Inside Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomades

Inside Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomades

Objects that remind us about the flight of imagination being the best form of travel and the possibilities of leather

As part of the city’s annual design week and on the side lines of Salone del Mobile Milano (June 7-12), the world’s largest furniture fair which has returned to its pre-pandemic scale after three years, Milan is dotted with design and art exhibitions. Among them is the 160-year-old Maison Louis Vuitton’s (LV) ever-growing design project, the ‘Objets Nomades’. Ten years this year, it displays contemporary and classic pieces of the collection at the Garage Traversi, a redesigned parking lot at the corner of Via Bagutta and Piazza San Babila in the Golden Triangle shopping district around the Duomo di Milano. The exhibition has been set up on two floors of the 60,000 square feet space even as the LV store window on Via Montenapoleone, the famous luxury shopping street, alerts passersby to something distinct and extraordinary coming up.


Meringue pouf by Estudio Campana.

The exhibition has been described as “a growing collection of inventive and functional furniture and other design objects inspired by nomadic life”. Each  object underlines LV’s ‘Art of Travel’ philosophy with the creative vision of different artists from around the world. The exhibit revitalises LV’s previous collaborations with Atelier Oï of Switzerland, Estudio Campana of the Campana brothers of Brazil and with Israeli designers Shay Alkalay and Yael Mer of the London-based studio, Raw Edges. These three houses have created fresh iterations of signature pieces that have been shown in previous versions of ‘Objets Nomades’.

It is the mouldability of leather as a material of design and how high design intersects with utility that appeals the most.

Over the last ten years, among the 14 artists and design houses which have visualised LV’s travel-inclined DNA include Patricia Urquiola, India Mahdavi, Atelier Biagetti, Andrew Kudless, Tokujin Yoshioka, Frank Chou, Nendo, Damien Langlois-Meurinne, Barber Osgerby and the Marcel Wanders studio.

The exhibits at Garage Traversi are drenched in deep, sharp colours which becomes a kind of a guide for the eye to travel around the place. However, once you pause to touch, feel or look closer, it is the mouldability of leather as a material of design itself in an ever-changing world and how high design intersects with utility that appeals the most.

Chinese designer Frank Chou’s ‘flowing sofa’ or the Signature Sofa, a piece known to design lovers for its outstanding seamlessness sits here as does Marcel Wanders’ famed Petal Chair with petal-shaped, bud-in-bloom cushions in calf leather. If the merengue poufs in different delicious colours by the Campana brothers show how finely leather can be sculpted, Atelier Oï’s Belt Lounge Chair and Belt Sofa (designed with leather belts that form the back of the seats), stand out.


Patricia Urquiola is among the artists who have visualised LV’s travel-inclined DNA over the past ten years.

Lamps, lights, flooring, the juxtaposition of materials and shapes create vivid interplaying textures. As the fashion and design’s world’s relationship with leather changes and the very idea of a nomadic life hits restrictions and challenges of an era forced to rethink worry-free, nomadic-spirited travel, ‘Objets Nomades’ brings home many thoughts. Some take you to the ever resonating “life is travel” and “everyone is a nomad on this planet” trajectory. Others lead you to question how leather will weather as a material of fame in the history of design when it is written from the standpoint of sustainability and planet preservation.

Which is why Iranian-French architect-designer India Mahdavi’s Talisman Table based on the “theme of chance”, first introduced to the ‘Objets Nomades’ in 2017, was a delight to chance upon.

Louis Vuitton’s ‘Objets Nomades’ has free admission. Garage Traversi – Via Bagutta 2, 20121 Milan. June 7, 2-6pm; June 8 to 12, 10am-8pm.

Banner: Objects on display at the Louis Vuitton ‘Objets Nomades’ exhibition in Milan.