Popped Up: Imagining The Future At Milan Design Week

This year’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile, or Milan Design Week for those with questionable Italian language skills, just concluded. We couldn’t be there, sadly (we were busy checking out the IABR in Rotterdam), but thankfully the rest of the design community was there to fill our blogrolls with reportage. Here’s a quick Pop-Up City take on some neat things that graced our monitors during a digital exploration of the Salone.

Ivan Henriques’ Jurema Action Plant was featured as part of “The Shepherds of Stuff,” an exhibition curated by the Royal Academy of Art in Den Haag. The Action Plant is a mimosa pudica plant attached to a highly-sensitive mobile machine that protects the plant from wayward appendages that might touch it, while also making sure that the little guy is sufficiently watered and fed. We’ve written before on how we can transform the city and its technologies into a huge planter: Henriques asks the reverse question of whether our technologies and urban spaces can protect nature.

Japanese architect Akihisa Hirata put together Photosynthesis, an installation made of solar panels and LED lights. Photosynthesis makes real and visible the process it names through sustainable energy technologies in the middle of a cloister at the Università degli Studi di Milano. The project is a seemingly organic demonstration of trends in renewable energy technologies.

Another light note: Moritz Waldemeyer, noted LED-enthused creative genius (see: the football supporter’s LED jacket) created a piece in which LED lights were programmed to flicker like candles. We love LED-lit artwork here, so this one makes our hearts smile. There’s a misconception that LED lights are somehow less capable of looking warm and like a conventional light bulb. This piece suggests otherwise, that LED technology can be used to achieve both aesthetic and practical concerns.