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April 15, 2010

On our second day in Milan, we gathered our wits and plunged headfirst into Salone Internazionale del Mobile—the largest furniture fair in the world. Held at the Fiera Milano, the fair is packed to the gills with bustling people, pulsating music, and, of course, rows upon rows of exhibitors from all over the world. Sam, Jordan and I adopted a divide-and-conquer strategy, and went our separate directions for the day. I headed over to Salone Satellite, a separate exhibition space in which over 700 young up-and-coming designers display their prototypes, hoping to be discovered. With so many pieces, and so little time, I was only able to explore a small portion of the show. Nevertheless, I thought I'd share a few of the items that stopped me in my tracks.

A huge chalkboard marks the entrance to Salone Satellite. Pieces of chalk suspended by string hang from the ceiling, and passersby are encouraged to record their scribbles.
A huge chalkboard marks the entrance to Salone Satellite. Pieces of chalk suspended by string hang from the ceiling, and passersby are encouraged to record their scribbles.
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Pasadena–based designer Cory Grosser conceived the installation, which is entitled Tell Me Your Dreams. He was among five designers asked to create a public space that defines their home continent.
Pasadena–based designer Cory Grosser conceived the installation, which is entitled Tell Me Your Dreams. He was among five designers asked to create a public space that defines their home continent.
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One of the first booths to catch my eye was that of Guadalajara–based firm <a href=http://peca.com.mx/">Peca</a>. Peca, which is Spanish for freckle, is headed by Caterina Moretti. She and co-designer Hector Mendoza created this trio of wood fixtures, cal
One of the first booths to catch my eye was that of Guadalajara–based firm Peca. Peca, which is Spanish for freckle, is headed by Caterina Moretti. She and co-designer Hector Mendoza created this trio of wood fixtures, called Llum.
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3 / 14
A pair of attendees take a rest on Italian designer Paolo Ulian's Row bench. His installation, entitled "Europa", features a series of these metal pieces, which when bunched together create informal perches and when unfurled become colorful sculptures. Ul
A pair of attendees take a rest on Italian designer Paolo Ulian's Row bench. His installation, entitled "Europa", features a series of these metal pieces, which when bunched together create informal perches and when unfurled become colorful sculptures. Ulian, like the other four designers chosen to create public installations, was first discovered at Salone Satellite.
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Both Jordan and I were struck by the warm and textured beauty of this collection by Serbian designer <a href=http://www.anakras.com/index.php?/design/bonbon/">Ana Kraš</a>. She creates each piece—called Bonbons—by hand-knitting yarn atop a steel frame. Sh
Both Jordan and I were struck by the warm and textured beauty of this collection by Serbian designer Ana Kraš. She creates each piece—called Bonbons—by hand-knitting yarn atop a steel frame. She said she worked feverishly, day and night, to get these ready in time for Salone.
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5 / 14
A shot of the Salone Satellite floor. Over 700 designers were present, and many had traveled across the world to be here with their creations.
A shot of the Salone Satellite floor. Over 700 designers were present, and many had traveled across the world to be here with their creations.
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6 / 14
Another public installation, this one created by Japanese design firm <a href=http://tonerico-inc.com/">Tonerico:Inc</a>, featured a sea of 49 bentwood stools, each representing a different country of Asia. The shadows on the floor were cast by huge panel
Another public installation, this one created by Japanese design firm Tonerico:Inc, featured a sea of 49 bentwood stools, each representing a different country of Asia. The shadows on the floor were cast by huge panels of Noren, a textile often used in Japan as room dividers, especially in places of business. Diffused light supplied by a shaded lantern illuminated the curtains, which wafted gently above.
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Meet Rolf, an OSB (oriented strand board) chair by Malmö–based industrial designer Maria Gustavsson of <a href=http://swedishninja.com/products.html">Swedish Ninja</a>. The piece, along with an armchair and a bench, comprise her candy-colored collection,
Meet Rolf, an OSB (oriented strand board) chair by Malmö–based industrial designer Maria Gustavsson of Swedish Ninja. The piece, along with an armchair and a bench, comprise her candy-colored collection, called Forest in New Form.
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8 / 14
Chinese designer Junjie Zhang crafted this delightful chandelier of feathers, called Bloom, for <a href=http://www.innovo-design.com">Innovo</a>. To describe the piece, Zhang selected this quote by Chinese philosopher Laozi: "What is grand in the world ha
Chinese designer Junjie Zhang crafted this delightful chandelier of feathers, called Bloom, for Innovo. To describe the piece, Zhang selected this quote by Chinese philosopher Laozi: "What is grand in the world has no form to follow."
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The Eskimo Cabinet and Chair, by Swedish designer <a href=http://www.sigridstromgren.se/"> Sigrid Strömgren</a>. The bunched fabric covering the cabinet "doors" peels back to reveal shelving and is heavily padded in order to muffle sound.
The Eskimo Cabinet and Chair, by Swedish designer Sigrid Strömgren. The bunched fabric covering the cabinet "doors" peels back to reveal shelving and is heavily padded in order to muffle sound.
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10 / 14
Local Milanese firm <a href=http://a-rstudio.it/">A/R Studio</a> created this series of lamps called Firefly. As designer Antigone Acconci explained to me, the inspiration came from childhood, when she and her siblings would collect fireflies in the summe
Local Milanese firm A/R Studio created this series of lamps called Firefly. As designer Antigone Acconci explained to me, the inspiration came from childhood, when she and her siblings would collect fireflies in the summer and keep them overnight in jars. By morning, she'd wake up to find that her mother had let the insects go, replacing them with coins.
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I saw a couple people gleefully testing the swaying motion of the Rockaround, a bamboo stool by New Zealand designer <a href=http://www.timwigmore.com/">Tim Wigmore</a>. It features a hemp-covered seating pad and is finished with citrus oil.
I saw a couple people gleefully testing the swaying motion of the Rockaround, a bamboo stool by New Zealand designer Tim Wigmore. It features a hemp-covered seating pad and is finished with citrus oil.
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Design blog afficianados will recognize this bentwood-and-metal stool by Italian designer <a href=http://giorgiobiscaro.com/">Giorgio Biscaro</a>. Offset, as it's called, is no less impressive in person, and though it comes in black and white, bright yell
Design blog afficianados will recognize this bentwood-and-metal stool by Italian designer Giorgio Biscaro. Offset, as it's called, is no less impressive in person, and though it comes in black and white, bright yellow is definitely my favorite.
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13 / 14
I loved the sweet pastel hues of Swing, a bent-metal fixture by Japanese designer Atsushi Fujii of <a href=http://www.monochro.jp">Monochro Design Studio</a>. She, along with her partner Momoko Naito, presented work at Salone Satellite for the very first
I loved the sweet pastel hues of Swing, a bent-metal fixture by Japanese designer Atsushi Fujii of Monochro Design Studio. She, along with her partner Momoko Naito, presented work at Salone Satellite for the very first time.
Photo by 
14 / 14
A huge chalkboard marks the entrance to Salone Satellite. Pieces of chalk suspended by string hang from the ceiling, and passersby are encouraged to record their scribbles.
A huge chalkboard marks the entrance to Salone Satellite. Pieces of chalk suspended by string hang from the ceiling, and passersby are encouraged to record their scribbles.

Check out the slideshow to see examples of new designs, many of which debuting for the first time, at Salone Satellite.

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