A game of solids and voids, an attentive study of materials and forms and a design approach which operates by subtraction until it achieves the perfect balance between simplicity and elegance. The Mi storage units designed by Neri & Hu for Poltrona Frau play around with light, shade and transparencies to conceal or reveal the objects they house.
Mi is a
Chinese pinyin word with a dual meaning used to express both the action of
“looking” but also the word “secret”, which inspired this project. In fact, in
the Mi storage units, rather than being displayed in full view the objects are
hidden by the oblong external shell. You can only discover them by peeking
through a layer of tempered glass which closes the space left by the shelves,
raised and separated from the body of the unit.
The external surface of the Mi storage units is upholstered in Saddle Extra leather, which is embellished with an original vertical striped canneté texture that gives the product a 3D effect. A thin but solid metal structure frames the body of the product and acts as a link with the raised top in Calacutta gold or Nero Marquinia marble. The Mi collection consists of three elements: a tall 2-door Mi cabinet, a low 4-door Mi cabinet with book opening, and a Mi trolley on wheels.
The structure of the Mi storage units consists of a metal frame with burnished brushed steel finish which also acts as the base. The sides of the units consist of curved panels in poplar plywood while the bottoms and backs are made from birch plywood. To make them even lighter, the doors are made from honeycomb panels. The insides and bottom of the units are veneered in Canaletto walnut. The upper frame of the cabinet and the doors are made from solid Canaletto walnut. Both the two-door and the low four-door Mi cabinets contain shelves made of tempered glass with bronze finish while the top surface, also in tempered glass with bronze finish, offers a glimpse of the inside, like a display cabinet. The Mi High Cabinet has two doors which can be opened. Meanwhile, in the Mi Low Cabinet the 4 doors can be opened two by two like a book. Magnets maintain the doors securely shut. The structure has adjustable feet. The frame of the Mi trolley is fitted with 4 black plastic and steel swivel castors. In the upper part of the trolley the frame finishes with a tube in burnished brushed steel which follows the shape of the product and acts as a handle. One side of the grip is covered with Cuoio Saddle Extra leather matching the upholstery of the trolley, with hand stitching. The internal space is fitted with a tempered glass shelf which can be set at 3 different heights. The top is raised from the wooden body and can be made from Calacatta gold marble or Nero Marquinia marble. Both are available with a glossy finish to which a transparent polyester paint is applied to increase its surface resistance, or a semi-glossy finish for a more natural result. The exterior of the Mi storage units is upholstered in Saddle Extra leather printed with a canneté texture. There are four possible colours: Carbone, Cammello, Polvere and Corda.
|Neri & Hu
Mr. Neri received his Master of Architecture at Harvard University and his Bachelor of Architecture at UC Berkeley. Ms. Hu received her Master of Architecture and Urban Planning at Princeton University and her Bachelor of Arts in Architecture at UC Berkeley. Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu are the Founding Partners of Neri&Hu Design and Research Office, an inter-disciplinary international architectural design practice based in Shanghai, China, with an additional office in London, UK. Neri&Hu works internationally providing architecture, interior, master planning, graphic, and product design services. Currently working on projects in many countries, Neri&Hu is composed of multi-cultural staff who speak over 30 different languages. The diversity of the team reinforces a core vision for the practice: to respond to a global worldview incorporating overlapping design disciplines for a new paradigm in architecture. Neri&Hu are named Maison & Objet Asia Designers of The Year 2015 and Wallpaper* Designer of The Year 2014. In 2013, they were inducted into the U.S. Interior Design Hall of Fame. Their practice was the 2011 INSIDE Festival Overall Winner, won AR Awards for Emerging Architecture in 2010 by Architectural Review and one of the Design Vanguards in 2009 by Architectural Record. Other than architectural professionals, Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu have been actively involved in teaching and research. They have been invited to speak, exhibit and judge for many prestigious events and programs all over the world. Lyndon Neri and Rossana are also founders of Design Republic, a retail concept store based in Shanghai that offers a unique collection of products created by the world's best design talents, Besides award-winning architecture and interiors, Neri&Hu have designed products for brands including including Classicon, Fritz Hansen, Gandia Blasco, JIA, LEMA, MOOOI, Nanimarquina, Parachilna, Poltrona Frau S.p.A., Porro, Stellar Works, Wallpaper* Handmade, Meritalia, BD Barcelona Design, neri&hu, among many others. In 2015, Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu were appointed Creative Directors of Stellar Works.