“The home of great ideas”, shrieked the posters and the press releases for the spring edition of the Macef international homeware exhibition in Milan. This was the first show since last autumn’s relaunch, which was intended to make Macef the key event on the European homeware scene. The big new idea was to display the goods in their settings and indeed trade visitors were offered new display areas and stands and a variety of events that focused on practical and ornamental products created for the home and the home-owner.
Sadly the event didn’t quite live up to expectations. Perhaps staging two shows a year doesn’t leave manufacturers enough time to come up with anything really new and exciting. Perhaps the organisers haven’t yet worked out exactly what they want from the revamped Macef. Whatever the reason, the scattering of new names and original ideas seemed unlikely to have much impact on a market as intensely traditionalist and unadventurous as tableware.
One thing is undeniable: it’s not easy to market the new products that regularly turn up at trade fairs in this sector. In that respect there were grounds for a degree of cautious optimism on the stands of certain manufacturers committed to innovation on the design and production fronts. One of these is Alessi, which having thoroughly explored the possibilities of plastic, is now turning its attention to the experimental uses of steel, a material that has not failed to stimulate the creativity of their designers.
Similarly, Sambonet got Rodolfo Dordoni to design an innovative saucepan set while the silverware company Sabattini turned to a younger but vastly experienced designer and companies like Covo have found a way to combine tradition and modernity in exciting new ways.
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 145