On the standouts from Milan Design Week
Same same, but only slightly different. That’s how I felt about the trends (or lack of them) emerging from this year’s Milan Design Week. Maybe the greens were bluer and the pinks a little muddier, but, overall, trend-watchers can either rest easy or feel short-changed – 2017 looks much like 2016, colour-wise and style-wise. And strange as it might sound coming from a magazine editor, I think that’s a good thing.
Give me individuality any day. While I’m fascinated by the big-picture trends with staying power (open-plan, indoor/ outdoor, living zones, wet rooms, “green” walls), I’m no friend of the fad.Our homes are too personal and too intimate for the dictates of fast fashion.So I’m glad I don’t have to send you in the direction of a new go-to colour or a must-have shape.
For the first time in years, it felt as if there was respect for the unique, the bespoke and the original. What excited me most in Milan was the technology that allows true invention. 3D-printed glass and ceramics are as beautiful as they are exciting and baffling.And while you might argue that anything looks good in an 18th-century palazzo, Italian design studios, such as Dimore (dimorestudio.eu) and Studio pepe (studiopepe.info), were masters of curating furniture and objects to glimpse where past, present and future meet.And there was the sheer chutzpah of designers such as Tom Dixon (tomdixon.net), who fashioned his own shopping mall in the centre of town, and Danish furniture brand Fritz Hansen (fritzhansen.com), which, with the help of Spanish design maverick Jaime Hayon (hayonstudio.com), created Fritz Hotel, a cool pop-up hotel foyer complete with reception and bar. There were no rooms to check into, but it gave new meaning to Euro-vision.
And those not-so-trends? Scrolling through the many photos I took during the week, there was no shortage of dirty yellows, forest greens and a gamut of pinks from raspberry to terracotta. Marble seems a permanent design fixture, but this year it was rich, brown and deeply veined. There was quartz, crystal and malachite, and plenty of brass. Sofas were less modular, more linear.And there was a multitude of ceramics, grouped generously on sideboards, credenzas and shelves – time to dust off those op-shop finds and Year 10 pottery projects.
Whether it’s art on the wall or vases on tables, more is definitely more.The knack is in the curating.To be continued. Neale Whitaker is editor-in-chief of Vogue Living.