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View of Junya Ishigami's furniture for Maniera

Six architect-designed furniture pieces at Milan design week

Zaha Hadid Design, Heatherwick Studio and Foster + Partners were among the studios taking part in this year's Milan design week, with starchitecture product designs including a plastic-waste chair and mesh furniture.

This year's edition of Milan design week felt like a return to form, with big brands sharing space with emerging designers and more experimental studios. Among the well-known names taking part in last week's event were a number of architectural heavy-hitters who launched new furniture pieces in Milan.

While some chose to introduce their pieces at Salone del Mobile, the world's largest furniture fair, others took part in creative showcases around the city – including furniture hidden in an underground stone building and a large-scale glass installation.

Read on to find out more about seven notable Milan design week products made by architects:

Chairs by Herzog & de Meuron
Photo is by Rui Wu/T-Space Studio

H&dM Objects by Herzog & de Meuron 

Upscale fashion store 10 Corso Como played host to the Capsule Plaza Radical Sensations showcase, which featured numerous design and furniture installations.

Among these were pieces from architecture studio Herzog & de Meuron's H&dM Objects. Six sculptural chairs and stools made from milled wood, were assembled without screws and covered in a glossy lacquer, represented the studio's contribution to Capsule.

The pieces were among over six hundred objects that Herzog & de Meuron has made for its architecture projects and which will be sold by the studio.

Magis chair by Thomas Heatherwick
Image is courtesy of Magis

In-Side by Heatherwick Studio for Magis

British designer Thomas Heatherwick's studio partnered with Italian furniture brand Magis to create In-Side, a collection that features a sofa, a table, cushions and a curvy chair made from recycled plastic that was on display at Salone del Mobile.

Magis used "a blend of part post-consumer recycled polyethylene and part post-industrial recycled polyethylene in multi-coloured flakes" for the construction of the chair, which Heatherwick designed so that it appears to have been turned inside-out.

Its white seat, dotted with colourful spots, opens up on the sides to reveal a paint-spattered design.

"In a world grappling with the consequences of plastic pollution, the idea behind this new collection is to use waste materials and reveal their inner beauty in an unexpected way," Heatherwick said.

Wooden Osuu chairs by Foster + Partners

Osuu by Foster + Partners for Walter Knoll

In the airy Walter Knoll showroom in the Milan city centre, British architecture studio Foster + Partners unveiled its seventh chair design for the German furniture brand.

Here, its new Osuu chair was displayed in a variety of different natural colours. The chair, made from steam-bent dowels and molded plywood seating, has a streamlined shape with curving armrests.

Seat covers in different leather hues can be added to create more comfort, as well as colour contrast.

Seyun furniture by Zaha Hadid Design
Photo is by DSL Studio

Seyun by Zaha Hadid Design for Karimoku

Japanese wood brand Karimoku continued its collaboration with Zaha Hadid Design this Milan design week. A dedicated space in the city's lively Tortona area was home to the Hybridisation exhibition of Zaha Hadid Design's Seyun pieces for Karimoku.

Among these were the Seyun chair, table and armchair, which was first introduced in Milan last year, as well as several new smaller pieces. These included a serving tray and a barstool.

The furniture and accessories come in natural wood colours and metallic hues and are decorated with distinctive openings.

"A crossbreed between Japanese woodworking techniques and contemporary design, items from the collection are distinguished by the materiality of wood and the distinctive design idiom of ZHD," Karimoku said.

Junya Ishigami furniture in garden space
Photo is by Jeroen Verrecht

Junya Ishigami collection for Maniera gallery

Japanese architect Junya Ishigami showed his designs for Brussel-based Maniera gallery in the gardens of Villa Bagatti Alsecchi, a historic villa north of Milan that played host to the nomadic Alcova exhibition space this year.

The architect's delicate mesh furniture was displayed in an unusual setting, with visitors entering an underground building, where the furniture stood on ivy-covered ground between narrow brick walls.

Ishigami's collection for Maniera was made from stainless steel, leather, rattan, glass and wood, and comprises dining chairs and rocking chairs as well as tables and lamps. Some of the pieces were originally designed for his House and Restaurant project, with other pieces conceived for his mother's house, currently under construction.

Array sofa by Snøhetta
Photo is by Thomas Pagani

Array by Snøhetta for MDF Italia

A playful modular design that aims to "reimagine the conventional sofa", Array was one of the product designs that Norwegian studio Snøhetta showed in Milan.

Made from an injection-moulded base and with a biofoam covering partly made from recycled materials, the comfy sofa also has elastic ropes that make it easier to replace the cover.

Snøhetta showed Array at the MDF Italia stand at Salone del Mobile, where plenty of visitors lounged on its snaking form.

Milan design week took place from 15 to 21 April 2024. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.