Region: INTERNATIONAL

Salone del Mobile 2022 – A Review

If the world needed a sign that we are finally emerging from the last few years of restrictions and cancellations, this year’s Salone Del Mobile could be the event that marked a return to near normalcy.

The fair itself featured 2100 exhibitors in the 20 halls of Rho Fiera in addition to the myriad of installations and events at locations across the city. The design world used its downtime the last couple of years adapting to the “new normal” combining technology, nature, and refined elemental styles to enhance tranquility in the home by going back to basics.

 Kvadrat’s ‘Really’ installation by Patricia Urquiola at the Moroso showroom integrates materials made from textile ‘waste’ and sheds new light on creating balance between environments and nature.

Everywhere you looked, you saw technological solutions used to simplify and clarify rather than simply enhance. From Hansgrohe RainTunes shower technology that mimics the outdoors and nature inside the home to Extremis’ command of the outdoor space with unpretentious but incredibly functional furniture that would be almost at home indoors. A desire by designers to return to the elements was apparent throughout the exhibition spaces. Evergreen themes of nature and sustainability were blended with traditional methods and the latest technology to create a sort of eco-utopian vibe.

Extremis’s well-placed and outdoorsy installation was full of natural light and their multifunctional and social outdoor furniture. Each of the pieces showcased were as functional as they were stylish. The staff served beers to patrons who looked as if they were at a Belgian cookout in rural West Flanders where the company was born. No one was in a hurry to leave, a reaction that is sure to please a company based on bringing folks together with “tools for togetherness”.

Spanish fashion brand Loewe embodied this contrast in their spectacular display at Palazzo Isimbardi called “Weave, Restore, Renew.” Raincoat sculptures made with a weaving technique from Galecia called coroza were accompanied by some 240 baskets from across the globe. Young Soon Lee, a finalist for the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize, added her own collection of traditional woven Korean jiseung bags to round things out.

If there was one brand who really exemplified the trend of technology being used to simplify and enhance tranquility in the home it might be Hansgrohe. The brand’s RainTunes shower promises a “digital shower experience with integrated sceneries.” The brand combines haptic and natural materials giving the installation the feeling of a health and wellness spa even in an exhibition space — just imagine one in your home. Truly futuristic bathroom vibes from the German maker.

Designers had a desire to return to the elements as evergreen themes of nature and sustainability were blended with traditional methods and the latest technology to create a sort of eco-utopian vibe.

Vondom’s latest creations at Salone del Mobile 2022 and Milan Design Week; The Nature of Design, a section dedicated towards  natural creation

Unexpectedly, first time exhibitor Kohler made a huge splash with a collaboration with artist Daniel Arsham. Despite having never exhibited at Salone before, the American company received the Audience Award for Arsham’s ‘Divided Layers’, besting the 20 or so memorable installations and events nominated at Salone and Fuorisalone.

‘Divided Layers’ was Inspired by Rock.01, their co-designed and 3D-printed sink. The massive installation created a scaled-up portal leading to the inside of the sink. White, layered vertical panels formed a tunnel in which guests could enter to take their best photo for social media. A reflecting pool along the catwalk offered truly viral views, especially after dark. Set in the historic Palazzo del Senato the installation was the talk of Salone and toast of social media where patrons posted their otherworldly foray into 3D portal.

“This (3D printing) technology is in its infancy,” says Ashram. “It’s still rudimentary at this point, so it’s a good time for me to come in. Even so, there’s no way I could cast these shapes and this form without Kohler’s technology. It just couldn’t be done.”

Of the 20 or so installations and events hosted at Salone and Fuorisalone, the Audience Award was given to ‘Divided Layers’ by Kohler and American artist Daniel Arsham. Inspired by Rock.01, a co-designed and 3D-printed sink, the massive installation created a scaled-up portal leading to the inside of the sink. White vertical panels formed a tunnel in which guests could enter to take their best photo for socials. The reflecting pool along the catwalk offered truly viral views, especially after dark. Set in the historic Palazzo del Senato the installation was the talk of Salone and toast of social media. Bravo Kohler!
An exclusive installation  by kreon titled ‘The Circle of Stone’

At Salone del Mobile 2022, Arper is asking the question, “How do we want to live?” with its theme entitled ‘The Project of Living’. Their iconic Juno chair, designed a decade ago by British designer James Irvine has been reimagined as the Juno 02, using sustainable material and a new, naturalistic color palette.

The installation was draped in simple white cloth, tempting the passersby to enter and follow the labyrinth of the showroom. Inside the line-up of timeless furniture was revealed one’s own movement through the space, translucent cloth offering hints as guests enter each gently stylized room.

Arper’s options for ‘living’ at Salone del Mobile 2022

Artimede’s exciting collaboration with BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) saw their installation adorned in wall-mounted, illuminated letters using an original typeface. Each letter was bonded together by invisible (when lit-up) electromagnetic joints which allows for any almost shape one could think of to be created.

Artemide’s collaboration with Bjarke Ingels Group

In this edition of the Salone del Mobile, the Hansgrohe Group was dedicated to emotionality and stimulation of the senses: centered on the theme of environmental sustainability and on new digital technologies. Over half of the brand’s exhibition space was dedicated to their luxury brand AXOR, which has been refreshed with an exclusive pastel color palette curated by Barber Osgerby for the AXOR One tap collection.

Ideal Standard’s Frederick Trzcinski, VP Marketing & Innovation in Middle East Africa, tells us about Ideal Standard’s history with design since the fifties, working with famous designers even then. For the past two years the brand has been working hand in hand with Roberto Palomba and their latest collections and products were on display at Salone for the first time ever at the Ideal Standard booth.

Ideal Standard in Milan at Salone 2022

Caimi’s playful and colorful installation features “IDEAS, THING Snowsound Art” a group of Snowsound Art sound-absorbing panels designed by Alessandro Mendini. Caimi describes the project as, “A way of interpreting art not just as a unique creation that can’t be repeated, but as a form of beauty that can be reproduced on serial objects. Art isn’t just to be contemplated. It is to be enjoyed as well.”

Caimi Brevetti at Salone 2022

Overall, the mood of this year’s Salone Del Mobile was a calm yet vibrant one. The exhibitions were filled with new ideas by makers clearly focused on the new normal, while also allowing as much of a return to normal as possible.

After years of setback and restrictions, the crowds of smiling faces returned to Milan and really cut loose, making for one of the most successful (and enjoyable) Salone Del Mobile editions in recent memory.

At the newly designed stand, the House of Geberit, visitors learnt about innovations, such as Geberit ONE, the revised complete bathroom series Geberit Acanto, or the shower toilet portfolio Geberit AquaClean; Porcelanosa was the elected brand by Tile of Spain this year, proudly displaying designer kitchens and sustainable bathrooms

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