„walking sticks & canes”, Marialaura Irvine x Thonet at Triennale Milano

“walking sticks & canes” - Marialaura Rossiello Irvine x Thonet at Triennale Milano

During Milan Design Week 2024, the Milan-based Japanese designer Keiji Takeuchi presents “walking sticks & canes” at Triennale Milano (16-21 April, 2024). Showcasing designs by 18 renowned international designers, the exhibition aims to share thoughts on the subject, exploring it as a design object and highlighting its cultural importance as a historical sign of power but also an essential tool for many in their day-to-day life.

The Italian designer Marialaura Irvine approached Thonet to realize a unique walking stick that combines perfect craftsmanship with a very personal approach to the topic. For the Milan-based designer, the walking stick holds a special place in her family since it is an important tool and support system for her parents. The fact that their collection of walking sticks and canes evolves continually speaks largely to the relevance in their daily life.

„walking sticks & canes”, Marialaura Irvine x Thonet at Triennale MilanoPhoto: Miro Zagnoli
„walking sticks & canes”, Marialaura Irvine x Thonet at Triennale MilanoPhoto: Natalia Garcia

The walking stick, a tool for enhancing mobility, calls for meticulous design considerations including comfort, lightness, and ergonomics” says Marialaura Irvine. “Inspired by a simple yet poignant moment—watching my father secure a bag to his walking stick for his newspaper—the concept of a wooden stick adorned with a knot was born. This design, marrying the traditional with the practical, prompted me to collaborate with Thonet, leveraging their mastery in bending wood. Our longstanding partnership with Thonet has been a journey of exploration, a testament to our shared commitment to designs that are as simple as they are eternal.

Named “Gianni” after her father, the final object is a testament to Thonet’s long history and technical expertise in bending solid wood. The basis of the company’s success story was a new technique that Michael Thonet perfected in the 1850s: bending beech wood using steam and muscle power. The history of modern design began with Thonet. To this day, this technology is still used in the production of elegant bentwood chairs.

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