Clas­si­cally con­tem­po­rary

Alan Berten­shaw of Matisse on three lead­ing de­sign­ers

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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.

An­to­nio Cit­te­rio

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.

Pa­tri­cia Urquiola

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.

Ma­te­rial rich­ness

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.

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