This Future is Currently Unavailable: Isola 2024 Highlights

In its eighth edition, the Isola Design Festival explores hidden gems under a theme that seeks to prove the potential of collaborative, circular and sustainable design.

There’s a resounding emphasis on sustainability and a compelling call to action at this year’s Isola Design Festival. As an integral part of Milan Design Week, the eighth edition champions the theme “This Future is Currently Unavailable,” urging designers to confront pressing real-world challenges. Under this theme, Isola invites exhibitors to present forward-thinking concepts that intertwine innovation, sustainability, and craftsmanship, highlighting the industry’s potential for the future.

As such, the Isola Design Festival showcases dynamic collaborations with partners from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. This includes the exhibition “Routes to Roots,” developed for Tanween (Ithra Creativity Conference), the debut presentation of “Anatolia” in Downtown Dubai, and Designwanted’s own “Enhance” exhibition curated by Juan Torres, which focuses on social impact projects. For the first time, the district also includes Lampo Milano, an urban redevelopment spanning 40,000 square metres within the historic Farini railway yard.

In the spirit of innovation, the design festival also explores other hidden gems across the city, including unprecedented locations like Lampo Milano, WAO PL7, and Galleria Bonelli. Comprising three main hubs and five curated exhibitions, the eighth edition boasts a lineup of over 320 international designers and creative producers across 40 locations. Here, we’ve handpicked some highlights for you to explore and enjoy.

DANS by Ihab El Riz  @ Is One Life Enough?

Renowned industrial designer Ihab El Riz breathes new life into reclaimed materials, with a special focus on repurposed aluminium and surplus marble, which take centre stage in the collections showcased at (Is One Life Enough?). Among his creations are coffee tables crafted from excess stone, alongside a striking series of pendant lamps distinguished by their versatile design. The DANS lighting series features fixtures predominantly crafted from recycled aluminium, with their shapes and proportions transformed through the combination of various components. 

DANS by Ihab El Riz _ Future is Currently Unavailable _ Isola 2024 Highlights
DANS by Ihab El Riz

These configurations, whether displayed individually or in clusters, imbue the fixtures with a sense of vitality. Enhanced by carefully chosen colours, ecologically processed surfaces, and efficient LED technology, each fixture houses an intelligent control system that adapts to different settings and moods, providing optimal illumination ranging from cosy candlelight to clear daylight. Additionally, equipped with wireless technology, these lamps offer the convenience of smartphone control and adjustment.

Beluga by Polimair @ Is One Life Enough?

French furniture brand Polimair champions a return to the intrinsic durability of plastic with the Beluga Chair, a build-it-yourself seat made from discarded fishing nets collected in France. It offers a sleek and sustainable solution with its minimalist design, crafted from a single material, which is 100% recyclable. The monomaterial kit includes four pieces that can be effortlessly assembled and disassembled in less than one minute. And thanks to its ingenious design, it requires only one tool, which has been conveniently integrated into the seat.

Avoiding traditional materials like steel screws, glues, or wood, the Beluga Chair not only reduces waste but also lessens the potential CO2 emissions during production. This impact is further magnified by the user’s involvement in the final assembly, a clever feature that empowers individuals to actively engage with the product and contribute to its lifecycle.

Beluga by Polimair _ Future is Currently Unavailable _ Isola 2024 Highlights
Beluga by Polimair

Created for Nonconformists by Heilig Objects @ Disclosure: Design Studios Unveiled

During Milan Design Week, the Isola Design Festival has transformed an underground parking garage into an exhibition space titled “Disclosure: Design Studios Unveiled,” offering visitors an exclusive peek into the inner workings of various studios. Among them is Hungarian-German designer Daniel Helig and his eponymous design studio, which brings to life its philosophy of “created for nonconformists” through an immersive five-part scenography. 

Within this temporary atelier, five experience stations showcase select furniture objects, providing insights into the origin of Helig’s philosophy. Each one represents one of the studio’s core tenets: TIME, AUTHENTICITY, INTUITION, LIBERTY, and HAPPENSTANCE, offering visitors a sensory journey into the essence of the studio’s design process. Prototypes of the studio’s latest products are on display, including the beautifully minimal Ponti Table, and the Zehnfinger Stool, which draws inspiration from aqueduct architecture. Each one invites visitors to immerse themselves in experimental staging and performances.

Created for Nonconformists by Heilig Objects _ Future is Currently Unavailable _ Isola 2024 Highlights
Created for Nonconformists by Heilig Objects

Founded by Greek designer Myrto Grigori, Noiro Studio creates handcrafted pieces that blend architecture, interior design, and technology. At Milan Design Week, this approach is highlighted perfectly by the studio’s Cosmos collection, a series of portable lamps that draw inspiration from the doughnut-shaped universe theory. Handcrafted in New York City, these lamps feature a white matte shade crafted from hand-blown glass, symbolising the central axis and vortices of the torus. 

Powered by an efficient LED lighting system, these battery-operated lamps offer reliable illumination wherever they go, making them a must-have accessory for modern living. With an ivory braided cord and white rocker on/off switch, each lamp is designed to embody a celestial functionality. 

Cosmos by Noiro Studio _ Future is Currently Unavailable _ Isola 2024 Highlights
Cosmos by Noiro Studio

Interdisciplinary design studio YET introduces the Ripple Armchair, a sharp design with a bold cobalt blue colour. Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, this armchair embodies a perfect harmony of modern aesthetics and the rich heritage of traditional quilting, featuring a sturdy wooden frame, crafted from solid oak wood. Meanwhile, an additional seat cover is designed to breathe new life into the vanishing art of traditional Turkish quilting, hand-stitched from a luxurious blend of wool and cotton. At the back of the armchair, a clever, built-in magazine rack further accentuates the piece’s design for relaxation and taking a moment.

“The design is a reflection of an inner search for balance and harmony, combining the crafts of the past with the modern expression of the present, establishing a deep connection with the user,” says the studio.

Ripple Chair by YET Design Studio

Italian designer Giorgio Bena unveils a striking addition to his industrial-inspired Lockwerk collection, following its resounding success at EDIT Napoli 2023. Inside the reimagined quarters of the former Scalo Farini at Gallery Bena exhibits the Lockwerk Coffee Table, another piece rooted in steel craftsmanship much like the rest of the collection.

The Lockwerk Coffee Table proudly displays its inner workings – screws, bolts, and all those intricate connections typically concealed within furniture. Fashioned from stainless steel without any surface coatings, it retains the original tactile properties of the raw material and can be refurbished as needed to ensure a prolonged lifespan. What emerges is an aesthetic narrative that transcends the merely post-industrial, evolving into a realm of industrial classicism or even a subtle form of gentle brutalism. 

Lockwerk Coffee Table by Giorgio Bena _ Future is Currently Unavailable _ Isola 2024 Highlights
Lockwerk Coffee Table by Giorgio Bena © Marco La Melia

Dace Sūna showcases her mastery of space and light at Milan Design Week. The Latvian designer-maker introduces an ethereal collection of four lighting designs that demonstrate her mastery of neon light making. Called Helium, the collection is defined by the soft yellow-pink glow emitted by helium, a product of the nuclear fusion of hydrogen in stars like the Sun. 

Featuring organically shaped translucent glass tubing filled with helium gas, the collection offers a range of effects, from soft yellow-pink to blue, white, or radiant red. One design pays homage to the designer’s Latvian heritage by incorporating Latvian granite, while other variations showcase the interplay between the neon glow and materials such as aluminium and plaster.

Blurring Borders_ Helium's Transcontinental Journey by Dace Suna _ Future is Currently Unavailable _ Isola 2024 Highlights
Blurring Borders: Helium’s Transcontinental Journey by Dace Suna

Medaillon by Booabbood @ Routes to Routes

Infusing a contemporary flair into age-old aesthetics, the Medallion collection unveils lights inspired by the opulent beauty of Arabic jewellery. Proudly showcased by Beirut-based design studio Booabbod, this modern assortment pays homage to the geometric magnificence synonymous with these ornate adornments. Each piece serves as a timeless ode to history, capturing the intricate motifs and enduring charm of ancient craftsmanship. 

“By transforming these traditional designs into sleek, minimal forms, we offer a unique dialogue between the old and the new,” says the studio. “The collection is a testament to our commitment to turning everyday items into elegant, modern artefacts that resonate with the history and culture of Qatar and the wider Arab region.”  These floor-standing lights boast capsule-shaped metal structures housing an array of spherical lamps, casting a mesmerizing play of light and shadow—a captivating dance that echoes the essence of the past while embracing the spirit of the present.

Medaillon by Booabbood _ Future is Currently Unavailable _ Isola 2024 Highlights
Medaillon by Booabbood

TOFU by IAMMI (guest exhibition)

The TOFU collection by the innovative design studio IAMMI features seats, benches, and coffee tables boasting a fluid, amorphous appearance, which is surprising as they draw their inspiration from rocks. Pieces range in size and dimension, with some functioning as versatile benches or singular stools, while others feature subtle backrests cut into elements to create lounge chairs. Every piece exudes a unique texture reminiscent of natural rock formations. 

These remarkably soft-to-the-touch designs offer a unique tactile experience, meticulously crafted from upcycled foam rubber whilst their surface treatment gives the impression of natural stone. Through their innovative use of sustainable materials, IAMMI underscores the paramount importance of sustainability in the creative and design process, aligning perfectly with Isola’s 2024 theme.

TOFU by IAMMI _ Future is Currently Unavailable _ Isola 2024 Highlights

Around the Table by Masquespacio (guest exhibition)

Spanish studio Masquespacio immerses design lovers in a feast for the senses with Around The Table, an enchanting textile installation that melds fabric, form, and fantasy. Curated for Isola Studio, this table setting is presented as an immersive “dining” experience, which by day serves as a curated stage, showcasing an array of meticulously crafted tableware, including Mas Creations’ latest ceramic marvel, the Cilinder Lamp. The scene invites visitors to discover other collections by Daniel Van Dijck, Cosmic Latte and Pilgrim, until dusk descends and the space undergoes a metamorphosis, creating an intimate setting for exclusive dinners hosted by Isola in collaboration with Macaroni Event. 

Around the Table by Masquespacio - Future is Currently Unavailable _ Isola 2024 Highlights
Around the Table by Masquespacio


Open full width

Send this to a friend