With nearly 3000 exhibitors across 230,000 square metres showcasing the very best in design to over 330,000 visitors, the annual Milan Furniture Fair is a favourite event for designers across the world – an event at which designers, manufacturers and fashion houses collaborate to showcase their latest trends and conceptual pieces.
The overarching development this year was timber, timber and more timber – in all its forms and formats and for both office and home. The tension between self-production and mass production was highly evident, with handcrafted, artisanal quality products prominent everywhere.
Major brands opened up their archives to extend their ranges and make simple tweaks to existing products, demonstrating a winning combination of traditional craftsmanship and clever technological innovation.
Colour-wise, the neutral tones that have dominated the last few years were strengthened by bursts of stronger hues, perhaps as a welcome distraction from the bleak economic climate. There was still a strong range of greys backed by muted tones of pink, blue and green – very Scholten and Baijings – but I was particularly drawn to the recurrence of mustard yellow as the shade to watch over the coming seasons.
Surprisingly, it was wall-hung storage that really caught my attention this year. Emerging time and again across the Fair, the emphasis was on beautiful, simple and convenient storage designed to streamline modern interiors. Guaranteed to be a very strong design trend in the coming months, the Cassina Nuage storage system by Charlotte Perriand was a stand out, must-have piece.
Other pieces on my ‘can’t wait to get my hands on’ list include:
minuscule™ – this formal chair and table designed for an informal setting by the award winning Danish designer Cecilie Manz beautifully demonstrated the informal and understated style for which the Scandinavians are deservedly famous.
The new lounge collection la Mise by Cassina – a sophisticated, snug sofa with soft, inviting cushion shapes adorned with highly decorative zigzag stitching.
Rocky by Marc Newson for Magis Me Too – a modern take on a traditional rocking horse, this pop version loosely takes its character from medieval jousting horses. Constructed from rotationally-moulded polyethylene that’s both durable and recyclable, its parallelogram motion mimics the movement of a traditional rocking horse.
Broom by Philippe Starck for Emeco– made out of 90 per cent industrial waste (75 per cent reclaimed polypropylene, 15 per cent reclaimed wood fibre and 10 per cent glass fibre), this new, brightly coloured chair is destined to be a design classic and a great example of how something wonderful, sustainable and functional can be created using discarded materials previously destined for landfill.