The entire design world from the far reaches of the globe stands in unison when it comes to partaking in one international design fair – Salone Del Mobile.Milano. For the 2019 edition, our team at Love That Design dusted out their luggage, grabbed their tickets, and headed straight to the heart of the action in Milan, ready to be inspired and have our minds blown away…
The 58th edition of Salone del Mobile Milano celebrated the connection between theory and practice, similar to the Italian Renaissance in the Florentine workshops. As we strolled through the multiple sections of the fair, needless to say, we were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of fantastic design!
But what is love without knowledge? So we have outlined a small glossary of keywords, inspirations, trends and people that inspired us.
The 58th Salone del Mobile took on this simple yet crucial question, with the exposition this year dedicated to one of the most eclectic ‘designers’ in history – Leonardo da Vinci. The word ‘design’ comes from the Latin word, ‘de-signo’ (as was explained on the installation at the fair), which literally means ‘about the project’.
According to Da Vinci, drawing is the most important activity on which all other manual activities rely, because everything originates from a sign. On the other hand, it is also true that a product is better when it makes an improvement. Walter Knoll knows this only too well, and pays tribute to the Bauhaus Manifesto with the Aisuu Side Chair designed by Ginger Zalaba, a woman who grew up with her grandfather, Otto Kolb, who was the master of the New Bauhaus and known for his design of avant-garde furniture in Chicago in the Fifties.
Moroso’s 2019 Salone space was once again superbly designed by the talented and famous Patricia Urquiola, and showcases collaborative collections by designers Johannes Torpe, amongst others. The visual result is truly intriguing.
Above left: Walter Knoll; Above right: Kartell, Fantoni, Moroso
Content is back in fashion – people need to tell their own story, and hear others’ stories. At the Arper stand, words certainly matter. Rooms are filled with inspirational quotes, book titles and messages that evoke joy, bliss, or part simple wisdom for all to appreciate. The design is super stylish with certain corners akin to photography sets, ready to be captured on film and shared. Very instagrammable!
Certain brands focused on setting a mood for everyday moments. Fritz Hansen, for example, makes room for imagination with immersive environments inspired by moments in life – a dinner with friends, a late night reading, etc. Vitra, on the other hand, explores four distinct moods, each one expressing a particular attitude towards life. In one such mood environment, ‘The Global Entrepreneur’, the Grand Relax reclining lounge chair, designed by Antonio Citterio, stands out with its distinctive, classic aesthetics and outstanding comfort. Alternatively, if you’re in the mood to workout, you can now do some cardio with style on Bike Personal, another Citterio designed, brand new addition to the Technogym collection.
Right: Technogym; Below: Fritz Hansen and Vitra
A pastel palette overtook the Pedrali, Arper and Muuto spaces at the fair, with gradient colours, blurred tones and warm shades completing the look. The design recalls interiors of the fifties and sixties, and according Achille Castiglioni, objects should keep us company, and all of these soft colors, lines and shapes are simply soul soothing. Arper totally adopted this ‘softer’ concept, proving that sometimes, the lightest touch is the one we feel the most.
Above: Pedrali, Arper, Muuto, Vitra
Fashion, design and architecture are closely interwoven here, following the trends and play of fabric and prints – tweed, checks, flowers, and velvet. While continuing to push high end leather pieces, De Sede has, for the first time, tried out velvet. Bolia mixed and matched fabrics and natural materials, such as wood, leather and marble, to create surprising contrasts for your home. We especially loved the combination of smooth velvet and corduroy on the sofas and pouffes.
Missoni Home continue to be dedicated followers of fashion. Their 2019 unveiling also showcases nature with Panorama, Alps and Winter Garden, beautifully presented in a large space bordered by their iconic fringe curtains. Ever so stylish!
Above: De Sede, Bolia and Missoni
A crossroad for us translates into diversity – it is an intersection of cultures, materials, and techniques, especially designed to work well together. The result is a harmony of elements that merge without losing their individuality. Such as the Pedrali Jamaica chairs by CMP Design, made out of nickel, wood, and fabric, and the Diversity collection by Bolon, which includes three flooring patterns made by recycled material.
Taking these crossroads onto a larger playing field, at Fuorisalone, Herman Miller put ten chairs from five different brands around one table for the ‘All Together Now’ project, and Artek launched the FIN/JPN Friendship collection, celebrating the 100 year anniversary of diplomatic relations between Finland and Japan.
Interactions also give life to unforeseen happenings and often wonderful results. At the end of a hectic day at Salone, we met designer Claus Breinholt at the Infiniti Woodland stand, and asked him about his collaboration with the Italian company. “They were willing to invest in my project even though it was very difficult and expensive to realise,” he told us. “We presented the Loop chair exactly ten years ago, and it has since become an iconic product, because it was unique at the time”. Loop featured the first ever plywood, one piece shell with arms in 3D curved wood.
Top: Infiniti Woodland and Claus Breinholt, designer of the Loop chair; Above: Artek
At a time when office, residential and public spaces are changing and consequently merging, versatility is key. STUDIO by Bene offers a modular workplace system designed to appeal to people whose professional and private lives are closely interconnected. Table systems, shelves and accessories can be combined into personalised arrangements to suit individual needs in the office and at home. Similarly, USM Modular Furniture can be used in offices, libraries, homes, and even restaurants and hotels. Also showing off flexible, comfortable and less clinical spaces, the Wonder Office by Manerba works around people, their desires and interactions. At Fantoni, the focus was creativity and teamwork, but nevertheless with room for privacy and contemplation. No stress please…
Top: Bene; Above: USM, Manerba and Fantoni
Polyvalence was the trend here, with hybrid items that can be used both indoors and out. Pedrali introduced the Tribeca two-seat sofa in flexible PVC. Its nylon core and UV resistant technology makes it perfect for placing outside, while the smooth finish and pastel colours give off a retro modern vibe, harking back to the patio chair of the sixties, and suitable as interior furniture as well. Same goes for Arper’s colourful Pix ottoman, designed by Ichiro Iwasaki, and Vondom, where the outdoor decor mimics a cosy, indoor living room.
Top: Vondom and Expormim; Above: Pedrali and Arper
Sustainability and Biophilia
Consciousness, and love for nature and sustainability, increasingly play a central role in the design world, from the choice of materials used to the environmental impact of the products. It’s all about reducing our carbon footprint and bringing the outside in. Magis’ lightweight magnesium chair, Vela, designed by Gilli Kuchik & Ran Amitai, can be lifted and stacked with just one finger! Also displayed at Magis was the Costume sofa, designed by Stefan Diez. The key component of this piece is a 4mm thin structure made from recycled and recyclable polypropylene. Dressed with interchangeable covers, it’s available in a colorful range of fabric options provided by Kvadrat.
The design world, just like the fashion industry, continuously quotes the past while looking towards the future. Companies like Poltrona Frau and Cappellini (both falling under the Haworth umbrella), Molteni & C., Poliform and Bonaldo, are synonymous with tradition and research. Kartell celebrated its 70th anniversary with the first design object conceived by artificial intelligence, the A.I. chair by Philippe Starck.
Top: Poltrona Frau and Cappellini; Above: Molteni & C., Poliform, Bonaldo and Kartell
We also bumped into designer Piero Lissoni seated on the Gould sofa he designed for Knoll, part of a new collection of upholstered furniture inspired by American design and architecture in the fifties. “2019 is over,” he said. “We now start planning 2020, but I need a vacation first!”
Above: Knoll with designer Piero Lissoni
A.I. Chair, Achille Castiglioni, Aisuu Side Chair, Antonio Citterio, Arper, Artek, Bene, Bolia Design, Bolon, Bonaldo, Cappellini, Claus Breinholt, CMP Design, Costume Sofa, De Sede, Diversity Collection, Expormim, Fantoni Spa, FIN/JPN Friendship Collection, Fritz Hansen, Fuorisalone, Furniture, Gilli Kuchik, Ginger Zalaba, Gould Sofa, haworth, Herman Miller, Ichiro Iwasaki, Infiniti Woodland, Interior Design, Interior Designer, Italian Designs, Italy, Jamaica Chair, Kartell, Kvadrat, Loop Chair, Magis, Manerba, Milan, Missoni Home, Molteni & C., Moroso, Muuto, New Bauhaus, Otto Kolb, Pedrali, Philippe Starck, Piero Lissoni, Pix Ottoman, Poliform, Poltrona Frau, Ran Amitai, Salone Del Mobile Milano, Scandinavian, Stefan Diez, STUDIO by Bene, Technogym, Tribeca Chair, USM, USM Modular Furniture, Vela Chair, Vitra, Vondom, Walter Knoll