Walking sticks & Canes at Triennale di Milano - Photo by Delfino Sisto Legnani.

Walking sticks & Canes at Triennale di Milano – Photo by Delfino Sisto Legnani.

Design – Today, walking sticks and canes are widely considered humble objects—often, they are even viewed with pity—but in the past, they have also been symbols of authority and power, as well as status symbols. Japanese designer Keiji Takeuchi tasked eighteen designers to rethink the walking stick. The result of such exercise was presented at Triennale di Milano during Milan Design Week and comprised a cane doubling as a vase, one inspired by a needle, and other ingenious takes of the traditional tool.

Walking sticks & Canes at Triennale di Milano - Photo by Delfino Sisto Legnani.

Walking sticks & Canes at Triennale di Milano – Photo by Delfino Sisto Legnani.

This research exhibition shows the limitless exploration potential of a universal yet understated subject,” says Keiji Takeuchi. “Through the examples by designers I admire, we wanted to share their thoughts on this subject and broaden our general awareness of this essential tool.” The exhibition was created in collaboration with the support of Japanese furniture company Karimoku.

BAMBOO STICK by Jasper Morrison - Photo by Miro Zagnoli.

BAMBOO STICK by Jasper Morrison – Photo by Miro Zagnoli.

Many designers experimented with materials; Jasper Morrison used cork and bamboo, avoiding the use of glue. Alberto Meda created a super-light carbon fibre walking stick.

LIGHTWALK by Alberto Meda - Photo by Alberto Strada.

LIGHTWALK by Alberto Meda – Photo by Alberto Strada.

Pierre Charpin dressed its design in gold, while Cecile Manz and Jun Yasumoto worked with anodised aluminium to create minimalist pieces. Keiji Takeuchi also created its own cane as well.

Some designers worked on multi-functionality. Hugo Passos integrated a wicker basket into his cane for collecting fruits and vegetables in the garden. Julie Richoz created a hollow stainless-steel rod that can also be used as a vase when you go for a walk.

CESTINO by Hugo Passos - Photo by Julien Renault.

CESTINO by Hugo Passos – Photo by Julien Renault.

Why keep the newspaper under the arm if your walking stick can safely hold it? Maria Laura Irvine teamed up with Thonet to design a wooden cane with a practical knot. Julien Renaults devised a curved handle that doubles as a hook, allowing you to carry a shopping bag. 

CADORNA by Julien Renault - Photo by Julien Renault.

CADORNA by Julien Renault – Photo by Julien Renault.

Functionality was the keyword for Maddalena Casadei and Anker Back. The designers integrated metal brackets so you can clip your cane to a table when you are not using it. Thanks to a screw mechanism, Alban Le Henry’s walking stick adjusts to its owner’s height.

THREADS by Alban Le Henry - Photo by Julien Renault.

THREADS by Alban Le Henry – Photo by Julien Renault.

For the most adventurous elderly people, Michel Charlot designed an Off-road cane with a larger base in case of uneven terrain. Chris Lijemberg Halstrøm took inspiration from needle and thread to create a minimalist wooden stick pierced with a textile strip. Henry Frachon’s design features tiny holes creating always-changing shadows during a stroll.

GIANNI by Marialaura Irvine - Photo by Natalia Garcia.

GIANNI by Marialaura Irvine – Photo by Natalia Garcia.

All photos are courtesy of Triennale di Milano.

MILANESE by Maddalena Casadei - Photo by Julien Renault.

MILANESE by Maddalena Casadei – Photo by Julien Renault.

OFF-ROAD by Michel Charlot - Photo by Michel Charlot.

OFF-ROAD by Michel Charlot – Photo by Michel Charlot.

STOK by Cecilie Manz - Photo by Cecilie Manz Studio.

STOK by Cecilie Manz – Photo by Cecilie Manz Studio.

PASSI D'ORO by Pierre Charpin - Photo by Keiji Takeuchi.

PASSI D’ORO by Pierre Charpin – Photo by Keiji Takeuchi.