Credit: Courtesy of Henry Wilson

That Henry Wilson should debut his new collection Cast Impressions at the Aesop Brera store during Salone del Mobile – or Milan Design Week – seems a natural choice.

The Sydney-based designer has designed two of the company’s singular stores in between restructuring the way we think about furniture, product design and joinery through his award-winning A-Joint range of cast aluminium components that can be used to construct manifold iterations of tables, benches and stools.

In light of his recent appearance on the design world’s largest stage, Wilson spoke to GRAZIA about his latest body of work, his design discoveries during his time at Salone, and how they might impact on his practice hereafter.

The work
“For Salone, we created a collection of useful objects in collaboration with a local foundry near our studio in Sydney. They introduce the studio’s experiments with the possibilities of the 6000-year old casting process to produce contemporary pieces of singular form and lasting use.

The show
“Milan feels like it is going through a rebirth. There is an energy and positivity in the city that certainly seems to be more apparent than in previous years. Whilst the rest of Italy (and the greater European Union) seems to be struggling through some difficult times, Milan is emerging as a capital of creativity and commerce, leading the way in Italy and possibly Europe.”

Select pieces from Henry Wilson’s collection Cast Impressions, resulting from experiments with a 6000-year old sand casting process, exhibited at the Aesop Brera store during Salone del Mobile
Credit: Courtesy of Henry Wilson/Aesop

The Discoveries
“As the world’s references appears to shrink due to global connectivity a sense place has emerged in the manufacturing. Australia is a challenging place to manufacture – the objects we have created are imbued with a sense of place by the techniques of sand casting. Whilst not unique to Australia, it is an industry that is still very much alive in Australia, one which mostly services the heavy industry of mining and oil processing. The surface irregularities and imperfections characteristic to sand casting are embraced and celebrated in these new works

“My favourite Salone design discovery was the Lexus installation based around the philosophy of YET. The installation was conceived by Neri Oxman and MIT media lab. It was perhaps the most relevant and thought provoking show of evolving manufacture and conceptual thinking. Oxman and her team created a entirely new scale for 3D printing glass, creating a pulsating immersive experience in the Triennale museum. A good reminder that as designers we should be embracing technology, leading the way in new concepts of living and manufacturing.”

An installation created by Neri Oxman and The Mediated Matter Group, MIT Media Lab in collaboration with Lexus at Salone del Mobile
Credit: Courtesy of Lexus 

The takeaway
“Milan (and Italy in general) know how to host people. Coming from Sydney, where we are treated by the government like malevolent children, one can’t help but feel a certain level of respect and pride in the details of life. Try drinking a glass (actual glassware) of anything on the pavement in Sydney.

“For me travel is a vital component to an ongoing design education. Salone is a good place to ‘take the temperature’ of the industry.”

Tile and cover image: Courtesy of Henry Wilson/Aesop