s chandelier.
It’s this second room that got to us. Stocked with furniture by Blå Station, Concrete Collaborative, and Sancal (via DZINE), and coated in carpets, hangings, and drapery by Carnegie, Création Baumann, Erik Bruce, Moooi Carpets, and more, it was cush, cosy, luxurious, and yet weirdly haunting. Was it the soft intimacy of it all? The soft tones and textures? Can’t say. Maybe David Gallulo, Rapt Studio’s CEO and Chief Creative Officer, can explain it to you below.
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Inspiration: Telling a compelling story and bringing people together to a shared experience is ultimately our goal with most everything we do. Whether it’s an assignment for a client to develop a retail and customer engagement strategy or a space design assignment to develop a workplace or restaurant, we are always working to understand the underlying drivers that foster positive human interaction, the why behind the personal connections and aspects of an experience that help to push emotions one way or another. Here we wanted to show how the design of a space could help to bring people in as individuals and slowly become part of a larger shared experience.
Challenges: One of the main challenges in developing an installation that asks the visitor to be a participant is the need to change expectations around personal engagement. Design Week is a time that is carefully planned out for many, identifying the things to see at a breakneck pace as to “not miss anything”. Because of this, the interaction of the visitor is often distilled to Arrival, Photograph and Post, Depart, Repeat. So many visitors arrived, hurried through to the inner lounge and realized that a step had been missed—reverse engineering their experience, once the outcome was clear and the intent to belong was identified.
Uniqueness: We do feel that as a design studio that was not in Milan with a space designed for a client or there showing product that we had designed, but as a design studio that just showed up to illustrate the power of design, that our installation was unique. We believe that Milan Design Week is an important global discussion on design and as a global design studio, we wanted to join the conversation.
Takeaway: I believe that we saw a real interest in our visitors for something with resonance, meaning. Milan Design Week is a week of incredible inspiration, seeing the best that design has to offer, but ultimately there can be an exhaustion the comes from running from one product showroom to another for a week—we saw an appreciation for our installation offering an experience with lasting impact—people coming together sharing questions with each other, taking note of similar quandaries, perhaps in different languages, and feeling connections with strangers.
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