Photo: © JF Mailhot.
Created in January 2011, Milan is an industrial design company specializing in objects related to the art of living. Milan revisits classics - aprons, rolling pins, presentation trays, and Espresso cups - in a contemporary and refined form by using noble materials and the know-how of experienced craftsmen.
Tony Gaudette, the designer who heads Milan, grew up in the Italian community in the North Shore of Quebec. In the streets of his childhood he was immersed in a world where food and art of living well transcended everything else. Passionate about wood products, he spent eight years learning woodworking, and he himself crafted the first products of Milan. This talented creator of objects is also a Quebec college teacher for ten years.
Are there any designers who have inspired you in particular?
There are no particular designers, but many architects like Renzo Piano, Tadao Ando, Oscar Niemeyer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. I like their vision of sleek creations with minimal details.
Do your products have a concern for the environment?
The "Lorenzo" cutting board was inspired by the concept of the vacuum line of the architect Daniel Libeskind in the realization of the Jewish Museum Berlin.
Yes, we are concerned to use environmentally friendly products and wherever possible materials from Quebec or Canada.
Photo: © JF Mailhot.
How do you choose the artisans with whom you work?
First, the talent and then rigor. The quality ot my products must be consistent and finish must be impeccable. We also want our craftsmen work in healthy conditions. I visit the factories and plants and I established a friendly and professional relationship with the artisans.
Photos: © JF Mailhot.
A word on the names of your products; an apron named Patrizio, another Cristina, a rolling pin named Lena:
The espresso cup Lily, in lacquered cherry wood, is very original and refined. How did you came up with the idea ?
I named them like that simply to humanize my products, to extend the memories of my childhood. These are all the names of people I've known or that I still know.
I always drink my coffee in a china cup and wanted to meet the challenge of creating the perfect coffee cup size, but this time in wood. This is a project that has been very slow to develop and that needed a lot of research.Some new products in 2015?
Yes, two new ones are planned for the fall. One of them will be created by the Italian designer Carlo Trevisani.
The nicest compliment that you received for Milan?
What really makes me happy is to see that the brand and the products are recognized among designers, but also by the rulers or leaders Québec enterprise and beyond. Also, the Grand Prix du design won in Montreal in 2012 and the GrandesignEtico prize won in Milan, Italy in 2014 are for me the finest compliments I ever received.
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Florist, horticulturist and now ceramist, Isabelle Simard creates utilitarian objects where the emphasis is on color and shapes. Her strong and spontaneous gesture is a representation of the present moment as did the automatists.
She kindly answred our questions.