Six designs to see at the Isola Design Festival 2021

Algae-based lipsticks and bacterial lampshades are on display at the Isola Design Festival, a six-month event dedicated to emerging designers and independent studios that culminates during Milan Design Week.


Organized by Isola design district, one of the districts that make up Milan Design Week every year, Isola Design Festival is a hybrid event that has been taking place since April as a digital festival. It will culminate with a physical spectacle during Milan Design Week, which begins tomorrow.

The platform was developed by the founders of Isola Design District in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which prevented physical events and exhibitions from being held in 2020.

“We haven’t given up,” said Gabriele Cavallaro, co-founder and CEO of Isola Design Group. “We wanted to turn a critical situation into a new opportunity, so we started a digitization process which led us to launch our organized online platform. “

“Our goal was to support the designers in our community through such a difficult time. Twelve months later, we can say that we have achieved our goal.”

A total of 350 designer profiles and nearly 700 projects are featured on the Isola Design District digital platform, a selection of which will be presented at the physical Isola Design Festival event during Milan Design Week from 5 to September 10.

The selected works explore experimental design processes “which may be related to the product itself or to its production process,” according to Elif Resitoglu, co-founder and creative director of Isola Design Group.

Here we have selected the work of six designers presented on the Isola Design District online platform that will also be part of the physical event in Milan.


Algalip by Eleonora Rombolà

Algalip by Eleonora Rombolà

Algalip is a lipstick made from seaweed by Eleonora Rombola. According to Rombolà, many commercial lipsticks are made from harmful petroleum-based chemicals. As an alternative, Algalip is a collection of lipsticks whose paste and packaging are made from seaweed.

“Microalgae can be a rich and sustainable source of various valuable compounds, which can be made into oil, butter and a range of colored pigments,” said Rombolà.

Algalip will be presented at the Materialized exhibition, Pastrengo 7, Milan.


Click by Zerocollective

Click by Zerocollective

Click by collective design Zerocollective is a series of sculptural furniture made with modular pieces in pastel colors. The systems are designed to reduce noise levels in the home.

“We are getting used to a new normal where our daily habits and our privacy are increasingly conditioned by the rooms available and the number of people we live with,” Zerocollective said.

“This novelty in the interior sector challenges traditional design standards and paves the way for less conventional proposals to manage the micro-spaces of our homes.”

Click is visible at the exhibition Playful, Young, Design, De Castillia 26, Milan.


Marecreo - Autarky furniture by Aurore Piette Studio

Marecreo – Autarky furniture by Aurore Piette Studio

Marecreo is a furniture project by the French designer Aurore Piette made up of raw materials found on the coast. Piette uses driftwood covered with natural plant material collected from a local nature reserve.

“Directly inspired by nature, Aurore Piette is developing a neo-craftsmanship by co-working with her close environment”, specifies Studio Aurore Piette.

“This unique collaboration between man and nature translates into an atypical vision of interior design.”

Marecreo – Autarky Furniture is available at the Nature’s Whispers exhibition, Copernico Isola building, Sassetti 32, Milan.


Luna by Studio Lionne Van Deursen

Luna by Studio Lionne Van Deursen

Luna is a cellulose lampshade designed by Studio Lionne Van Deursen. The studio cultivated the material from microbes using bacteria and yeast through a fermentation process.

“After the growing process, we experimented with different natural plant dyes and dyes made from fruit waste,” the studio explained.

“These material archives translate into a collection of fabrics with different colors, translucency and textures.”

Luna from Studio Lionne Van Deursen is exhibited at the Materialized exhibition, Pastrengo 7, Milan.


Slurp chair by Jean-Baptiste Anotin

Slurp chair by Jean-Baptiste Anotin

Slurp chair by the workshop of Jean-Baptiste Anotin Waiting for ideas looks like an oversized aluminum straw and is made of seven aluminum tubes welded together.

“The entire chair is polished several times to achieve its natural mirror effect,” said Jean-Babiste Anotin. “In addition, the chair is chemically treated, and finally, the purple color is applied.”

Chair Slurp is available at The Stage Four exhibition, Sassetti 31, Milan.


Sofa-19 by Tobia Zambotti

Sofa-19 by Tobia Zambotti

Couch-19 was made from discarded disposable masks and recyclable crystal PVC. It is described as “a modular iceberg-shaped pouf made with disposable masks collected on the street”, by the designer Tobia Zambotti.

Used masks were collected and then disinfected with a colorless gas called ozone before being used as upholstery for furniture. Its irregular shape ensures that the “icy” colors of the masks refer to an iceberg, “one of the most iconic symbols of global warming,” according to Zambotti.

“Italy, one of the European countries most affected by Covid-19, faces a big problem due to this kind of pollution,” said the designer. “The project brings this environmental issue to the fore in a creative way by involving residents and asking them to pick up disposable masks from the streets or store the ones they use on a daily basis.”

Couch-19 is available at the Isola Design Gallery exhibition at Sassetti 31, Milan.


The Isola Design Festival takes place from September 5 to 10, 2021 in Milan. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events happening around the world.


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