Held in Milan each year, Salone del Mobile international design fair is the most important date on the world’s furniture calendar. Held in April, the 54th edition of the fair took place in the Massimiliano Fuksas-designed Rho Fairgrounds exhibition venue just outside the city.
Covering more than 230,000m², the Salone featured exhibitions, installations, product launches, showroom openings and parties created by many of the hottest designers and brands in the industry.
As in recent years, an eclectic array of trends and ideas were featured, reflecting the diverse needs and desires of an expanding design-savvy audience. But there are still common threads and themes to observe.
We noted that geometric patterns and raw, rugged forms are strong, often in natural materials like stone, wood and metal. Rich colours, especially jewel-like emerald green, sapphire blue and ruby red are prevalent, along with the palest and blushiest of pinks, often referred to as ‘Millennial Pink’.
Luxe sexy patterns and adornments, harking back to nostalgic periods like the ’20s and ’30s, were captured in modern materials and shapes. Glamorous and dramatic designs were often softened by insertion within easy, comfortable forms. Meanwhile, technology was incorporated into furniture and furnishings in clever ways, becoming intrinsic to a design, rather than ‘showboating’.
Here is a selection of Houses‘ magazine favourite pieces and installations:
Botswana brand Mabeo launched three new collections of furniture made by local craftspeople using local wood and waste metal from the construction industry. Serie tables were designed by Canadian designer Garth Roberts and feature visible hammer marks.
A bundle of balloons perched over four metres high above visitors’ heads in Milan’s Superstudio space. French photographer and artist Charles Pétillon scaled up his inflatable artworks for textile manufacturer Sunbrella, creating an artistic installation called ‘Connexions’. Ten huge interconnecting balloons were presented alongside a photographic series in which Pétillon placed balloon bundles in unexpected exterior and interior spaces.
Conduct contains lines of a new electrically-conductive ink, threaded between the protruding speakers and light boxes that form an interactive wall display. Designed by UM Project and Flavor Paper. Other techie highlights at this year’s fair included Singaporean designer Olivia Lee’s vanity table optimised for selfies and a tactile rug that helps you avoid walking into walls while virtual-reality gaming.
The 88 Secrets’ bar as well as a Stella coffee table and chair are part of a furniture and rug collection by Slovenian designer Nika Zupanc, for Scarlet Splendour, inspired by the 88 constellations in the universe – described as ‘a journey of love to the stars’.