LIV­ING

WHY YOUR NEXT COVETED ITEM WILL COME FROM MI­LAN DE­SIGN WEEK

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - by Neale Whi­taker Neale Whi­taker is ed­i­tor-in-chief of Vogue Liv­ing. See high­lights from Mi­lan De­sign Week at vogue­liv­ing.com.au.

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.

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