WHY YOUR NEXT COVETED ITEM WILL COME FROM MILAN DESIGN WEEK
Neale Whitaker looks at the extensive influence of Milan Design Week.
Milan Design Week starts Tuesday and, if you’re a lover of all things design, I can guarantee you will be hearing a lot of the M-word over the days and weeks to come. What started as the fledgling Milan Furniture Fair way back in 1961 (aficionados still refer to it as Salone, in reference to its full name of Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano) is now the largest design fair in the world and one of the most significant gatherings of creative minds you’ll find anywhere. Think of Milan, Paris, London and New York Fashion Weeks all combined into one humongous carnevale, and that’s kind of what Milan Design Week is for the design world.
And if you’re reading this over your coffee and thinking, “Why does Milan matter to me?” – let me explain. Cast your mind back if you can to that witheringly incisive monologue by Meryl Streep, aka Miranda Priestly, in the 2006 movie The Devil Wears Prada, where she rebukes Anne Hathaway, aka Andy, for her naive ignorance of the fashion “cycle”. The one where Andy’s shapeless “cerulean blue” sweater is swiftly tracked from Oscar de la Renta via Saint Laurent, to the “tragic Casual Corner” where she “no doubt fished it out of some clearance bin”. Ouch.
Well, so it is with Milan Design Week. While furniture, lighting and home furnishing trends s might not filter down to the retail l floor – or the clearance learance bin – quite as quickly as fashion,i you can bet that what you’ll be seeing online or in-store by the end of the year will have started life next week in Milan. What shade of blue is the coffee mug in your hand? Italian design maestro Paola Navone probably created it. Those fluoro pink cushions? Undoubtedly inspired by the work of Dutch duo Scholten & Baijings. And the copper pendants above your kitchen bench top? Step forward British design guru Tom Dixon. In fact, pretty much every major trend of recent years – from marble and granite through to rattan, coloured glass and industrial chandeliers – can be traced to Milan Design Week. It’s a crucible for the colours, styles and materials that will influence our living rooms down the track.
So if, like poor Andy, you think you’ve chosen something “that exempts you from the design industry”, then it’s my duty to tell you that Milan probably chose it for you. Just call me Miranda.
THE ITAL ITALIAN JOB (from top) Moooi lights by Umut Yam Yamac featured at 2016’s Milan Design Week; pie pieces from last year’s design week (including thos those Moooi lights) at the Art Gallery of NSW; Milan-inspired Hermès dinnerware.