Original plywood panels were re-covered with zebrano veneer for the exhibition. These structures were originally used as seating for Men’s & Women’s SS 2009 and FW 2009 Fashion Shows.


Steel, MDF and plywood structure in top image was modified in terms of colour and lighting . The structure was used twice as a catwalk for the M & W 2011 Fashion Show.

Brussels-based design collective Rotor presented an intriguing exhibition during Milan Design week (which runs through to June 5th). Titled “Ex Limbo”, the event is held at Fondazione Prada on Via Fogazzaro, a space in which Prada have shown their fashion collection every season for a number of years. Rotor’s work deals in ideas of how buildings are used, and reuse of material, resources and waste. For this project, they chose to assemble and reorganise architectural and scenographic elements of Prada runway shows dating back to 1993, which had been dismantled and placed in storage.

“Every one of these shows features a spectacular series of carefully constructed new ideas. To communicate to the audience, these ideas require materialization. Beyond the brief moments of its meaningful existence, that embodiment acquires greater weight. From an idea turned into a form, what is left is just a physical presence” – Rotor.

Top – view of curved plywood panels from above. In the background are plywood podium structures placed at end of runways for accredited photographers. Bottom left – steel and plywwod podiums which were used as platforms for the audience at SS 2006 show.


Top right – pink painted steel sheets were used as a floor covering during the M & W FW 2010 shows. Bottom – benches made of green polyethylene foalm were used as seating for the audience during the M & W SS 2008f shows.

Standing there amongst the piles of curved plywood, carboard boxes, scaffold-like metal frames, giant pieces of foam, metal plates painted in hot-pink, large sheets of mirror… I tried to imagine how different each one of those elements would have appeared in their original state – you know, impossibly gorgeous and impeccably groomed Prada clad models gliding down the catwalk with the latest and coolest beats setting the mood and the pace for the evening, fashion IT crowd glancing at the clothes and looking positively bored (cause apparently that is what you are supposed to do in front row seats!), photographers’ cameras flashing as each model reached and pivoted at the end of the runway… And there I was, walking amongst all this stuff which was once part of glamorous and expensive sets, many of which were designed by none other than Rem Koolhaas & OMA. Yet out of context and reorganised into neatly stacked piles, everything took on a completely new meaning.

Despite essentially becoming nothing more than piles of waste, these objects maintained a certain beauty and a sort of regal dignity. Perhaps this was due to their spectacular setting, or bacause it was the closest I’d ever been to touching a Prada catwalk – I don’t really know.

But one thing is for sure – Rotor‘s critical analysis on the resources and use of materials became a well thought out, beautiful and intelligent exhibition.

Extreme love.


Entry to the exhibition at Fondazione Prada.


[All images © yellowtrace.]

About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

2 Responses

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    Oliver @ Sabi Style

    It is such an intriguing idea.

    I mean it is still the same stuff just in a different order. Yet in that different order the whole vibe & energy changes. It is just lying there waiting for another creative mind to come along and use it to create something magical – isn’t that what upcycling is all about? Very cool concept!


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