Act II: Big Changes (and Little Bees)

Milan was abuzz as our second day began. The sky was clear and the sun was bright. Throngs of visitors lined the sidewalks; excited chatter filled the air; showrooms hummed with activity.

We started the day in the beautiful Poltrona Frau showroom where we connected with Henning Figge, President of Haworth International. (Sun filled the outdoor courtyard, but the cheerful weather was not the first thing you’d notice – that would be the black Ferrari parked proudly in the centre of the space!)

Leading a myriad of projects across Europe and Asia Pacific from his home base in Singapore, Henning is perfectly positioned to offer insight into the big changes rolling across the world of workplace.

First, we touched on trends. ‘The design mega-trend, I honestly think doesn’t exist anymore,’ Henning says. ‘There’s not one trend dictating direction in the world that everybody has to follow… Design has become more local, more reflective of ethnicity, of culture. And that’s something that I like – because in the end, it’s the plurality of different perspectives that make this world interesting.’

When asked what he hopes Haworth will be known for, Henning said, ‘Family. Family in many senses. Family of brands – there’s a lot of brands that are part of the Haworth family. Family in terms of being family-owned, being there for the long term. Also family in terms of feeling. Feeling at home, feeling trusted, feeling safe.’

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Next we travelled to the bustling Garibaldi Station where we met Claudia Zanfi. Among her many fascinating projects, Claudia is the curator of SECRET GARDEN, a cultural project that uses art to initiate a dialogue about urban ecologies.

An important part of that project is celebrating pollinators. One of the pieces displayed was an antique vase bedecked with a graceful honeycomb – and the piece was built by bees! ‘Actually, bees are perfect architects!’ Claudia says. ‘Gaudi created the Sagrada Familia inspired by the beehive.’ Look out for more to come on our chat with Claudia!

We ended the day with the ever lovely Sebastian Herkner. He spoke of all the amazing visions that can be seen in Milan, the ‘centre of design’. He fell in love with the city when he was a design student, and he is still inspired by the conversations he has here during Salone.

We ended the chat with some lowkey wisdom. When we asked what was next for him, Sebastian answered with a reflection on being satisfied in the moment. ‘To be satisfied with something is so important,’ he said. ‘To cherish it.’

What a day – Act II is complete!

Check back in for Act III: the Stunning, the Surprising, the Spectacular tomorrow!