A report from SaloneSatellite


15 April 2014

The winners of the Design Report and SaloneSatellite awards have been announced during the Salone del Mobile in Milan. The Design Report award went to Sarha Duquesne and Levi Dethier for their Perimeter furniture collection, while the SaloneSatellite award was given to From Industrial Design for its Volta lamp.

The two awards recognise exhibitors at the SaloneSatellite, an event at the Salone where young designers are given an opportunity to exhibit their work. Around 700 designers aged under 35 exhibited at this year’s edition, which has in the past proved a springboard for now-established designers such as Stefan Diez and Daniel Rybakken, both of whom have previously won the Design Report Award.

Sarha Duquesne and Levi Dethier, both graduates from ECAL in Switzerland, won the fifteenth edition of the Design Report Award, a prize officiated by Design Report magazine. Duquesne and Dethier were recognised for their Perimeter desk and shelving system, simple ash board constructions that are quick to dismantle and customise. The award includes €7,500 prize money and the collection will be exhibited throughout the year in each of the seven international Blickfang design exhibitions .

“We started with the idea of using boards and what makes a board become a desk and a shelf,” says Duquesne, “Leon Ransmeier wrote an article for Herman Miller asking ‘What is a table?’, which really inspired us. We wanted to make everything extremely simple and to keep the surface as untouched as possible. We tried to work around the boards and used standard metal profiles for the shelf. It’s kind of reminding you of Ikea, but at the same time we are using quality materials.”

The Perimeter collection was the first time that Duquesne and Dethier had collaborated. “It all came together quite naturally,” says Duquesne. “As a general rule I’m more comfortable with small objects and Levi is more comfortable with structures. Levi is the one who says ‘This is going to work’ or ‘This is going to be unstable’. I’m more into the graphics and the details so we’re a good fit.” 

From Industrial Design – a collaboration between Manuel Amaral Netto, Cesare Bizzotto and Tobias Nitsche – won the €10,000 SaloneSatellite Award for its Volta lamp, a ceiling lamp that plays with the typology of the traditional fluorescent tube lighting. Volta is a simple extruded aluminium profile, but its use of LED strips mean that it may be used as a directional light.

Volta is suspended from loops of copper wiring that conduct electricity to the light, but the body of the lamp may be rotated independently from these cables. The light can be directed as required or, turned upside down, function as a source of indirect light.

“We wanted to go back to what Ingo Maurer used for his halogen lamps. He put two wires on the ceiling so he could suspend the lamps freely,” says Amaral Netto. “We were looking at a way of changing the whole mood of the room by changing the direction of the light. With Volta you can go from a work environment to a living environment instantly."

The winner of last year’s Design Report award, Poetic Lab’s Ripple lamp, is now in production for Austrian brand Lobmeyr and both of this year’s recipients are hopeful that the attention generated in Milan will translate into future commissions.

“Now that investors know we have won the prize they may make their proposals more serious,” says Duquesne. Equally, From Industrial Design have plans to produce a granite version of their lamp. “Immediately after we received the award there was a lot of communication about the Volta lamp which drew people to our other projects which is wonderful for us,” says Amaral Netto.

As with Duquesne and Dethier, all of the members of From Industrial Design are graudates of ECAL. The school also won the Milano Design Award, a prize awarded to the best exhibition shown during the Salone del Mobile, for its Delirious Home BA project. “I think ECAL's success is just a sign that it’s a hard working school that manages to motivate students to keep on fighting for their work,” says Amaral Netto.