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Last Call for Entries to Ventura Lambrate

We are excited to announce our partnership with Ventura Lambrate during Milan Design Week, April 14 – 19, 2015.
We were extremely inspired by what we discovered at last year’s show and want to make sure our presence is front and center this year to bring you real-time reporting on the latest trends in design innovation. We sat down with the shows’ founder and art director, Margriet Vollenberg to share some background on the story and insights on this year’s exhibition.
This is the last week for designer entries so if you are working on some exciting projects be sure to submit your work.


VL _Warehouse_overview

TL: What is the story behind Ventura Lambrate’s beginning?
MV: I lived in Milan for many years and working at the Salone del Mobile sparked my enthusiasm to start something different there. In 2009 Margo Konings and I wanted to engender a new design district during the Milan Design Week, because we felt that within the hectic Salone del Mobile there was not really a place for more conceptual and experimental design. The Lambrate area, with its empty factories and galleries, was a very suitable location for our plan. The first edition we were able to bring together a great selection of 22 exhibitors, who were willing to move away from the established districts and take a leap with us into this new adventure.
TL: How challenging was it to achieve your goal?
MV: Before Ventura Lambrate was born, I worked together with different designers for years at the Salone del Mobile. I saw the potential of an event like Ventura Lambrate, but I was also very aware that it would be very tricky to earn a spot within this overwhelming circus. Our confidence grew when the designers we believed in and saw the same possibilities.
When starting Ventura Lambrate, the area was quite deserted, but the buildings had so much character. It has given the event the feel that we were hoping for – an elegant experience – a bit rough around the edges, with a bohemian festival vibe.
After six years of Ventura Lambrate I found that many galleries have found the way to the Lambrate district and despite the economic recess the area has developed.
TL: How did it feel to have such success with the first edition of Ventura Lambrate?
MV: Since we had already built a big network of press and design professionals we were able to reach out to a lot of interesting people to inform them about the first edition. But we were still overwhelmed with the success. It is motivating to notice that your vision is being reflected in such a positive way.

VL _Warehouse_Lodz Design Festsival_Nicole Marnati

TL: In which ways did you evolve this vision over the last 6 years?
MV: With all the editions we have done we still feel that it works best to show a big diversity of exhibitors. I have found that there is no competition between the different exhibitors. On one hand you have students who come with their academies and present their work for the first time on an international stage and next door labels like Diesel, Lensvelt or Mosa are bringing the visitors exciting installations. The mix and balance is what makes Ventura strong and distinctive.
TL: Share with us the most memorable stories or talents of the past years’ exhibitions.
MV: In 2013 the Dutch design studio Studio WM presented their work at the collective exhibition of 010-020. Back then we noticed their talent and were happy to incorporate them in the show. Nowadays I think I can say it is one of the fasted evolving studios I know, bringing great work. I can also give you a little scoop – we just confirmed their participation for the coming edition!
Another memorable moment was the presentation of Maarten Baas in 2010. For € 0,79 you could download a real Maarten Baas ‘design clock application’ for your smartphone. It was funny and refreshing.
TL: In 2011, international academies represented in Ventura Lambrate, the works of their students. How did you manage to bring together all these academies in this celebration of design?
MV: Over and over we heard the desire from academies to present their students’ work on a big international stage. For me it is a very logical step to show what is made by the newest generation of designers and provide the academies with that stage. Putting the academies together has also worked well because academies are non-competitors, it even creates a synergy of talent.

VL _Diesel_Photo Nicole Marnati

TL: How has the design industry changed since you first started?
MV: That is a hard question to answer in only a few sentences, but I think one of the major changes is the room for experimentation and the concepts behind the products in the design industry. When we started Ventura Lambrate that was a totally different story. Bluntly said, at that time you only saw products on sockets and we were pioneering in that way. I am really happy that this has changed.
TL: What trends to expect this year to emerge?
MV: We are now in the middle of selecting the exhibitors for the coming edition and one of the trends that is visible is a focus on color and material research. With the newest techniques, material and color can be modified in ways that we have not seen before. An example is the comeback of marble. We already spotted this material a few times last year, but this year the use of this stone cannot be ignored.
TL: This year’s Ventura Lambrate is getting close. What would you like to see from the new participants that you didn’t see in the previous years?
MV: The funny and great thing about my job is that even though I go through all the applications and select the exhibitors, I’m still surprised by the final outcomes. This year won’t be different – some of the most memorable presentations come as a surprise.

VL _Ventura Living Room_Photo by Claudio Grassi

February 5, 2015
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