For Milan Design Week 2021, Cambi auction house and Mr.Lawrence design consultancy partnered up to present CTMP Design Auction, a project which celebrates the most influential voices of the contemporary collectible design scene. Curated by Mr.Lawrence, the auction brings together 160 objects and furnishings by renowned designers of the moment – and Kaia is proud to be one of them. For this month’s journal, we spoke to Annalisa Rosso, co-founder of Mr.Lawrence, about the current contemporary design scene, how the consultancy came into being and what people can expect from the auction, which will also feature Lunar Glow, our new limited edition piece designed by Sophie Dries.
KL – Tell us more about you. What is your background?
AR – I am a design writer and curator with a strong passion for contemporary languages. I live and work in Milan and I love this city, but I am originally from a small village close to Sanremo. I am currently Editorial Director of the new digital Salone del Mobile.Milano project and previously I was editor-in-chief of Icon Design magazine and in charge for Domus website. I recently curated, among others, the solo shows of Valentina Cameranesi, Vito Nesta, Roberto Sironi and, together with Mr.Lawrence and Maria Cristina Didero, the first interactive digital exhibition of Objects of Common Interest, still on view on our digital curatorial platform PERFETTOOO! The last object I bought is a gift for Francesco: a pepper mill with a funny shape designed by Thomas Defour for 13 DESSERTS.
KL – What is Mr.Lawrence and why did you decide to form this agency?
AR – Mr.Lawrence is a Milan-based design consultancy, that I founded with Francesco Mainardi, design professional focused on strategy, brand and design management. We have worked together for the past 10 years, with the aim of bridging the gap between collectible and industrial design, merging our different skills and points of view.
KL – How would you describe the current contemporary design scene? What elements are designers focusing more attention on?
AR – We believe that the most relevant part in terms of research and innovation – aesthetic, function, materials – is the result of the independent work of designers, small editors, galleries, and other professionals driven by their own enthusiasm. This is an amazing moment for design, with so much to do! We work with both public and private international clients, and we noticed a special open-mindedness in recent times. We love the desire for dialogue and exchange between different approaches, countries, even industries: we collaborate with fashion and contemporary art projects too.
KL – For Milan Design Week this year, you are curating the CTMP design auction, can you tell us more about this project?
AR – The idea came during the first pandemic emergency we had in Italy, in March 2020. Milan Design Week was called off and many friends from abroad asked us how they can help the city, being forced to cancel their usual trip for Salone del Mobile. So, we organized in few weeks a charity auction called DESIGN LOVES MILANO, together with Cambi auction house and Camron PR agency, and it was a big success. We decided to go ahead because we realized that – both for vendors and for buyers – a curated design auction with a strong focus on the present time is a great occasion of connections and discoveries and it is a good time for making a point regarding the Contemporary Collectible Design scene.
KL – What was your criteria when choosing the designers and galleries for this exhibition?
AR – We do a lot of research, constantly. It is our work method. For that reason we have a deep knowledge of the market, we know the designers, the galleries, the curators and in general the vendors. So, the selection is the result of several years of scouting in the field of collectible contemporary design. We looked for meaningful pieces, focused on research and innovation, with an established position in the market established or a value in prospective, for the younger designers.
KL -What do you hope people think and feel when they attend? What can people expect?
We hope everybody – buyers and vendors – can activate a profitable dialogue and add something new to their knowledge! That’s what happily happened during the previous auction: a nice occasion for discovering new names, buying and selling amazing pieces, and building connections.
KL – How does Kaia fit into the auction? What is it about Lunar Glow in particular that embodies what you’re trying to achieve with CTMP?
We follow the work of French architect and designer Sophie Dries for a while, and we are very impressed by her work, her peculiar language. A mix of effortless elegance, lightness and balance. Delicate and very strong at the same time. We definitely wanted one of her pieces for our auction! And when we explained to her our aims to present a selection of design representatives of our times, with a new aesthetic and language, she proposed to us Lunar Glow, the chandelier she designed for Kaia. And we immediately say YES! We are sure it will be a nice surprise for collectors that are still unaware of this project, and a good reminder for people that already know it.
KL – What is your personal favourite piece from the exhibition and why?
This is a million-dollar question! We personally selected all the 160 pieces, so I can tell we love them all, and we value them all. But of course, each one at the studio has his or her own crush. And we are looking for the opening of the pre-bidding (from the first days of September) to place our offers.
During the Design Week some of the objects and furnishings will be shown in an exhibition set up in Milan, at the Cambi headquarters in via San Marco 22, open to the public from the 5th to the 18th of September 2021