THE BEST OF MILAN DESIGN WEEK
We reveal the top ve home decoration trends spotted at the Milan Furniture Fair and its satellite events across the city, and sit down with Munna’s founder, CEO and creative director, Paula Sousa, to discuss evolving furniture trends and homeowners’ purs
We reveal the top five home decoration trends spotted at the Milan Furniture Fair and its satellite events across the city.
This year, 434,509 decoration and design professionals from 188 countries visited the Milan Furniture Fair, which showcased 1,841 exhibitors. Attendance rose by 17 per cent compared to the 2016 edition, which featured the biennial Eurocucina and International Bathroom Exhibition, and by 26 per cent compared to the 2017 edition. The turnout demonstrates that the fair is one of the main drivers of the Italian economy and a global benchmark event, in terms of showcasing creativity, innovation and quality in the furniture sector. Here’s a quick look at the trends that will dominate the furniture market in the months ahead.
1 Designers embrace new technologies
In this modern digital age where technology permeates everyday lives, objects are becoming increasingly smart, whether in function or in terms of the manufacturing process, as we witness everything from a 3D-printed house and solar-powered furniture to sheets of soundemitting glass. Exploring new boundary-pushing ways of creating products is a collaboration between Ross Lovegrove and Nagami, resulting in the Robotica TM stool that can double as a table. It is made of PLA plastic and TPE, and mixes computational design and large-scale robotic 3-D printing. As for Yoy’s nextgeneration Cotodama Lyric Speaker, which looks like an artwork for the living room, it displays lyrics in real time to the song it’s playing for the first time on one screen through specially developed music analysis technologies, while the screen behind it contains two audio speakers. Elsewhere, Aectual proposes bespoke, sustainably produced 3D-printed flooring with terrazzo infill, available in any pattern on any scale. Kengo Kuma’s 6m-tall, spiralling and air-purifying Breath/ ng installation for Dassault Systemes is crafted from 120 hand-folded origami panels made of state-of-the-art The Breath fabric developed by Anemotech. It comprises a nano-molecule activated core that attracts and separates polluting and toxic molecules, and is able to absorb the equivalent of 90,000 cars’ worth of emitted pollution.
2 Sculptural seating lls interiors
With many companies proposing statement-making sculptural furniture with eye-catching, fluid forms, these contemporary creations are transforming our interiors into warm, inviting sanctuaries. Munna introduces the Margot Mid-Century Modern-styled sofa with geometrical forms that expresses an architectural feel, while Sawaya & Moroni welcomes Ma Yansong’s take on the traditional wooden armchair – with his smooth, organic Gu chair alluding to skeletal structures whose joints produce a network of sinuous forms. Citco’s elegant Volta bench by Zaha Hadid Design, with its seamless intertwined loops carved from a single block of black granite, reveals a dynamic calligraphic gesture, and Cappellini revisits Marc Newson’s legendary anticonformist Felt chair made from the bending of a fibreglass plate, by upholstering it in baby blue, violet or celadon leather for its 25th anniversary.
3 Lines break the monotony of furnishings
Whether radiating outwards in a sunray pattern or running parallel, vertical or horizontal, lines decorate everything from wallpaper and vases to tables and chairs, sometimes on flat objects and other times on circular pieces of furniture. Take, for example, Dedon’s graphic and lightweight Aiir chair by Gamfratesi whose slitted backrest provides the perfect balance between solid and empty space and evokes the image of a forest of birch tree trunks. Neri&Hu’s Lan collection of seating modules, cushions, dividers and rugs for Gan references old-style weaving looms, comes in indigo, and has a richly integrated surface of crisscrossing lines – all of which reinvent the sofa. Elsewhere, Glas Italia’s Rayures modular screen by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec comes in translucent glass with bidirectional veining, while GGSV’s optical illusion Dance Floor carpets for Gufram show curved and concentric lines.
4 Brands answer the call of nature
The decorative possibilities of flora and fauna are endless. Having long inspired designers, nature is back in a big way this season, as are materials in their pure, raw state, with wood, marble, stone, bamboo, rattan and even paper placed in the spotlight. Bart Joachim van Uden plays with perception in Romancing the Stone for Baars & Bloemhoff; he digitally printed Abet Laminati HPL and chipboard structures with Google Earth images of pristine landscapes, such as sand flats and riverbeds in Libya, to resemble the classical marble forms of Italian Renaissance palaces. Moooi and Arte introduce the Extinct Animal textured wallcovering collection in soft suede, metal foil, paper weave, raw jute or moire textile, which echoes drawings of forgotten species, from dodo birds to dwarf rhinos, their patterns bringing back to life animal fur, plumage or skin. The Knoll Grasshopper table by Piero Lissoni comes in a 4.5m-long, super-extended rectangular version with ultra-slim tops in unusual stones including Rosso Rubino marble. Riva 1920 presents the Gran Gusto oversized semiprofessional kitchen in solid wood and plywood by Marc Sadler, showcasing a central island made of a wooden slab cantilevered on a steel base, which hides stools that may be stowed away or pulled out.
5 Shine imposes itself in the home
In our ego-based society, we are like the Greek mythological figure Narcissus, who stared at his reflection in a pool and fell in love with it. Mirrors are popping up everywhere, as are glints of metal and other reflective and glistening surfaces, in which we can admire ourselves and the surrounding environment. Patricia Urquiola launches her first Atelier Swarovski collection, a range of flexible vases called Brillo made from an innovative, fluid metal mesh material covered in small crystals – giving the appearance of sparkling, draped fabric, and allowing each vessel to be moulded into different shapes for infinite possibilities. Exploring refraction, reflection, light and colour, Martens & Visser’s Holons are spinning objects composed of strips of material that capture the surrounding light and give the illusion of soap bubbles ready
to burst. Elsewhere, Edra’s Gina chair by Jacopo Foggini gleams and twinkles with its openwork, hand-embroidered extruded polycarbonate seat and semi-glossy black painted legs. Germans Ermics proposes the Frosted Ombre chair in acid-etched glass in tribute to Shiro Kuramata’s iconic 1976 glass chair, while Colourscape mirrors shimmer in the light, showing a palette of colours that merge into one another, as when day turns into night.
OPPOSITE TOP Installations were set up around the city throughout the week. LEFT An installation depicting the effects of climate change. FAR LEFT New trends were observed at the Milan fair booth displays.
TOP Crowds thronged Salone del Mobile Milano.
BELOW RIGHT Breath/ng installation, an air-purifying system. BELOW Cotodama Lyric Speaker.
Robotica TM stool. TOP Aectual 3-D printed flooring. RIGHT
THESE CONTEMPORARY CREATIONS ARE TRANSFORMING OUR INTERIORS INTO WARM, INVITING SANCTUARIES.
RIGHT Dedon’s Aiir chair by Gramfratesi. FAR RIGHT GGSV’s Dance Floor carpet for Gufram. BELOW LEFT Glas Italia’s Rayures modular screen. BELOW RIGHT Neri&Hu’s Lan seating collection.
The Extinct Animal wallcoverings call to mind forgotten species. LEFT ABOVE The Romancing the Stone collection features Google Earth images.
TOP LEFT The Knoll Grasshopper table comes in unusual stone materials. TOP RIGHT The Gran Gusto kitchen design has a slab of cantilevered wood as the island.
ABOVE & RIGHT Colourscape mirrors and the Frosted Ombre chair in acidetched glass. TOP, FAR RIGHT Brillo vases by Patricia Urquiola resemble draped fabrics. BELOW, FAR RIGHT The Holons installation comprises spinning objects that give the illusion of soap bubbles.