Reporting on this year’s Salone del Mobile for The LuxPad, Emma Jane Palin discovers the latest trends to emerge from one of the world’s most inspiring design events…
If there is one event the design industry looks to for inspiration, it’s Salone del Mobile Milano – Milan’s annual fair showcasing design and furniture from the world’s leading brands and designers. With the 57th edition taking place just last week and over 430,000 attendees from 188 countries, the fair has grown considerably since 2017 and continues to champion the latest in creativity and innovation.
As one of the first major trade shows of the year, the six-day long event acts a chance for brands and designers to launch new products and test out prototypes, depicting future interior trends and disrupting the current status of “what’s in”. For 2018, over 1800 exhibitors awaited visitors, each with a story to tell and only seconds to entice visually overwhelmed architects, buyers, specifiers and, like myself, press.
One of the main purposes of visiting Salone del Mobile, is to spot what’s coming in the interiors world. If you want a heads up of what the likes of Elle Decoration, Wallpaper* and LivingEtc will be shooting and writing about in the coming months, Salone is your best chance of getting ahead of the game. It’s fairly easy to spot the trends as they appear time and time again throughout the vast 24 halls, some ever so slightly more discreetly than others. Having done all of the walking for you (believe me, there’s a lot), I’ve picked out my five favorite themes that you’ll be seeing more of in the coming months.
More is More
Maximalism has been seeing an upwards spike in 2018 and from the look of Seletti and Kartell, the “more is more” approach is not going anywhere in a hurry.
Missoni Home showcased its ‘Horoscope’ collection which featured zoomorphic figures and geometric ideograms. Inspired by a set of boards Ottavio Missoni bought in the 80s, the contrasting bold colors against grayscale patterns created a stunning stand design and also earmarked the fluctuation towards more oriental-style design.
Kartell collaborated with Milanese designer and founder of LaDoubleJ, JJ Martin to clash retro patterns with its more contemporary designs. The flurry of color and repeat vintage motifs saw the collection go down well with the fashion crowd.
Last but by no means least, Seletti put on the usual maximalist show and exhibited collections in collaboration with Toiletpaper and Studio Job. The clash of chip flooring with pop art-style women and profanity-adorned cushions made for room sets that looked completely different at every glance. Other brands to note include Adrenalina and Sancal which both incorporated playful and novelty designs.
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Back Down to Earth
Shades and hues referencing the natural world were clearly big at the fair this year, with most stands opting for clay-like tones in some way, whether it be on the walls or via accents such as tables or ceramics. Sand, stone and clay are the main informants for the trend with terracotta and rust also playing a part in the some of the bolder designs. Paired with colors such as green and purple – which also reference plants and vegetables such as artichokes – the trend really comes alive, as perfectly demonstrated on Moroso’s ombre stand.
Diesel Living, Montana and Tacchini all mastered the look but added their own touches to distinguish themselves from the “new neutrals” colorways that we have been seeing in the last six months.
Arches appeared all over Milan during the week and architecture has been a clear influence on numerous designers. Some appeared naturally in the set design while others were incorporated into patterns or were referenced in product shapes.
Artist Charlotte Taylor collaborated with Italian brand Tacchini to create their architecture-inspired stand filled with curves and dome-like shapes and Satellite exhibitors Stoft showcased their products on a backdrop of inverted arches. Montana unveiled curved mirrors and Dante Goods and Bads launched an arch-like room divider designed by Christophe de la Fontaine.
Meanwhile in Satellite, where upcoming designers exhibit, Domenico Orefice Design Studio presented ‘Man de Milan’, a collection of furniture in collaboration with artisans from Milan and Lombardy exploring the history, materials and icons that belong to the city’s identity.
Orange is the New Black
Burnt orange has been a very clear favorite in terms of accents and was previously seen in accents at Salone del Mobile 2017. This year orange was taken to a whole new extreme with apricot and tangerine shades taking over whole room schemes – walls, furniture and matching carpets too.
Vitra created an amazing room set with a bold orange update to its Maarten Van Severen collection, combining a fresh satsuma shade with the simple forms of the contemporary furniture. Mixed with black lines and natural materials, the brand showcased the way orange should be done – without fear. Bavarian design brand Schönbuch also presented their designs against bold orange paired with shades of pink; the perfect modern look for millenials.
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The Geometric Bohemian
My favorite trend to emerge from the fair was one that I associate with my own style and have previously referenced as a lover of all things geometric and bohemian. The trend combines boho materials such as rattan and wicker with graphic shapes and bold lines.
German brand Dante Goods and Bads mastered this trend with their contemporary take, where warm colors and thoughtful materials combined to create everyday products that were both practical and pretty. Bold shapes emerged in the brand’s bar carts, rugs and room dividers but managed to remain versatile and tactile.
New designers Hanna Anonen and Tero Kuitunen both opted for a colorful take on the trend, pairing palpable materials with ambitious shapes. Kuitunen’s fringed ‘Boudoir’ mirrors were a stand-out for me in terms of product and the clever use of natural movement ensured they differed from similar outlooks.