Formations

  • Project facts
  • Client: Tarkett
  • Location: Milan
  • Year: 2019
  • Photograph: Staffan Sundström

Forms on multiple scales, echoes of archetypal design principles, a modern industrial material like no other and an iconic backdrop rich in history… welcome to Formations.

During Milan Design Week 2019, Tarkett has chosen to join forces with our studio to explore the creative possibilities of its new collection iQ Surface. Designed by us at Note, and supported by Magis, Formations is an exhibition that questions notions of scale, by taking architectural archetypes and turning them on their head. Owning the space of the historic Circolo Filologico Milanese, the installation is a celebration and homage to how design language can be twisted into new creative phrases.

Milan Design Week enables dialogues and narratives to be developed between concepts and their audiences. A starting point for new ideas, an inspirational springboard and catalyst for work to come. As one of the oldest centres for the research and study of language, Circolo Filologico Milanese is the perfect backdrop to spark discussion around the infinite design possibilities presented by Tarkett’s new homogeneous vinyl collection.

Formations explores the creative potential of iQ Surface, the new collection codesigned by the Tarkett design team and our studio with architects and designers in mind. Flexible, durable and sustainably sound, this new generation of industrial and creative surface material is equally at home wrapping around objects, climbing across walls and forming patterns in combinations. 

Seemingly small in the context of the great human architectural history, today it is considered a true and honest material, standing alongside more traditional noble homologues such as granite, marble or stone. If these represent the past, then vinyl is the future.

In light of this contrast between modernity and tradition, Formations takes archetypes of design principles and transforms them into oversized shapes and flowing forms that dress the different spaces of the historic Circolo Filologico Milanese. The installation uses iQ Surface in ways that aim to shift even the most stubborn of preconceptions about the possibilities of vinyl, seeing it as a design material with its own identity.

In the main hall, the high glass ceiling and open balconies of the Circolo Filologico Milanese create depth and shed changing light on colour blocking and hues of iQ Surface throughout the day. Formations of 24 assorted sized columns – the largest towering at 5m – challenge perceptions of the building’s architecture, space and volume, inviting visitors to weave in and out and forge their own path. 

Repeated geometric objects balance carefully atop of round ended columns, perhaps the greatest archetype of all, in a daring and playful construct that quite literally turns pillars in the history of architecture on their head by reinterpreting them with a contemporary twist.

The upstairs library is at the heart of the building’s history. Visitors are invitedto interact with a selection of archetype objects carefully curated on a 6×3 m open table – small prototype arches, curves, rings, cylinders, stairs made from a mix of contrasting materials that serve as samples and mini tools for visitors, architects and designers to examine close up, test and touch. Here, grid vinyl flooring exemplifies the collection’s creativity, with each square clearly defined by contrasting lines made from coloured welding rods. 

Two meeting rooms pick out the different colour hues of iQ Surface through a harmonious association of materials. The Magis seatings, combined with Desso carpets, the iQ Surface partition wall and table covered with iQ Surface, create a cosy and welcoming boudoir atmosphere that encourages discussion.

The collaboration with Magis

Two companies with a shared set of values and a design approach that pushes boundaries and challenges codes, Tarkett have chosen to team up with design brand Magis. A dynamic family-run entrepreneurial business with an industrial culture and a rich heritage of pioneering timeless products, the furniture brand works with a swathe of internationally renowned designers, to create quality collections that showcase highly functional and technological quality products. During Formations, carefully chosen iconic pieces – such as Konstatin Grcic’s Brut sofa, with its cylindrical back – echo the archetypal forms of the installation and reflect iQ Surface’s colour palette. With such design chemistry, Magis is the perfect pairing for Tarkett to communicate the full potential and beauty of its materials to a broader audience.