Design

A New Spring in Milan with Studio Swine and COS

Janelle Zara

COS x Studio Swine by MS 03
Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves.

Fresh off of another fabulous installment of Milan’s Salone del Mobile, one of the sights that stayed with us was “New Spring,” a multi-sensory experience by the intrepid designers of Studio Swine with the help of Swedish clothing brand COS. The London-based duo took over the out-of-commission Cinema Arti in a truly cinematic way, installing an almost 20-foot-tall recycled aluminum tree that blew mist-filled bubbles from its baroque-style branches.

As is typical to their practice, the form sprang from in-depth research into the location. “We were quite influenced by the organic shapes of Milanese Murano chandeliers,” according to Swine co-founder Asuza Murakami. (It also happens that these are handblown, like bubbles.) “In terms of what we wanted it to do, we wanted something like the Sakura [cherry blossom] festival in Japan—something contemplative, something seasonal, and something that brought people together.”

Throughout week, visitors passed through a set of black curtains and entered the darkened theater to don a pair of gloves. Part of the magic of these bubbles is that they could come into contact with certain textured fabrics without popping—at least for a few moments. And when they did, they released a burst of sweet, custom-designed scents: bergamot and jasmine, oak moss and cedar, and lime and bitter orange. “Flowers, wood, and fruit,” says Swine’s Alexander Groves, “the three basic elements of a tree.