Dutch design conquers Milan

Dutch design conquers Milan

Dutch designers, artisan producers and design agencies will present themselves with the event ‘Masterly – The Dutch in Milano’ in the centre of Milan during Salone del Mobile (9-14 April). At the fully restored Palazzo Francesco Turati the Dutch pavilion arises again with the best design and artisan craftsmanship the Netherlands has to offer.

The proportions and decorations of the late nineteenth-century palazzo are unquestionably some of the main features of Masterly and play a key role in harmonizing the content selected by the event’s curator and promoter, Nicole Uniquole.

Masterly looks at design from a wide-ranging perspective, one that includes highly innovative projects embracing the social, environmental and technological challenges of our time and also projects that make reference to or draw on the country's tradition in art, culture and crafts. These two driving forces of tradition and innovation are inextricably entwined and the story of both will be told to offer an exhaustive overview of contemporary Dutch production, year after year.

historical rooms Palazzo Francesco Turati

The guiding theme of this fourth annual event is a celebration of the 350th anniversary of the death of Rembrandt van Rijn. With the aim each year of making a further contribution to cultural dialogue between The Netherlands and Italy, curator Nicole Uniquole thought it would be interesting to draw attention to the anniversary that will involve many of the country’s most prestigious cultural institutions during the course of 2019.

The participants’ designs at Masterly 2019 draw inspiration, each in their own way, from the work of the great master, who was one of the leading artists of the Dutch Golden Age.


Bibi Smit © Annemarie Sabelis         Richard Hutten for Japth

Artist Roos Kalff, designer Melissa Peen and the company Forbo Flooring Systems have drawn inspiration for their palette from the colors of Rembrandt's canvases, while Bibi Smit, as well as being inspired by the artist for the colors of her blown glass pieces, will use a reproduction of the famous painting "The night watch" as the backdrop for her installation. Interior architect Karel Bodegom, struck by Rembrandt's ability to turn sensations like light and warmth into a tangible presence in his paintings, has developed an innovative ultrathin heating element in conjunction with three companies: Van Ruysdael, Dekton® by Cosentino and Heatfun by De Pillen Group.

Royal Delft

Other participants, including the students of the HMC Vocational College and companies like FritsJurgens and Royal Mosa, have found a common denominator running through both their own work and the artist’s paintings in the maniacal attention to detail and perfectionism with which they develop their products.

The source of inspiration for other participants was the 17th century, a period of extraordinary growth and wealth for the country that was clearly reflected in the art it produced.


Melissa Peen for Prades                          Studio Kalff

The medallions created ‘ad hoc’ by artist Carina Wagenaar are in fact allegorical portraits of two leading members of the Dutch aristocracy in that period.

The monumental fabric flower compositions that Linda Nieuwstad will be bringing to Masterly were inspired by a still life painting she admired at the Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague.

The ceiling installation presented by Marjan Veltkamp, consisting of modular sound- and heat-absorbing elements made of felt, is inspired by the domestic warmth and interior decoration of seventeenth century Flemish paintings.

The designer behind the name Eigengijs wanted to transfer the blue decorations on world-famous Delft ceramics to other supports and this is how the idea came to him for the cabinet he plans to bring to Masterly.

Eigengijs © Isabel Rottiers

Once again this year, visitors will be welcomed to the event in the Main Courtyard, set up for the occasion by the companies Borek and Moooi Carpets, which will transform the space into a big open-air living room. Brimming with colour provided by 15,000 tulips that Uniquole has sent from Holland each year and brought to life by a catering service, the courtyard represents the heart of the event. This is where various receptions will be hosted during the week.

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