Dezeen and MINI World Tour: in the first of a series of films recorded at the MINI Paceman Garage in Milan last month, MINI head of design Anders Warming explains the thinking behind the brand's presentation during the furniture fair while Johanna Agerman Ross, editor-in-chief of Disegno magazine, gives her opinion on the highlights of the world's most important design week.
"The MINI Paceman Garage is centred around how people act within a MINI community," says Warming (above), explaining why the presentation - set up inside a car repair garage on Via Tortona - included features such as a record store, a coffee shop, a barber and a cinema. "They end up talking about anything that involves their life. And that's why we have these different stations. It's sort of like the extended life around the MINI."
As part of our Dezeen and MINI World Tour, we set up a video studio within the garage, where we conducted interviews with some of the world's leading design authorities to get their thoughts on the week.
Agerman Ross of Disegno, our first interviewee, believes a key theme this year was the renewed focus on the official fair, the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, at the expense of the independent exhibitions that take place around the city.
"I have found in the last few years that going to the city and going to the independent exhibitions have been where things have been really happening and interesting,"she says. "But I feel there's a return to the reason why we're all here - the commerce of the fair, the wheeling and dealing and the showing off of new products by the bigger brands."
"Milan this year was more subdued that previous years, with the ongoing economic crisis clearly affecting many companies. This has led to a more pared-back and business-like week without the frivolity of previous years," says Agerman Ross.
"I think so. After all if the industry doesn't work, the other things can't happen either. There needs to be an economy and a network for these things to function. The designers and the brands need to make money in order to exist, and without a healthy commercial branch of design, the other things won't exist either. One supports the other."
"Everyone's taking a step back, trying to be quite precise in what they're putting out and trying to show products that seem quite close to hitting the market, rather than being just a product for show that won't go into production," she says. "It's a tighter output altogether."
The music featured in this movie is a track called Konika by Italian disco DJ Daniele Baldelli, who played a set at the MINI Paceman Garage. You can listen to more music by Baldelli on Dezeen Music Project.