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Milan Design Week - a visit to the quirky Seletti and its new surreal lamps

Quirky Italian design house Seletti's store and showroom in Milan
Quirky Italian design house Seletti's store and showroom in Milan Copyright Copyright Seletti
Copyright Copyright Seletti
By Saskia O'Donoghue
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As part of Euronews Culture's coverage of Milan Design Week, join us as we take a peek at the Italian design house Seletti's ultra-quirky showcase.

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Ciao da Milano! Euronews Culture is at the Milan Furniture Fair - or Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano - all week, for its 61st edition.

The Design Week, also referred to as Salone, is the largest fair of its kind in the world, showcasing the latest and best in furniture, homeware and design from across the globe. Taking place at the enormous Fiera Milano event space, over 2,500 companies are displaying their products.

Running from 18 to 23 April, and attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors, we’ll be bringing you all the highlights from this huge event with a focus on new trends in design, stand out pieces and talents to look out for.

First of all, let's showcase one of the most impressive designer of the fair... Seletti. 

Copyright Seletti
The exceptionally quirky entrance to Seletti's store and showroomCopyright Seletti

The Italian brand may be almost 60 years old - founded in 1964 - but it’s still profoundly modern. As part of Design Week, the brand, known globally for its surrealist designs like its iconic lipstick mirrors, has created an immersive experience for visitors at its flagship store on Corso Garibaldi in the city centre of Milan.

It’s certainly a spectacle - a giant pair of legs heralds your entrance, complete with Seletti-branded plaster and a huge cat with a heart shaped bottom which doubles as an impressive lamp and charger.

Walking through the building, you’ll see many of Seletti’s iconic collaborations, including the famous TOILETPAPER designs, which include the lipstick mirror, Classics on Acid by Diesel Living and Antonia Arico’s Magna Graecia collection, a take on ancient Roman and Greek ceramics with a modern twist.

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The iconic 'Baroque Mirror', a collaboration between TOILETPAPER magazine and SelettiCopyright Seletti

However, it’s the courtyard garden to the back of the space which is the real star of this particular show. Dotted around are multiple monster-covered boxes designed by artist Gianpiero D’Alessandro, who has collaborated with Justin Bieber and Snoop Dogg among others. Inside these boxes are the new launches for Seletti from a number of established and up-and-coming homeware designers.

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Monster-covered boxes designed by artist Gianpiero D’Alessandro at Seletti's Salone displayCopyright Seletti

Long-time Seletti collaborator Marcantonio has a stand out piece on display inside the boxes - his Window Lamps. The archetypal windows, complete with white frame and clouds floating in a blue sky and surrounded by sparrow lights, have been formed into a bold chandelier.

Copyright Seletti
Designer Marcantonio's newly created window lamps, with his sparrow lights on display at SelettiCopyright Seletti

Also inside a box is La Palma, a new lamp design by Dutch duo Kranen/Gille. Jos Kranen told Euronews that the lamp was "a lockdown project" used to pass the time during the COVID-19 pandemic. The impressive light, shaped like a full-size palm tree, has never been seen before and, while it's currently for indoor use only, Kranen says they're planning to make it work for outdoors too with adjustments to the metal fabric and wiring. That's one way to shake up an urban garden look. 

Copyright Seletti
Dutch duo Kranen/Gille's 'La Palma' lamp in a tropical settingCopyright Seletti
Copyright Seletti
Dutch designer Tomas Schats' 'On-Off' lamps on displayCopyright Seletti

Dutch designer Tomas Schats is also featured at the Seletti showcase, with his On-Off lamps on display. He's an artist who puts illustrations into 3D, with an aim to "mislead the viewer in a subtle manner", as is the case with these house-shaped lights. To add to the quirkiness, the chimneys of the houses act as on/off switches to make a functional and whimsical design.

Perfectly timed to coincide with the release of this Tetris film, also on show at Seletti is the Tetris Mirror, a mirror designed by Giampiero Romano. Displayed on a background of the popular computer game, the mirror appears to be broken but actually fits together perfectly, offering an unusual take on the looking glass.

Copyright Seletti
Designer Giampiero Romano's 'Tetris' mirror in a fitting displayCopyright Seletti

One of the most engaging set-ups at the Seletti showroom is the circus, featuring lamps by Uto Balmoral, who keeps his real identity a secret. Each piece consists of an asymmetrical striped circus tent lampshade with a circus-themed figures, like a strongman and a burlesque dancer, at the base. Seletti says more lamp base figures will become available as their collaboration continues.

Copyright Seletti
Uto Balmoral's 'Circus Lamps' on display at SelettiCopyright Seletti

Perhaps best known as a tattoo artist, Milanese local Simone Falcetta's approach to his collaboration with Seletti was bound to be a quirky one. With his Diver Lamps, the designer has created two varieties of traditional tattoo art with the vintage diver image, but made them into a 3D piece which is as remarkable as it is practical. They'll go on sale - along with all the other pieces mentioned here - via Seletti in the autumn.

Copyright Seletti
Designer and tattoo artist Simone Falcetta's 'Diver Lamps'Copyright Seletti

The showroom on Corso Garibaldi is open to visitors to Milan Design Week until Sunday, 23 April.

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