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Salone del Mobile: Trussardi / Michael Young

The Italian super brand unveiled its new furniture collaboration with the British designer during Milan Design Week

Upon arriving in Piazza della Scala design fans visiting Milan in the next few days will be greeted by a monumental installation made out of flexible aluminium modules called “Links”. The structure, designed by British designer Michael Young, wraps up in a minimalist yet strikingly modern way the statute of Leonardo da Vinci, symbolising the relationship between man and technology. Spreading like a virus from the square to Palazzo Trussardi alla Scala, the Links are also employed inside the building as background for the exhibition spaces dedicated to the pieces – tables, chairs, benches and stools – of the “Trussardi MY Design – 100 Collection”.

Established in 1911, the Trussardi fashion house diversified throughout the decades launching elegant bicycles and scooters for Garelli, restyling the passenger cabins for the Alitalia fleet, designing a Leyland Mini accessorised with leather bags, introducing a telephone that was awarded the Smau Industrial Design Award and even winning in 1985 the Portofino-New York transatlantic race with the 'Trussardi Parfum' sailboat.

The current furniture collection unveiled this week during Milan’s International Furniture Fair is very special for two main reasons: it celebrates the 100th anniversary of the brand while marking the beginning of a new collaboration with British designer Michael Young. All the pieces – in plastic or wood covered by hand in Trussardi leather – call back to mind early table accessories in briarwood and silver, while retaining the elegance and dynamism of Trussardi’s logo, the iconic greyhound.

Dazed Digital: Can you introduce us this collaboration?
Michael Young: We will hopefully unveil further items in future. For the time being and for the Salone del Mobile event we are introducing a few pieces of furniture that perfectly capture Trussardi’s spirit. They were the result of my studies in the fashion house archives where I looked at pieces made in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, including iconic interior design objects, car interiors for Mini and projects for Alitalia, trying to let their spirit live through the new range of solid furniture.

DD: What fascinated you the most about visiting Trussardi’s archives?
Michael Young: Visiting a museum is great, but it’s not usually a very personal experience. Visiting the archive was a personal experience instead since it allowed me to look into the life and work of many artists and creators who collaborated with the company over time. Looking at their pieces showcased on tables felt a bit like looking at displays in a museum or a large studio, yet at the same time I also felt the emotions behind each design, from furniture to clothes. I didn’t know that the late Nicola Trussardi contributed with his vision to so many objects of design, from boats to cars and planes. My favourite pieces are the Alitalia “Top Class” seats that featured amazingly fashionable upholstery. The “100 Chair” was in fact inspired by the Alitalia seats designed by Trussardi.

DD: Was there a specific piece in the archives you would like to rediscover one day?
Michael Young: The speedboat! That would be an amazing project!

DD: Which are your favourite products from this collaboration?
Michael Young: The chair since it embodies a new optimism in design while being the perfect example of Italian craftsmanship. In many ways all the pieces included in this collection mean a lot to me. As a designer I feel that my main aim is listening to what the people surrounding me have to say and then try to interpret their thoughts and feelings in my pieces. Designing for me is about democracy and I conceive the objects I create as the result of a collective collaboration.

DD: The pleated motif on the leather covering the pieces of furniture is your personal interpretation of the detailing found on the linings of Trussardi handbags from the ‘80s and ‘90s: in your opinion, are there any similarities between fashion and interior design?
Michael Young: So far we only explored the surface of the fashion and interior design connection, looking at decorative patterns employed to embellish specific objects. But this connection is slightly more complicated and should be studied in-depth, looking at ways to reinvent surfaces, textures and patterns. The potential of this collaboration with Trussardi is amazing since it may inspire innovative crossovers suspended between fashion and interior design. I genuinely think the key to a better and brighter future is a sound collaboration between these two disciplines as fashion reaches out to a higher number of people, but design is a great creative vehicle and can help us building beautiful things. 

DD: You are based in Hong Kong and at present there are amazing cultural developments over there: in which ways did the place you’re living in now influence this collaboration with Trussardi?
Michael Young: When I describe Hong Kong I usually compare it to a machine since the local people and their ability to make things have really turned it into a unique place to live in and create. I think Italian skills and Chinese technology will help us generating some great vibes and energy. The “100 Stool” is a perfect example: it’s made of plastic and ceramic and it’s covered in Trussardi leather, but it was inspired by the shape of Chinese lanterns. 

The pieces from the 'Trussardi MY Design – 100 Collection by Michael Young' can be viewed at Palazzo Trussardi alla Scala, Piazza della Scala 5, Milan, April 12-18, 2011, from 10am to 10pm