Modular, Multi-Purpose Furniture from Milan Design Week

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No man is an island, or so said John Donne. But if the photo above is any indication, designer Werner Aissllinger might diagree. Meet Bikini Island, his collection of furniture for Italian brand Moroso, which debuted in Milan this past month. At first glance it looks like a hodgepodge of connected or overlapping parts, or what happens when you paint the walls and push all of your furniture to the center of the room. 

But look closer at the Bikini Island and it's a clever system of units that can be configured according to your needs, habits and particular space. Individuals can choose just the pieces they need, or families can occupy the same space doing completely different activities.

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Modular furniture isn't anything new. We've all seen shelving that can be added to or switched around as needed. These Tipi cushions by Laure Kasiers cleverly unsnap and rearrange to create different shapes of seating. Versatility makes it smart and convenient.  

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Taking it a step further, Polish designer Oskar Zieta showed modular furniture that fulfills multiple functions. This 3+ series of steel perforated plates can be used horizontally as office, workshop or dining tables, or vertically for displays and shelving systems or as magnetic boards. 

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PROOFF offers a similar solution for office spaces, providing the increasing flexibility that modern work environments demand. Their #006 sideseat includes a self-contained desk, cupboard and chair that moves with you.

Bikini Island takes modularity to the next step, grouping whole roomfuls of furniture together in one place. Both shape and function is up to interpretation. Can you see the appeal, especially for small spaces? Is it beautiful to look at, or merely functional? Can you see it in use, or is this merely conceptual?

(Images: as linked above)