Furniture – The Blurring Boundaries between Work, Home and Hospitality
Workplace exhibits at Salone del Mobile 2023 didn’t hit traditional markers that visitors expect to see at Orgatec, Neocon or Clerkenwell. The fact that workspace design is evolving has been the talk of the town, and the fairs until now did seem to inculcate more ‘homely’ products – however, at Salone del Mobile 2023, the shift was supremely pronounced. It could be attributed to the burgeoning demands of comfortable and easily adaptable offices or maybe the brands needed a little more time to unleash their innovations – either way the Workplace exhibits at Salone del Mobile 2023 were very much blends of Soft Furnishing, Outdoor & Occasional Seating.
Pedrali exhibited a booth titled #PedraliBackToNature to commemorate the brand completing 60 years and acknowledging their inception into the furniture industry as an outdoor furniture manufacturer. The Frank table designed by Robin Rizzini is one of the new additions to Pedrali’s portfolio, and immediately garnered attention with its bright red colour and dynamic shape. The Anemos table by Pio and Tito Toso and Jeff sofa by Patrick Norguet had impressive silhouettes as well. Overall, Pedrali’s newest additions were a delightful commentary on their roots and the recent coming together of indoor and outdoor elements.
Arper’s booth looked like a delicate maze with thin, translucent curtains creating mysteries. Amongst the light-toned neutral set-up, Roopa table designed by Doshi Levien and the modular Ralik sofa by Ichiro Iwasaki were a refreshing splash of colour and form. The Aava 02 chair and Semiton storage unit also marked a vivacious presence with the clean and simple geometry. Yet again, with Arper’s showcase at Salone del Mobile 2023, the coalescing of home and workspaces was evident. As the brand that launched Project of Living last year, Arper’s focus around designing for humans and being quick in adapting to demands continues and flourishes. No matter the fair or exhibition, Arper’s live DJ evenings are a must-visit. The trek across the city to the venue was a replenishing jumpstart to conversations and drinks with familiar faces that followed.
Quinti released a slew of new products at Salone del Mobile 2023. The Aventador executive chair was one of the releases and its no-nonsense design and sturdy aluminium handrests can be envisioned in a variety of settings. Neotenic, organic forms also were an ongoing theme in the booth with seatings such as the Cristy, Hill and One Hundred chairs. The Deep Collection was a delectable array of products; the spacious seats were relief from usually stingy seat spaces in chairs.
True Design’s showcase greeted with freshness and an outburst of greenery. Beautifully designed by PARISOTTO+FORMENTON Studio, the space was the correct balance of curves and lines. The concept that True Design and its products adhered to was that of lightness. The Sho Club, with integrated power sockets, made for a wonderful vision of wooden features and plush cushioning. The fluid Nomad stool, as the name suggests, is a stool that would fit right anywhere – work environments, outdoors or in-house. The Lisa chair was yet another straightforward yet effective design. Both the chairs were centred around using sustainable materials and imbibing lightness in terms of look and weight.
Bamboo and sheer curtains were the elements of infiniti’s booth at Salone del Mobile 2023 that was conceptualised as an airy, wooden forest. The brand welcomed three new products – GT01 by Gio Tirotto, Skol by Needs Studio, and Kai by Formidable Studio. GT01 and Skol are chairs that make one reminiscent of the past, while GT01 has sharper lines and is stackable, and Skol has a more rounded design. Kai, on the other hand, is a table inspired by the Japanese bow and would fit in any context. The brand also released add-ons for the successful Waffle collection, and featured the iconic Loop chair.
INCLASS put together was a grand display that flaunted the modularity of their product range systematically. The Itek Pro task chair, Varya chair range and Laminar tables proved to be exemplary products for modularity, variety and customisation in the corporate furniture sector. The Laminar table in particular is 100% recyclable, and has the added benefit of a timeless design and manufacturing in three adjustable heights.
Herman Miller celebrated completing a century since its inception. The Herman Miller showroom in Milan was bedecked with picture frames showcasing their rich graphic design history; these images were pulled from the archives in Michigan, and visitors flocked the premise to get a glimpse of the iconic and historic works.
Ondarreta flaunted their sculptural and modern Supra and Ginger Collection in an avant garde booth. While the neotenic Supra collection is designed by Note Studio, the sleek design of the Ginger Collection is accomplished by designer Sebastian Hekner. The conical base of the Ginger chair paired with the roundedness of the seat was an eye-catching element.
Crassevig showcased their signature designs at Salone del Mobile 2023, featuring finishes with delicate yet well-defined tones that evoke naturalness and renewal. The designs include the Finna chair, Frisia, the Folio table, the Tusca armchair, Emma Soft, and the Stool collection. The booth had a pop and contemporary visual suggestion with bold and minimalist features.
Verges furniture also exhibited furniture like the Nela chair and Ona chair (made out of a single sheet of plywood!) that seemed to signal the coalescing of home, hospitality and office.
If there was a name for ‘quirky but make it subtle’, MIDJ would be it. From the Amelia chair to the Eggen and Plisse tables to the Civitas system – the brand imbibed a little bit of character in each product. Martex was another furniture brand on the opposite spectrum – simple but make it a statement. Sharp planes, stringent lines and just a little bit of colour!
Custom-made furniture brand Ornare displayed their exquisite craftsmanship with their new Timeless collection made of solid wood. Quadrifoglio Group showcased its Design Living, Design Lighting, and Design Office collections at Salone del Mobile 2023. The collections explored the interconnections between residential and contract worlds and offered high customization, refined details, and coordination with some prototypes on display.
Varaschin, a well-known outdoor furniture brand, showcased the Emma Collection by Monica Armani, Flexion by Edoardo Gherardi, Summer Set Bergere by Christopher Pillet, and Sun & Moon Collection by Josè Manuel Ferrero. The aluminium structure of the Sun & Moon Collection is equipped with a sunscreen visor, and seat backs are independent and recline to ensure users’ comfort.
Another outdoor furniture brand, Extremis, enticed visitors before Salone del Milano 2023 with a simple word ‘Panigiri’ – which is a Greek festival where families and friends come together to eat and drink. In a booth that imbued Greece-y vibes, it was revealed that Extremis’ Panigiri is a collection of transportable picnic tables. Panigiri’s 2.30 metres high pallet fits a table for 56 persons! From pristine, white sheltered settings to chic wooden lunch benches, Panigiri has the potential to be a picnic planner in itself.
iSiMAR wowed visitors with their slender outdoor furniture, but what made them linger was the custom table tops that the brand unveiled at Salone del Mobile 2023 – unlike typical customisable tops, iSiMAR’s had patterns, colours and different finishes to offer.
Plust, one of six brands owned by the Vicenza-based euro3plast S.p.A, like always, showcased innovative uses of plastic furniture, and how fluid forms can fuse seamlessly with functionality. At Salone del Mobile 2023, the brand launched the newest addition to the Boom family – the Boom sofa and wowed crowds with DECOR – which makes use of as much as 80% material derived from industrial processing waste. Furniture made of DECOR imbues a clean, subdued terrazzo finishing in daylight, and transforms into a fascinating ‘glow in the dark’ kaleidoscopic aesthetic in the evening! The stalwart Gumball and Fade Family also made for classic exhibits.
The team at Bene curated an extraordinary experience called The Secret Garden. The venue was (and still is, until May 5, 2023) envisioned as a surreal botanical haven. The vivid display is a creative expression of Bene’s flair for design and provides an appealing setting for their new product line CASUAL Outdoor. The line’s USPs are its great flexibility, modularity, versatility, and weather-resistant properties. Bene imagines CASUAL Outdoor to be a playful, colourful and stylish addition to any area.
Patricia Urquiola’s installation at Moroso invited visitors into the world of the Rows collection, which featured linear and symmetrical designs inspired by the still life paintings of Amédée Ozenfant. The Lowland and Lowseat seating systems are also revised and ‘reused’ with a sustainable approach, resulting in softer seats and backrests and solid wooden bases for Mr Loveland, and a more intense and powerful stylistic approach for Mr Loveseat, with delicate legs that create a captivating sense of lightness.
Haworth participated in Salone del Mobile 2023 via acquired brands Poltrona Frau, Capellini, Janus et cie, and Zanotta. Along with the alluring Matisse Teak and Ares, Janus et cie put on display The Mattone Collection – the brand’s first fully upholstered collection. Poltrona Frau unveiled their Pleasures Collection at their flagship store in Milan. Team Love That Design shared a lovely dinner with the team at Haworth on day 3 on Salone del Mobile 2023.
Giorgetti Spiga – The Place, Giorgetti’s flagship store in Milan entertained over 10,000 visitors during the week of Salone del Mobile 2023. Special editions of the Mizar table by Roberto Lazzeroni and the architectural lines of the G-Code desk signed by Benini and Partners Architects welcomed visitors. WOODY & MIA by Giorgetti R&D – two linkable tables – embody two distinct narratives, was a part of their 2023 collection. On the 2nd floor of the store a bedroom concept with a walk-in wardrobe and a home office space took up space, and the 3rd floor was dedicated to an executive office designed to welcome clients, in line with the many projects completed by Giorgetti for top management.
The Focus on Well-Being – Fabrics, Soft Furnishings, Surfaces, Acoustics and Accessories
Fabrics and Soft furnishings can instantly lift any interior scene up. The right rugs and accessories can take a design from basic to ravishing. Salone del Mobile 2023 boasted a ton of brands who displayed a variety of such interventions. With the concept of well-being quickly becoming a focus, demands have risen and it is reflected in the array of artistic and eye-grabbing stalls Salone del Mobile 2023 hosted.
Caimi focused on well-being and elegance, and fused art and acoustics in one product. Silenzo, the new collection of sound-absorbing panels by Mario Trimarchi for Caimi Snowsound Art, were displayed in the booth. The collection reimagines curating spaces around one object, one that stimulates the minds as well as the sight. The Lucrezio table, Snowsound Fiber 12 and Milano lamps by Caimi Lab aimed at educating visitors about how crucial acoustics are to well-being and how good acoustics don’t have to mean bad aesthetics.
BuzziSpace introduced visitors to two new products – BuzziBurner and BuzziSurfer at Euroluce 2023. BuzziBurner would be ideal for those looking to maintain sophistication while improving their acoustics; BuzziSurfer would be a boon for those looking for height-adjustable ceiling lights with a touch of an industrial aesthetic. Quieter is always greater, no?
Swedish furniture brand, Abstracta also showcased a plethora of their noise-regulating pieces for offices at Salone del Mobile 2023. The Zen pod by Swedish designer Staffan Holm and Studio Stockholm curated mobile project workspace were the new and impressive additions to the brand’s ‘sound’ portfolio. Thomas Bernstrand’s acoustic range, including the sound-absorbing Moon Lamp was also featured at the stunning booth.
On the other hand, at the ARCHIPRODUCTS showroom in Milan, Impact Acoustics unveiled ARCHISONIC® Cotton – an innovative acoustic solution that is fully recyclable. The main component of the material is cellulose derived from cotton linters, a by-product of the cotton industry that would otherwise be discarded. Available in a range of 24 natural colours and handmade in Italy, the collection imparts supreme acoustics without cutting down on beauty and design of a space.
Kvadrat Textiles participated in FuoriSalone, and during the Salone del Mobile week of 2023, they unveiled their latest upholstery collection called Paravent by Ronan Bouroullec. Ronan personally designed a unique installation that showcased his original drawings inside the premises. The March and July rug designs by Muller Van Severen were also recently added to Kvadrat’s rug collection, taking inspiration from the natural fleece of a sheep during different seasons. In addition to these, Kvadrat/Raf Simons launched two new upholstery textiles, Aaren and Einar, and the Sahco 2023 collection were also impressive additions to Kvadrat’s portfolio.
Ege Carpets spread awareness about their Ege CircleBack initiative that addresses the low recycling rate of used carpets in the industry. The program offers customers the opportunity to return their old carpets for recycling, with more than 95% of the carpet being able to be recycled in various ways, such as turning the yarn into new yarn and reusing the rest in the plastic industry and for cement production. The initiative will initially be available for ten of Ege Carpet’s collections and will gradually be expanded to include more collections. The brand also hosted a party, and the venue was adorned with a custom-rug for the event.
At the Salone del Mobile 2023, Jaipur Rugs exhibited their most recent collection, which featured the impressive Majnun series created in partnership with Pavitra Rajaram. The presentation also included touching accounts of the weavers’ lives in a remote Indian village, which added an emotional element. Attendees at the exhibit were encouraged to join a unique initiative by designing postcards for the skilled weavers. The response to this activity was overwhelming, as over 1000 postcards were collected within a week.
Yo2 Designs collaborated with Estúdio Campana at the Salone del Mobile 2023 exhibition, to display a distinctive rug named “Folia”. The rug portrays a depiction of the present-day world and the craziness that surrounds us. It reflects the absence of consideration for the planet, where individuals exploit the earth, causing damage to the environment.
Interface, a carbon-neutral enterprise since September 2022, embarked upon an inspiring journey of sustainability. The brand organised a sustainability event called “Positive spaces | Better products. Happier people. Healthier planet” on board Tram K3 in Milan. Six industry leaders and designers discussed sustainability during the train journey through the city’s historic district.
From Object Carpet comes MEDITERRANEO – a collection of carpets designed by Matteo Thun and Antonio Rodriguez that can be used both indoors and outdoors. The collection was unveiled during Salone del Mobile 2023, at Matteo Thun and Antonio Rodriguez Design Studio. The carpets are durable, weather-resistant and have a Mediterranean heritage look. The collection is made from waste that is processed into recyclable polyester chips, and the production process significantly reduces CO2 emissions compared to producing new polyester. The collection includes four weave patterns in three different shades that reflect an authentic, natural colour palette, and it can be used as a standalone carpet or as a wall-to-wall solution. Despite its robust appearance, the carpet is surprisingly smooth and exudes Mediterranean nonchalance.
Kriskadecor’s booth made for an immersive experience created by Javier Jimenez Iniesta that engages multiple senses and offers a diverse range of colours. The design includes a new system called Feel Free, developed by estudiHac, which allows Kriskadecor chains to be installed without the need for support from walls or ceilings. The system is environmentally sustainable, using aluminium materials that can be recycled, and the chains contain 20% recycled material, thus reducing the carbon footprint.
Cosentino collaborated with Tom Dixon and his team at Design Research Studio at Salone del Mobile 2023. Their installation, “Metamorphic,” is a bold architectural vision for the bathroom space that challenges the traditional perception of bathrooms as purely functional and hidden spaces. The installation, brought to life with Dekton®, a versatile, sustainable, and durable ultracompact stone, features four modules of varying sizes that showcase a new vision of the bathroom space as a focal point of interior architecture. This partnership marks Dixon’s return to Salone after nine years and an important moment for both brands, as Cosentino has exhibited for 15 years.
Atlas Concorde showcased its latest project called #Fuoriscala. This project was created in collaboration with Italian architect Piero Lissoni, and it demonstrates the potential of large porcelain slabs. The design explored new ways of using porcelain tiles in different spaces and for furnishing elements, with slabs up to 4 metres in height.
Imagine industrial aesthetic but with a healthy dose of subdued luxury – that is exactly how we would describe Cimento‘s exhibit. The exhibition spotlighted the sculptural furniture, geometric compositions and fascinating forms that were curated in collaboration with Elisa Ossina and Studio, under the emminent creative direction of Aldo Parisotto Parisotto + Formenton Architetti.
From Salone del Mobile 2023 to the Technogym Run experience at Technogym Milan, the brand showcased their entire ecosystem during Milan Design Week. Visitors flocked to the treadmills and ellipticals as the brand representatives quenched their curiosity for Technogym’s luxury meets exercise product portfolio. The screens on the machines were truly awe-worthy; from details about one’s workout to entertainment channels, the superior touch technology and innovation of Technogym products remains unparalleled to any other market player.
Starpool creates innovative wellness concepts, developing spaces and programs dedicated to health, beauty, and self-care. Team Love That Design was able to try their new Zerobody Cryotherapy – and needles to say, it was pretty chill.
Lighting it Up – Euroluce 2023
A major highlight of the fair is the return of Euroluce—the biennial devoted to lighting—after a four-year hiatus. Similar to acoustics, lights have ceased to be a strictly functional aspect and become a more ‘fun’ feature. While this narrative has always been there, the shift has been in the perception that light can only be ‘designer’ in luxurious spaces. Good design is pivotal to well-being, and good lighting design is one of the biggest factors of good design.
Lladró, the Spanish brand specialising in porcelain art, unveiled the Soft Blown Collection by Nichetto Studio inspired by fun inflatables at the Euroluce 2023. lighting design fair in Milan. Among the other featured collections is Mokuren, designed in partnership with Naoto Fukasawa and inspired by the magnolia tree. Niagara, Blossom, Bouquet, Firefly, Belle de Nuit, Nightbloom, and Jamz also lit up vivacious booths. The award-winning Seasons collection was also on display at the fair, which is the largest of its kind in the world and in its 31st edition. Lladró’s lighting designs exhibit exemplary craftsmanship and design, via unique and customizable pieces.
Artemide boasted their new lines like Veil, Turn Around, Ixa, Stellar Nebula, and more – created by renowned architects such as Herzog & de Meuron, Mario Cucinella, BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group, and Foster + Partners. These items are the outcome of Artemide’s ongoing quest for technological advancement and exploration.
First-time exhibitors, Intra lighting showcased five new products at Euroluce 2023, Thes products – Vyko, Lysabel, Gramm, Liy and Eye – are being shown in their conceptual stage, and haven’t been officially released until date. Vyko, particularly, was the star of the booth. Not only is its panel 100% recyclable; it’s a three-in-one solution, serving as a luminaire, a ceiling, and an acoustic panel.
Sans Souci showcased its new designs, including 15 new collections, at Euroluce 2023 in Milan, including William Sawaya’s BRANCHY collection that uses sandblasting techniques and long glass crystals. Karim Rashid’s CHIN CHIN as an intriguing product line that played with the ‘glass empty-glass full’ perception. The exhibition, titled ‘The Harmony of Contrast,’ featured HARK, an immersive exhibit showcasing crystal cuboids that respond to the audio around them, emitting different ambience depending on the tone of sound.
Bover Barcelona also came a power-packed product showcase. One of the products, Nit is a table lamp that runs on batteries and produces light both above and below it. The light that shines from the top is subtle and only partially visible, providing a gentle illumination of the tabletop and making objects in the surrounding area visible even in low light conditions. On the other hand, pendant lamps Atticus and Nans from the brand imbued relaxed, Mediterranean vibes.
‘Preserve Luxury’, two words, you’d never thought you’d see together – but there they are! Gessi‘s flaunted the faucets from their new PERLE collection featuring a variety of high-quality Made in Italy materials. The collection is the result of two years of research aimed at reviving traditional Italian skills and craftsmanship. Gessi aims to protect and elevate Italian culture through their Haute Culture approach.
Graypants Studio put together a booth where lights were made of cardboard; what was most eye-grabbing about the products, were natural details present in the lamps owing to the anatomy of the cardboard.
Lasvit put up a breathtaking exhibit titled “It All Comes from Above” at Euroluce 2023. The A:Live kinetic installation created by Stefan Mihailovic, utilised simple movements to create complex compositions. Another named Constellation collection designed by David Rockwell, drew inspiration from the night sky in New York City. Finally, the Miles collection by Yabu Pushelberg was inspired by the similarities between music-making and glass-blowing.
Linea Light Group’s booth represented the theme of “The City of Lights” for Euroluce 2023. The setting featured a modular suspension system called Modus, which spans up to 30 metres and led visitors to a living island illuminated by Skylum in a new Round version with a specially designed circuit in dynamic white.
LZF (initially Luzifer) has a story as compelling as their products. They developed a technology called wood light, which allowed them to bend veneer and create light fittings using its translucency; this eliminated the restrictions of using fibreglass for lampshades. The idea for veneer lights came about by chance when they put veneer on their kitchen table, which was lit. From the booth, the Candela lamp’s abstract composition that reflected designer Candela Cort’s flamboyant career was attention-grabbing.
Tom Dixon lamps made a return to Euroluce after nine years with a new collection called “CHOICE”. The collection includes new PUFF pendants and chandeliers, PORTABLES lights inspired by iconic designs, and best-selling upholstery pieces FAT and WINGBACK. PUFF is a new design inspired by inflatable geometry, while PORTABLES is a new category of rechargeable lights that can be used both indoors and outdoors. The new collection also includes a new pedestal, called CONE, that can be mixed and matched with 28 of Tom Dixon’s shades. Tom Dixon’s CEO, Hoegstedt, says the new collection is about giving the market a glimpse of light and inspiring creativity.
As part of FuoriSalone, iGuzzini exhibited at Via Palermo 11, Milan. The exhibit featured a Le Perroquet lamp designed by Piano Design for Centre Pompidou in Paris which looks like a flock of colourful parrots. It also flaunted Living Vibes, which is a collection of new designs such as Libera, Allure, BeTwo and Whisper, and an installation designed by Stefano Boeri Interiors with lighting by Artec Studio. Italian Echoes was also a part of a collection of re-editions of iconic lamps from iGuzzini’s archive, celebrating Italian design from the past 60 years. The collection includes Polsino by Gio Ponti, Zurigo by Luigi Massoni, Sorella by Harvey, Nitia by Rodolfo Bonetto, and Clan by Harvey as well.
iGuzzini’s products were a part of various installations at FuoriSalone, namely -“Swing” by Stefano Boeri Interiors for Amazon; “Free.dom” installation curated by Simone Micheli; Inside the Cortile d’Onore (Università Statale), Massimo Iosa Ghini creates “The Oasis of the Wayfarer”; “Behind the impossible” by BUOROMILAN and a few more.
Innovation in Plenty – Sanitaryware and Kitchen
Kohler partnered with four female artists from different countries to create a limited-edition global collection of 12 new Artist Editions products for the bathroom as part of its 150th anniversary celebration. Each artist was given the freedom to create their visual expressions on Kohler’s Numi 2.0 smart toilet, Brazn sink, and Brazn bathtub. The collection will be offered in a quantity of 150, honouring Kohler’s anniversary year. The brand also showcased a monumental aerial sculpture by artist Janet Echelman and a user-controlled design experience at Palazzo del Senato during Milan Design Week. Visitors had the liberty to manipulate Kohler’s Numi smart toilet in an immersive digital experience, becoming artists themselves.
At Brera Design District 2023, the main focus of the installation, which was created by architect Ferruccio Laviani, is on the Geberit products. These products are designed to promote flexibility in bathroom environments by seamlessly integrating technological, functional, and aesthetic elements while prioritising sustainability. The installation addressed the upcoming design challenges of creating sustainable solutions that enhance the comfort and dynamics of living spaces, particularly in regards to the bathroom concept’s evolution, which combines technology and form.
The Quooker Team Italy participated in the FuoriSalone held in Milan during the same week as Salone del Mobile 2023. Their products were exhibited at some dealers’ flagship showrooms in the Milan design district, namely – Eurostyling, Binova, Poros, Garavaglia, Cappellini Cucine, Arch&Project, Arclinea, Boffi, and Dada. The team also met clients to promote and showcase their product at Ecosistema’s dedicated space.
On day 4 of the Milan Design Week, team Love That Design was whisked away (on a train ride) by Ideal Standard on a trip to Venice! The brand was hosting an exclusive pop-up showroom at the Arsenale di Venezia in Venice called Aesth|ethics. The venue featured an installation from none other than Ideal Standard’s Chief Design Officer, Roberto Palomba. Through the event the brand took on the dual role of brand and tour guides and showcased the brand’s design and ethical goals, highlighting its commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Team Love That Design also got to see and witness-in-action the latest bathroom collections, like the La Dolce Vita, shower system Alu, and the expansion of the Solas range. It was indeed delightful to know that the company has completed a carbon footprint analysis of the event and partnered with Up2You to neutralise CO2 emissions by supporting two forest preservation and restoration projects in Zimbabwe.
Siddharth Peters had the chance to have a conversation with deal Standard’s Chief Design Officer, Roberto Palomba on his direction on design, what it’s taken to steer Ideal Standards design direction and the need to create products that resonate with your customer in both form and design. We shall soon reveal the details of this in-depth conversation, so stay tuned.
Love That Design could cover the event for a mere two days – given that it wasn’t just the hall but the entire city celebrating design, it was impossible to cover it all. For a show as vast as Salone del Mobile 2023, fleeting moments with stands cannot aid in determining whether a not a a product, collection or brand makes the cut. As Siddharth Peters, the man himself puts it, “It may be simple to glorify or dismiss a product in a glance while you are racing away to the next stand, without really understanding the time and effort that’s poured into a product, the stand itself and the sales that’s riding on this very showcase. The truth is, while the show is a must see, the fact that it is split across two parts of the city makes it impossible to do the coverage any justice. All you can do is lean in and enjoy what’s in front of you.”