AKD ON TOUR IN MILAN: THE MAGICAL MADNESS

Every year designers from all over the globe travel to Milan to experience the design week madness that is Salone del Mobile, and this year I was one of the lucky ones!

From the moment I touched down I quickly learned that no amount of planning or organisation can prepare oneself for the Salone del Mobile experience – it is pure chaos, in the most exhilarating way. The whole city comes to life with countless creative ideas captivating the eyes and minds of designers, year in year out.

Thought-provoking installations could be spied in every nook and cranny throughout the city, the crowds literally busting out of the old Palazzo’s and spilling into the surrounding streets, and local delis were dressed up in Hermes wallpaper just for the occasion!

It’s universally known that Italians are a passionate bunch. They truly have a genuine foundation of belief in everything they do. Regarding design, they live for the detail, the craftsmanship, the history and the future. It was incredibly exciting being at the centre of it all this year and my heart is skipping beats even now as I relive the highlights:

FIRST STOP – BOFFI

The very first stop on my tour was the Boffi showroom, where I was gratefully offered my much-loved (and needed!) morning coffee, until I made a rookie error of insulting the nation when ordering my usual soy cappuccino. I’m sorry to say that I ended up drinking espresso for the rest of my trip!

As I bounced off the showroom walls I admired kitchens designed by Piero Lissoni, focusing on a modular concept, where the kitchen is treated more as a piece of furniture. Minimal joinery was ever fixed to the wall, and was always balanced by open shelving, raised legs, split finishes and unexpected texture combinations.

  Piero Lissoni kitchen, featuring Salvatori marble clad doors

Piero Lissoni kitchen, featuring Salvatori marble clad doors

  Balanced kitchen storage and display at Boffi

Balanced kitchen storage and display at Boffi

  A furniture-like kitchen design at Boffi

A furniture-like kitchen design at Boffi

NEXT STOP – SALVATORI
 

Salvatori marble is a favourite in the AKD studio, and this year they released brand new textures to their collection to resemble timber called ‘Stone Parquet’. Their showroom also featured furniture collaborations with architect John Pawson and lighting designer Michael Anastassiades.

  Infinity room installation of Salvatori’s gorgeous book matched stone

Infinity room installation of Salvatori’s gorgeous book matched stone

  The new ‘Stone Parquet’ finishes on display at the Salvatori showroom

The new ‘Stone Parquet’ finishes on display at the Salvatori showroom

  Love me, Love me not table by Michael Anastassiades in Salvatori stone

Love me, Love me not table by Michael Anastassiades in Salvatori stone

NEXT STOP – DIMORE STUDIO

Designer duo Dimore Studio created an installation ‘Transfer’ in which they blurred the boundaries between art and design. In each room of a pitch-black Palazzo they installed tents illuminated only by candle light. The tents had little peep holes to peer through revealing the curated and collected object and furniture within. To add to the drama, each room had its own specific eerily nostalgic music playing.

  The entrance to the ‘Transfer’ installation clad in mirror

The entrance to the ‘Transfer’ installation clad in mirror

  A striped tent illuminated by only candles

A striped tent illuminated by only candles

  One of the tents decorated decadently in a Moroccan style feast for the eyes

One of the tents decorated decadently in a Moroccan style feast for the eyes

NEXT STOP – POLIFORM

This year Poliform exhibited old favourites dressed in new materials and textures. On trend are rich decadent colours like plum, chocolate and burnt orange sitting gorgeously with more neutral blushes and nudes. Poliform exhibited new brushed metallic and glass finishes for their wardrobes and kitchens which I can’t wait to get my hands on!

  New ‘Emperador’ marble to Poliform’s existing ‘Wall’ storage system

New ‘Emperador’ marble to Poliform’s existing ‘Wall’ storage system

  Leather drawers to an open robe display section

Leather drawers to an open robe display section

  New ‘Home Hotel’ table on display with inset stone lazy susan

New ‘Home Hotel’ table on display with inset stone lazy susan

NEXT STOP – POLTRONA FRAU

Another favourite from the fair was Poltrona Frau with their forever classic leather pieces. This year they introduced two new glass pendant lights – one by Neri and Hu and the other by GamFratesi. The palette was so inviting, with layered rich textures, they featured polished plaster as an understated feature. The colour combinations on display were very successful, bold yet elegant.

  The ‘Soffi’ pendants by GamFratesi on display at Poltrona Frau

The ‘Soffi’ pendants by GamFratesi on display at Poltrona Frau

  The new ‘Byron’ chaise in a divine chocolate toned leather

The new ‘Byron’ chaise in a divine chocolate toned leather

  Velvet cushions on a leather base is a winning combination

Velvet cushions on a leather base is a winning combination

NEXT STOP – LOCAL DESIGN ABROAD

Then I was off to admire some fresh new pieces by our beloved Australian lighting designers Christopher Boots and Volker Haug. Set in an amazing old Palazzo with vibrant layered colours, the space in itself was an inspiring mix-and-match of fabulous Italian architecture

  Christopher Boots’ new Verdigris finish on display at the Local Design exhibition

Christopher Boots’ new Verdigris finish on display at the Local Design exhibition

  The lovely layered spaces that housed the Local Design exhibition, curated by Emma Elizabeth

The lovely layered spaces that housed the Local Design exhibition, curated by Emma Elizabeth

 ‘ Sculptural Oddments’ pendant by Volker Haug

Sculptural Oddments’ pendant by Volker Haug

NEXT STOP – HERMES

Hermes’ display of new homewares and objet took colour blocking to a whole new level where they created a monolithic Moroccan glazed tile maze! The most delicious rich and vibrant colours were layered gorgeously and lit so they glittered as you moved through the installation.

  The glazed tiles at the Hermes display were gorgeously reflective

The glazed tiles at the Hermes display were gorgeously reflective

  The new Hermes fabrics were innovatively displayed folded

The new Hermes fabrics were innovatively displayed folded

  Some of the maze forms were wrapped in stairs

Some of the maze forms were wrapped in stairs

LAST STOP – GUBI

Last but certainly not least was the fabulous Gubi display which was set in the most impressively Italian building I had even stepped foot inside! There is something so beautiful about the juxtaposition of super modern furniture in a very elaborate old building. There was a sense of luxury within the history of the building that can’t be replicated pseudo nor converted into words.

  A stunning lounge setting by Gubi

A stunning lounge setting by Gubi

  The new ‘Satellite’ pendant by Gubi

The new ‘Satellite’ pendant by Gubi

  The comforting nostalgic feeling at the Gubi   display

The comforting nostalgic feeling at the Gubi display

So I came, I saw, I conquered. And I have the blisters to prove it!

Until next time Milan. And there will be a next time . . .

All images ©Alexandra Kidd Design

AKD LOVES GOING GLOBAL

As designers, we are constantly on the lookout for inspiration to generate new and interesting ideas for creating unique spaces. More often than not we don’t have to look too far as it can come from anywhere at any time! 

Even just the simple act of walking down the street and observing the world around us, scrolling through the seemingly endless collections on Pinterest, flicking through the glossy pages of magazines or reminiscing about our old projects can lead to new design ideas and angles. We are design sponges, soaking up as many visual elements and practical approaches we can. 

Many a great designer has developed and fine-tuned their individual style over the years, appropriating and evolving that particular style for each new project. At AKD, however, we work to a client’s brief to deliver tailored and customised design solutions resulting in a spectrum of styles and purpose, so we are forever reinventing the wheel! 

We are constantly learning from our peers, seeing how other designers have interpreted (or reinterpreted) particular styles, solved problems or created something completely out of the box, which in turn, may shed new light on our own projects or design dilemmas. Some of our favorites are internationally renowned designers from Europe and America, with unique styles freshly contrasting that of the local Australian market.

AKD LOVES KELLY HOPPEN (UNITED KINGDOM)

We love Kelly Hoppen for her absolutely classic, elegant and timeless style with paired back palettes, statement furniture pieces and considered details. She always works with grand scale, repetition and a ‘more is more’ mantra.

   London Home  by Kelly Hoppen

London Home by Kelly Hoppen

   One Shenzhen Bay  by Kelly Hoppen

One Shenzhen Bay by Kelly Hoppen

AKD LOVES KELLY WEARSTLER (USA)

Our icon for everything bold and daring! Kelly Wearstler knows no limits with colour, form and materiality. Creating unique design compositions, her interiors are always OTT and intrepid.

   Austin Residence, Texas  by Kelly Wearstler

Austin Residence, Texas by Kelly Wearstler

AKD LOVES JOSEPH DIRAND (FRANCE)

The master of time. We always love Joseph Dirand’s amazing use of materials and colours to create spaces that combine old with new, composition and function. Clean lines and precision create his timeless and elegant interiors that have evolved from his minimalist principles.

   Montaigne , Paris by Joseph Dirand

Montaigne, Paris by Joseph Dirand

   Monsieur Bleu  by Joseph Dirand

Monsieur Bleu by Joseph Dirand

AKD LOVES JEAN-LOUIS DENIOT

Jean-Louis Deniot produces designs full of sophistication and charm, creating a new personality for a classic style. Denoit’s interiors are always full of sophistication and luxuriously layered to combine history with modern taste.

   5th Avenue, New York  by Jean-Louis Deniot

5th Avenue, New York by Jean-Louis Deniot

   Rue De Lillie, Paris  by Jean-Louis Deniot

Rue De Lillie, Paris by Jean-Louis Deniot

AKD LOVES PIET BOON (THE NETHERLANDS)

Piet Boon designs from the ground up, functionality, simplicity and beauty are his hallmarks. His contemporary clean lines and symmetry have continued throughout his interiors and signature furniture range.

AKD LOVES GILLES & BOISSIER (FRANCE)

This duo design with a clever balance of calm, passion, precision and improvisation! Their projects are entirely bespoke, an opportunity to design everything from the furniture to the lighting.

   Apartment 52m, Paris  by Gilles & Boissier

Apartment 52m, Paris by Gilles & Boissier

   Stories, Paris  by Gilles & Boissier

Stories, Paris by Gilles & Boissier

LONG WEEKEND TREATS FOR EVERY BUNNY!

Just like bunnies, this year we’ve been hopping like crazy from one week to the next, and then one month to the next without stopping!

So, we are jumping for joy ahead of all that next week has to offer – the spicy sweet scent of freshly baked hot cross buns served with dripping golden butter, our ever-growing bounty of delectable chocolate treats, only for them to disappear faster than the White Rabbit as we while away the eggtra-long long weekend spent at home or away, with family and friends.

Join our Easter hunt as we discover some eggcellent ways to make next weekend seem even longer . . .

CHOCOL'ART

It could be easy to devour all of our chocolatey sweets before the Easter Bunny has officially finished doing his rounds, but having a basket filled with art-like treats almost makes them too beautiful to eat! And will most certainly make the weekend seem much longer if we take just one bite at a time . . .

  Quite simply, if  Ms Peacock  doesn't LOVE it, it's not on the menu.

Quite simply, if Ms Peacock doesn't LOVE it, it's not on the menu.

  A  Coco Chocolate  organic chocolate egg painted with cacao butter artwork simply melts away as the chocolate is eaten.

A Coco Chocolate organic chocolate egg painted with cacao butter artwork simply melts away as the chocolate is eaten.

Bibelot coloured gemstone Easter eggs are precious indeed!

SWEET SECRETS

HA! If only we could take just one bite at a time!

Our chocolate stash isn’t the only thing that we’ll be devouring next weekend. We’ll be putting our feet up, sinking deep in to a comfy couch and devouring all the latest interior design inspiration including the current April issue of Belle magazine featuring our beautiful Victoria Street project!

Dedicated to 'inspiring spaces decked out in luxury materials and sophisticated details' the annual 'Hot kitchens & cool bathrooms' special showcases a stunning collection of Australia's most spectacular new designs by leading interior designers and studios.

  We’ll be dreaming of cooking up an Easter feast in our  Victoria Street  honey-toned kitchen featured in the current issue of  Belle . . .

We’ll be dreaming of cooking up an Easter feast in our Victoria Street honey-toned kitchen featured in the current issue of Belle . . .

  . . . and then post-lunch when somebunny else is soaking the dishes, we’ll dream of sinking deep into the serenity of our Victoria Street guest bath. But shhhhh, it will be our  little secret.

. . . and then post-lunch when somebunny else is soaking the dishes, we’ll dream of sinking deep into the serenity of our Victoria Street guest bath. But shhhhh, it will be our little secret.

CHECKING OUT

Speaking of secrets . . . how about we get out of town and well off the beaten track? If we could hide away from it all next weekend and not have to share our chocolate haul with anyone, there’s nowhere we’d rather escape to than Casa Cook on Rhodes, Greece.

  Your poolside paradise awaits at Casa Cook Rhodes. The farther you go, the farther you’ll leave the crowds behind . . .

Your poolside paradise awaits at Casa Cook Rhodes. The farther you go, the farther you’ll leave the crowds behind . . .

CHECKING IN

But that would be terribly selfish of us . . . remember, sharing is caring!

So, perhaps we stay in town and re-live our childhood scavenger hunt days with a grown-up twist, as we adventure down the rabbit hole of Sydney’s inner suburb of Barrangaroo.

Seeing, sipping and salivating on all that the beautifully alive foreshore playground has to offer, I suggest we start at Smoke – the newest rooftop bar at at Barangaroo House.

   Smoke  has just been awarded Sydney's Best New Bar at the 2018 Time Out Bar Awards.

Smoke has just been awarded Sydney's Best New Bar at the 2018 Time Out Bar Awards.

  Make sure you dress to impress and match the stylish cocktails on offer at  Smoke .

Make sure you dress to impress and match the stylish cocktails on offer at Smoke.

Wishing every bunny a happy and safe looooong weekend.