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More than a quarter-million visitors descended on Milan for Salone's 60th edition, and it was a triumph indeed.
The world’s most important furniture fair returned this year with all kinds of numbers attached to it: 3 years since they last held a full Salone del Mobile. The 60th edition of Salone drew over 260,000 visitors from 173 countries with 2,175 brands showcasing their new furniture launches.
It’s a feat, this fair, and its impact is felt throughout the city too: pop-ups and offsites and interactive exhibits blanket the city with Fuorisalone. If you’re not at the fair itself, you’re buzzing around the city (and its outskirts) to take it all in. Its immersive, thrilling and exhausting in the best way possible. Only during Milan Design Week can you have the fortune to have dinner beside one of the world’s best lighting designers (as I did with the delightful Lee Broom, who shared his bottle of Prosecco with me). Plus, daily gelato goals. It’s the best.
With that, here are some of our favourite launches, trends and amazing moments from this year’s Salone del Mobile and Fuorisalone.
It seems clear we could all use a collective hug—and designers are obliging.
Minotti wants us to re-think the dinner table, with Sendai’s curving bench seating designed by Inoda +Sveje. The line itself is named after Japan’s city of trees.
Molteni & C’s Cleo sofa still feels clean lined and ultra-modern, yet its curvilinear shell wraps around those seated. Designed by architect and creative director Vincent Van Duysen, the Cleo is a modular system with various elements to build the perfect sofa.
…as well as this gorgeous writing desk—aka D.847.1—a stunning re-release from Molteni & C’s Gio Ponti collection.
MDF Italia’s Cosy Curve by Fransceso Rota offers seats of different lengths and configurations—made for great conversation.
Local design heroes Bensen—approaching their 60th (!) anniversary next year—had quite a few stunning launches this year, and we couldn’t get enough of their Collar chair.
Barovier and Toso is a 700-year old (!) Murano-based lighting company that invented the process for lead-free crystal in its early days. Their new Magritte collection is designed to be a cloud of light and crystal— a surrealist new collection of chandeliers and wall sconces inspired by the work of celebrated painter René Magritte. It also seems to float mid-air, thanks to an innovative new ceiling attachment: surreal indeed.
It was all blues and earthy terracotta on the show floor this year.
Porro’s warm terracotta-coloured Metallico table was designed by Piero Lissoni and is made of solid aluminum.
Giorgetti’s Vibe bed features a removable, washable shell—and also embraces both the texture and curve trends.
Baxter’s new outdoor ceramic line, Keramiké, is a gorgeous shade of denim—ditto their Paola Navone-designed (and oh so comfortable) sofa, Miami Soft (below).
Flexform featured a double-hitter of both a lovely terracotta in their new outdoor line, Camargue (above), and a cozy denim in the new Ambroeus sofa from Antonio Citterio (below).
Scavolini released a kitchen design in partnership with Diesel, in that gorgeous shade of denim.
And speaking of a hug—fabrics are as cozy as they get, with textured bouclé and even sherpa-like textures on accent pieces were the name of the game.
Gervasoni’s Loll chair was designed with both visible piping—and cozy textured fabric.
Andres Reisinger and Julia Esque designed the Hortensia armchair for Moooi with a surface that literally blooms with petals.
While the main Design By Nature feature was a bit of a disappointment (a bit vintage sustainability—working with lily pads or salmon skins to make new material, rather than looking at bigger moves that still need to be made), a few brands did spotlight what they were shifting in the future.
Nanimarquina’s Re-Rug uses leftover wool from other designs: Every Re-Rug uses 1 kg per square meter of reworked wool.
Kartell reassessed its classic designs for recycled materials, like the Her Highness chair from Philippe Starck (below). The new ReChair by Antonio Citterio (above) in partnership with illycaffè, is is made from the recycled capsules of Iperespresso illy coffee, discarded during the perforating and packaging process.
The local design stars with an international following ANDlight found the perfect spot to in Milan to launch three new luminaires. Alcova, probably the most buzzed-about offsite during Milan Design Week, featured over 80 international designers setting up creative installations on the 20-hectare grounds of an abandoned military hospital.
ANDlight was set up in the Offcut Bar, in the institution’s former lavenderia, and designers Lukas Peet and Caine Heintzman’s modern forms offered gorgeous contrast to the wabi sabi state of the surroundings. (Both Heintzman and Peet are past winners of our Designers of the Year awards.)
I suspect Peet’s Column series light—positioned horizontally over the tables in the bar, in various modular configurations—will quickly become as much of a modern classic as the Bocci chandelier.
Heitzman’s Iris is an incredible statement piece, the glass dome of the oversize pendant light providing the iris-like effect on the LED within it.
It’s no surprise that the iconic Dutch brand that has delivered us both the Horse Lamp and the Pig Table would be all-in on something wild for Milan: and A Life Extraordinary was even more than thought.
Moooi creative director Marcel Wanders worked with design firm IDEO for nearly a decade to launch Piro, a robotic scent diffuser that opened the installation with a choreographed dance. And of course, Piro has a backstory: he’s a factory work who wants more from life, and discovers a Moooi store—where he undergoes a makeover, and dances it off.
I’m not sure there was a more moving exhibition at Fuorisalone than British lighting, furniture and interior designer Lee Broom’s aptly titled Divine Inspiration. Six new lighting collection launches—his largest to date—were inspired by places of worship, and he transformed the Blindarte gallery in Milan’s Brera district into a sensory experience on so many levels.
And I don’t think I’ve experienced another design exhibit like it. Each room had me audibly gasp as they were revealed (and I’m not regularly an audible gasper, or so I’d like to think.) Hail, a two-storey, floor-to-ceiling cascade of lights (above)—positioned over a mirror pool, giving it infinite reflection—is designed in reference to shards of light from the lancet windows of church archways.
Vesper brings in Brutalist sculpture and modernist cathedrals and was hung by the dozens in front of stained glass windows, pillar candles burning near by.
Alter, meanwhile was an ode to midcentury churches (with a hint of Frank Lloyd Wright), made from carved oak and nearly a metre long.
Most stunning are the hand-sculpted Requiem, an ethereal series of limited-edition pieces sculpted by Broom’s own hand in his London factory. Taking its inspiration from marble drapery on ancient statues, each piece appears to magically float in the space (nary an electrical connection to be spotted)—and only 15 of each of the four will be made.
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