Alan Bertenshaw of Matisse on three leading designers
This year was probably the biggest crowd we’ve ever seen, with people queuing to get on stands. I’ve never seen that in all the 31 years we’ve been going. There was also a lot going on in the city and the three showrooms that stood out for us – B&B Italia, Arclinea and Cassina – were all within a few yards of each other on Via Durini. This little design hub was sensational for me.
The products at B&B Italia are all designed and curated by Antonio Citterio, who is our god of design. The ‘Atoll’ sofa system stood out for me – it blew me away and I think it will become a classic. He also designed the ‘Modus’ tri-fold door system for wardrobes with a mechanism that stacks beautifully. He’s an absolute genius at designing things like this. Citterio is also the art director for Arclinea, our main kitchen supplier, which also featured the door system. The company showed a new idea for a kitchen that can be completely closed off or opened up.
Another highlight was the revamp of the Cassina showroom, designed by new art director Patricia Urquiola. She did an outstanding job of the redesign, opening it up to a beautiful entertaining area on the roof.
Classics and innovation
When I’m at the fair, I look for what’s going to become a classic. I saw a lot of tan leather being combined with dark timber, such as the ‘Atoll’ sofa, but there was a general lack of trend due to the range of new ideas – a lot of innovation.
Intricate marble was a strong feature, with browns and reds and deep patterning. There were some really interesting stone-like textures and a resurgence of solid wood, such as Reva and Team 7’s textured timbers. Purples and greens were predominant in fabrics; everything looked a lot richer. There was a lot of optimism at the fair – it was a wonderful experience.
Above Alan Bertenshaw of Matisse at the B&B Italia store. Behind him is the ‘Eda-Mame’ sofa by Piero Lissoni for B&B Italia.