Last week saw the biggest event in the interior & design industry calendar take place, the Salone del Mobile Milan Furniture Fair 2015. With many of the leading designers and design houses waiting until this event to showcase their collections it is a must-attend occasion for all those in the industry. The 54th edition opened its doors from the 14th-19th April, and saw over 300,000 visitors from over 160 countries attend. Showcasing over 2,000 exhibitors across 200,000 sq. metres of exhibition space, it is quite simply ‘the centre of the design world’, as Jasper Morrison explained to Dezeen.
From media influencers to renowned designers and prestigious buyers, the interior & design world’s finest tastemakers were in attendance. The LuxPad’s favourites share their highlights and the must-have trends from the industry-defining event below…
Katie Treggiden, Design Journalist
Eat, play… love Milan.
400,000 people and 2,000 brands flocked to Milan for the 54th edition of Salone del Mobile and the festival of design that has grown up around it. The resourceful design entrepreneur in the modern age is now committed not just to the creation of an artefact, but also to the communication, contextualisation and commercialisation of their ideas, said Tom Dixon in the run up to the fair.
For many, that meant entertaining the crowds, who are increasingly in Milan to be inspired by new trends and enjoy some time away from the office, rather than on serious buying missions. Dixon took over an abandoned theatre in Milan and put on a gig with newly formed rock band Rough, starring on bass, with Fab co-founder Bradford Shellhammer on vocals.
Nearby in the opulent setting of the grand hall of Palazzo Serbelloni, London-based designer Philippe Malouin had designed an 8-piece swing-set made from Caesarstone’s new surface designs for 2015. A lot of visitors had a lot of fun and it was possibly the most instagrammed event of the year.
The theme for the 2015 Milan Expo, starting on 01 May 2015, is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” so inevitably food was on people’s minds. The city’s design museum, Triennale di Milano kicked things off with an exhibition entitled Arts & Foods – Rituals since 1851. Another exhibition in the San Gregorio district entitled On An Empty Stomach examined hunger and lack in every sense – Fasted by Studio Dessuant Bone was a highlight.
Amongst all the glitz and glamour, there were designers trying to use design to solve some of the world’s problems. A key theme among these was the use of waste as a resource. Studio Joa Herrenknecht and Studio Nienke Hogvliet both presented products made from salmon skin leather– a by-product of the food industry. ReTree by Philipp Kaefer is a project moulding furniture from wood.
And finally, there is a really interesting move towards embracing imperfection. The Japanese call it Wabi-sabi and have celebrated it for centuries. It seems that the West is just catching on. RIVA 1920 were showing a table that made a feature of the usually discarded sapwood, while EY captured the imperfections of Ebony bark in resin. “The precious Ebony is a popular wood material used for high-end furniture, however its bark is disposed of during the process – its irregular shape making it hard to use,” said the designers. “We use resin to fill the irregularities of the wooden pieces, transforming them into objects that are both unpredictably beautiful and functional for everyday life.”
Leading Interior Designers Jordan Cluroe & Russell Whitehead from 2 Lovely Gays
Milan was full of surprises! Let’s start with color, our favorite! Black was the new black with black ash playing a major role and black glass or gloss furniture making an impact. Gold was in abundance with touches of chrome creeping in. Deep blues and forest greens were still present but reds, mauves and purples were the big surprise.
The massive marble trend of last year had expanded into new territory with colored stone, quartz and terrazzo featuring heavily, whilst Calico wallpaper were leading us in another new marble direction with their stunning marbled paper collaboration with BCXSY. Phillipe Malouins’ collaboration with caesarstone featuring bold terazzo was stunning and the opening party hosted by WALLPAPER was a sheer joy! A bank of swings all with caesaerstone seats were set in an incredible palazzo and with the cocktails flowing and the music pumping it was a real highlight of the show!
Something else that was seeing a come back was fitted, heavily patterned carpets. From Moooi’s display of incredibly intricate designs to Dimoire studios amazing show apartment, the jewel in its crown was the final room with Gold leaf walls and beautiful hand painted herons, which brings us nicely to our last trend.
Finally, and for us a big yes please, was the creature trend. Bosa exhibited a wonderful collaboration entitled “animalitalia” featuring Jamie Hayon and Sebastian Herkner’s stunning ceramic creations being a real favourite of ours. Animals, and other fantastical creatures were everywhere, from giant white gorillas, to families of climbing monkeys to rocking unicorns, animal masks and fantastical totems. It was the year of the creature. And we loved it!
Kate Wales – Senior Buyer at Amara.com
The Amara buying team had a wonderful time at the show and spotted so many fabulous trends that will be seen across interiors this AW season, but we have narrowed it down to our top three favorites everyone should invest in:
Bringing the outside in continues as an important theme for AW15. Creating harmonious spaces with accents of nature and referencing the natural environment was evident on many of the stands in Milan, either by using botanical motifs or with the use of natural wooden hues.
Copper was still very evident as the metal color de jour, accenting furniture and being used widely both as decorative and functional table accessories. Tom Dixon launched his new Melt lighting collection where the molten effect gave new life to metallics and Kartell unveiled their ever popular Masters chair in high shine gold, silver & copper.
Focus on Lighting
With 4 dedicated halls, brands were doing their utmost to outshine each other. Creating mood and art outweighed pure functionality. Highlights included Anglepoise who celebrate their 80th anniversary this year, quirky offerings from Seletti in the form of their new monkey lamps (these have just launched at Amara) and as ever, a great buzz around the Flos stand with new pieces from their wealth of design partners.
Gerard McGuickin, Design Writer at Walnut Grey Design
British brand Buster + Punch made its Salone del Mobile debut, presenting the world’s first superlatively designed LED bulb at Euroluce, the biennial exhibition devoted to excellence in the world of lighting (and part of the Salone del Mobile in Milan).
Visitors to Salone del Mobile face the somewhat unenviable task of navigating their way across a veritable maze of design products, prototypes, concepts and creations. As such, clever brands will strive to capture the attention of an eager audience by ensuring they are unique in their exposition. Choosing to forgo the often formulaic design trade show format, Buster + Punch made a ‘punchy’ design statement by surrounding its display with huge black velvet curtains, effectively building curiosity in the visitor. Parting the curtains, visitors entered a vibrant interior whose focal point was a breathtaking chandelier-esque curation of the new LED Buster Bulb. With a rocking DJ set and tactile product display, the Buster + Punch presentation was a wholly sensory experience.
In recent years, designer light bulbs have grown in popularity as design aficionados have sought alternatives to the uninspired, standard and typically vulgar everyday light bulb. Over two years in the making, the Buster Bulb is a noteworthy example of a light bulb imbued with a strong design ethos. It is individual, exciting and decadent and was, in this writer’s opinion, one of the highlights of this year’s Salone del Mobile.