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Salone del Mobile Centerpiece

2022 Mario Cucinella Architects | Design

Mario Cucinella Architects' "Design With Nature" explored the potential of materials readily found in cities to be transformed into more sustainable resources for the future. Envisioned as both a verdant, piazza–like space for congregation and an immersive educational experience, MCA designers entrusted Accurat with the creation of a majority of contextualizing displays. We leaned on visual modes of communication to effectively cohere the exhibition's many parts and to communicate its central thesis.

Challenge

Partner with world–renowned architects to construct Salone del Mobile's central space for congregation, exploration, and learning.

Solution

Multi–format data displays to provide structure for the entire experience and context for each component.

Services

Data visualization design; Brand identity design

Deliverables

Data art installation

Background & Process

Early renderings.

The Salone del Mobile is an annual design and furniture fair held in Milan. It's the largest event of its kind in the world.

The 60th edition in 2022 was the first in two years due to the pandemic. For the centerpiece, MCA imagined a gathering space that also served in form and function to educate visitors on novel solutions to environmental issues.

MCA designers contacted Accurat to conceptualize and execute the exhibition's primary mode of communication: two and three–dimensional displays that provided context for a vast variety of objects demonstrating how refuse generated in cities can be recycled and repurposed into sustainable materials.

To capture attention amid the bustle of the fair, we relied on visuals. With an original set of hand–drawn symbols, we conveyed to passersby essential info about materials in support of MCA's argument for rethinking cities as mines for eco–friendly production.

Outcome

Design With Nature's labyrinthine layout encouraged visitors to take a self–guided tour through its ecosystem, comprising objects made from items like single–use plastic bottles and polyurethene salvaged from footwear and furniture production. Each material display was accompanied by signage illustrating key facts, such as place of origin, relevant industries, makeup of recycled materials, and—conversely—recyclability. Information was synthesized into unique data portraits, meant for casual passersby to grasp at a glance.

Our original, hand–drawn symbology was ubiqutious throughout the exhibition—organizers even incorporated it into official branding.

In addition to these panels, we lead design and execution efforts on several three–dimensional installations.

A large–scale, circular timeline shows the evolution of sustainable thinking from 10,000 BCE to present day. Milestones in the history of design ranging from the building of Stonehenge to Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater to the publication of The Architecture of Trees appear alongside—and often in contrast with—concurrent world events including major conflicts and nuclear disasters. Constructed as a winding loop, the timeline is meant to be traversed, giving the effect of a journey through time.

Separately, we produced a data–driven "totem" stationed near the exhibition's entrance. Taking the form of a skyscraper, the installation illustrates the "anthropogenic mass," or weight of all human–made materials since 1900. A breakdown of these materials can be seen by horizontal delineations and differences in texture. Next to it, a shorter structure covered in greenery represents the weight of all dry life on earth. The difference in height clearly signals that human refuse has surpassed that of all life on dry land, establishing the scale of the environmental crises from the outset.

In total, the 60th Salone del Mobile saw 262,000 visitors from around the world. Design With Nature attracted guests with amenities including a restaurant, bar, bookstore, and ample seating for rest and conversation, all of which were created from sustainable materials (including orange and mango skin and fish scales).

Design With Nature was hotly anticipated and received organic press before and after the event, in outlets including ArchDaily, Wallpaper, and Architectural Digest.

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