photograph by Nicole Uniquole for Dutch Design Daily
The room with the walls (and the ceiling)
It took until crossing the Italian border for me to finally believe it would actually happen: House of Thol at The Dutch pavilion / Masterly Milano during this special Super Salone in September.
Setting foot in Palazzo Turati with our work situated in the most exquisitely decorated 'Sale Nobili' of the palace was amazing, even with two boisterous boys to keep in check and needing time to get used to the mandatory facemask again.
We quickly got accustomed to the decor and facemasks and as soon as Thomas and i finished the set-up, i jumped straight into exhibition mode. For over a week, i was part of the boardrooms' furniture from 11:00 till 20:00, presenting our products to design-lovers from Italy and the rest of the world.
In their 5th year at the Salone, the Masterly organization managed to attract attention of almost every large media outlet. During the week, Nicole Uniquole, 'Ms Masterly', would whirlwind through the exhibition to make sure everything would remain top-notch for her many high-end contacts. And tireless press tiger Giuseppina Flor was impressively fast and thorough with her press tours.
Floral facemasks & Sunny skies
There were times i felt like a broken record, telling the same story behind our Patera Magna to a gazillion different people. But with nothing but positive responses it was easy to keep the energy up and tell an enthusiastic story each and every time.
Luckily i got to spend my days in the palazzo in the great company of Fransje Gimbrère, Selma Hamstra, Geir Nustad and (for a couple of days only, unfortunately) Rive Roshan. What also kept my spirit up tremendously, was the amazing weather we experienced the whole week: nothing but blue skies and a lovely 28 degrees celsius.
The presence of our new French friend Judith, tasked to keep an eye on the room, made an enormous difference. With her ability to speak French and Italian (next to English), she often translated my story for Italian or French visitors who found it a lot easier to be spoken to in their native language.
As always, it was a lot of fun to connect with other designers and creative entrepreneurs showcasing their work, and we were super happy with the lovely floral facemasks we received as a gift from the sweet Twan & Cole of MondiArt.
Boys in the big city
While i was in the Palazzo, Thomas spent his days with the boys, homeschooling them and exploring the city or visiting Lake Como. He even took them to the Mediterranean beach for two days and treated me to pictures of palm trees and sunshine.
I worried our boys, being used to space and nature, would not be suited for life in a big city. But they handled themselves admirably, never complained about the facemasks and even almost managed to stick to the middle of the sidewalk next to the busy roads. They developed a love for city parks and spent many hours there, seeking treasures and blowing off steam in the playgrounds.
With the kids in tow, we did not get to visit parties or hang out in the bar after exhibition hours. But with the long hours in the Palazzo, i don't think i would have survived the week if it hadn't been for our early family nights.
Although the exhibition was still tainted by Covid, with mandatory facemasks, green passes to enter + a cap on the number of people allowed in the palace, everybody was mostly happy we were there and the design world was opening up again.