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JAPANESE CULTURE TAKES CENTER STAGE AT ITALY'S MACEF FAIR.

Byline: Sofia Celeste

RHO-PERO, Italy-Chopsticks and bento boxes may never make their way onto Italian table settings, but Japanese-inspired products produced by Italian hands made quite an impression recently at Macef, Italy's international home show.

At the fair, where Japan was heralded "Country of the Year," over 130,000 guests and 6,000 exhibitors participated in a mingling of Japanese and Italian culture Jan. 20 to 23 at Fiera Milano's brand-new venue.

At Richard Ginori, Italian architect Gian Battista Vannozzi exhibited

a mix of Italian artistry and Japanese intricacy with his Dandy line. Salad bowls and serving pieces were etched with Japanese floral brocade and gold-plated tweed patterns.

Vannozzi's Opera collection featured plates adorned with fiery red coral and gold and mother-of-pearl trim-providing an option among the showroom's Victorian and Rococo-inspired collections.

Borrowing the best from both worlds was Vannozzi's intention this year for his decidedly Japanese motif.

"Japanese trends are beautiful when it is mixed well with Italian style," Vannozzi said. "It's really great to mix the two cultures like a woman who pairs jeans with a South American poncho."

Rosita Missoni of Missoni Home debuted her 2006 tableware collection that provided a little zen for tabletops. Her Sunset dinner line created a koi pond effect with blooming passion flowers and copper-colored leaves embossed on bowls and plates with a mirror under-surface.

This year, Guzzini dug into its 1954 archive to produce its two-toned plastic Vintage kitchen accessories collection, reminiscent of grandma's baking set. The line is available in six calming colors, such as grass green and canary yellow, and includes everything from a plastic cake dome to a bread basket.

Product manager Emanuela Luccheti said the two-toned set's liquid contours and simple design were inspired by the growing Japanese trend.

Luccheti said the product line is the company's way of offering its customers a bit of tranquility in an age of economic pressure and global terrorism.

"The Japanese theme comes at a time during great chaos," Luccheti said. "People want to be relaxed at home and have a really tranquil atmosphere."

Lagostina is set to accommodate busy young professionals with its new gadgets this season. Its stainless-steel Clipso' pressure-cooker makes a meal possible with the click of a dial. In half the time of a normal steamer, one can cook vegetables and even meat dishes.

Porcelain gadgets fit for a cocktail party or aperitivo hour were displayed by Tognana, the Treviso, Italy-based company. Tognana's Party Collection displayed myriad serving plates large enough for roasts and small enough for wasabi. Its Happy Hour line includes hors d'ouevres plates with a crescent-shaped indent to hang a champagne glass.

Exhibition consultant, architect and designer Giulio Cappellini said the innovation and simplicity displayed at Macef was a result of manufacturers trying to accommodate consumers on a tight budget.

"Times of economic crisis are obvious to everyone," he said. "But by changing a few objects within a living space, one can keep up with the trends at little cost."

Caption(s): Rosita Missoni's newest line, called Sunset, is a fiery mix of coral and copper hues. / Tognana's Happy Hour collection taps into the entertaining trend with notched plates for easy handling at parties.
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Comment:JAPANESE CULTURE TAKES CENTER STAGE AT ITALY'S MACEF FAIR.
Author:Celeste, Sofia
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Geographic Code:4EUIT
Date:Feb 13, 2006
Words:530
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