The week of the Salone del Mobile in Milan presents so many new and deeply desirable objects that it can be hard to know where to start. But this year the infamous cloud of Icelandic ash has made the choice easy. In a city already bursting at the seams (more than 300,000 visitors attend the Salone) finding a place to sleep for the extra nights became a major issue for many of us. As for escaping the city, within 12 hours of the first European airports shutting down, every rental car and every intercity train seat was booked. So: bed and car - without question the two most desirable objects in Italy at the end of last week.
Why this car? The designer Rolf Sachs, known for his witty and inventive approach to objects and materials, has done something of a Jackson Pollock on this limited-edition Smart, transforming it into a mobile work of art, which we saw cruising the streets of Zona Tortona throughout the week. "I like to add a twinkle in the eye and a smile on the face," he says. Just what we need for the long, slow road home.
And why this bed? Patricia Urquiola, a designer who rarely, if ever, puts a foot wrong, has combined her poetic and very feminine approach to design with the rigour and simplicity that characterises everything produced by Molteni (one of the greats of Italian furniture manufacturing). The lines are simply beautiful and the heavily textured fabric and "giant granny knitting" rug add a delicious coziness. This bed would be wonderful at any time - but never more so than when trudging the streets of Milan in desperate search of a hotel.