It is safe to say that for me as an interior designer, the Milan Design Week is one of my annual highlights! There is an abundance of inspiration and seemingly limitless possibilities to see more, as long as you got the right shoe-work… It’s an interior designer’s wonderland!
Facts and figures:
ISaloni consists of a number of exhibitions, including the Salone del Mobile (furniture), Salone del Bagno (bathrooms), EuroCucina (kitchens), Euroluce (lighting), SaloneUfficio now named Workplace3.0 (office furniture) and SaloneSatellite (young designers and students under 35). Salone del Bagno & EuroCucina alternate with Euroluce & Workplace3.0 each year.
The vast exhibition grounds of Fiera Rho Milano on the outskirts of the city once again hosted the fair, which is now in its 54th edition. The fairgrounds are a strikingly modern structure. The 20+ halls, which are spread across nearly 340’ooo m2 (the size of Terminal 5 at London Heathrow!!!) are separated by a 1 km pedestrian walkway, the upper level one being covered by a wavy glass and steel roof. Trainers are considered a survival strategy here, not a fashion statement…
During this year’s exhibition there were more than 2100 exhibitors and 310’000 visitors from all over the world. Visitors from China followed by Germany marked the highest numbers. The exhibition is reserved to trade visitors during the week, but opens up to the public on the weekend.
The exhibition is where one can observe the latest trends and meet the suppliers, whereas the Fuorisalone (literally: outside of the exhibition) allows the design enthusiasts to immerse him or herself into all things design. Entire city districts turn into a design wonderland, featuring special exhibitions, design installations, show apartments, events and more. The main areas are Brera, Zona Tortona and Ventura Lambrate.
What is it all about?
Milan design week is the heartbeat of the design industry in terms of the latest trends and innovations. However, for professionals like myself it is not only about the trends, but also about sourcing new products, meeting new suppliers, as well as old ones, network with trade partners and get a feeling for the current state of the industry in general. On the other hand, many manufacturers use this opportunity to present their latest innovations to the trade in the shape of prototypes, in order to observe the reaction from architects and interior designers and get their feedback.
Colours of the year:
Colours are back! When I say colours, I mean bright colours like yellow, orange, red and green and often times a mixture of all featured in a bold pattern (as seen above). Pantone declared ‚Marsala‘ and Dulux ‚Copper Orange‘ as their respective colour of the year. Unlike last year, these two colours are closely related and strongly remind us of the late 70’s and early 80’s.
A few splashes of yellow will add some sunshine to any space…
Orange, the colour of vitality, reminding us of the 70’s…
Use the colour green to help increase mental relaxation and healing…
Trends of the year:
The revival of the 70’s and 80’s was not only evident in terms of colours, but also seen in patterns and shapes. On the other hand, there is an increasing mix of materials as well as new interpretations of traditional materials. Furthermore, the use of copper seems to be unstoppable. The trend for copper was first introduced with Tom Dixon’s copper shade about 4 years ago and has now taken over the industry. Copper, mostly brushed, is often combined with gold and silver or also black and white elements.
Whether brushed or polished, the earthy material copper is seen in all shapes and forms…
When it comes to mixing materials, anything goes… as seen in these examples (top left to bottom right): marble, wood and leather – leather and velvet – powder coated steel and wood, copper or marble – marble and wood
With continuous technological advances in the manufacturing industry, new and creative ways using traditional materials are appearing on the market as seen in these examples (top left to bottom right): A thin layer of veneer wood to create wallpaper – delicately woven leather creates a very elegant daybed – a new interpretation of the spaghetti chair in leather and chrome – marble, cut with water jets, can create some stunning design objects
As expected LED continues to be explored in many different ways. Two years ago, Euroluce presented a number of completely new shapes and forms taking advantage of this fast developing technology, whereas this year the industry seemed somewhat stagnant in terms of design. It appears that more attention is paid to the technical side of LED lighting, in order to further improve efficiency and colour fastness. Wire lamps continue to be popular and colours and copper have also found their place in the lighting industry.
‚Where there is no light, there is no beauty!‘ said Billy Baldwin, the famous New York interior decorator of the 1920’s once. Whereas this is as true today, as it was back then, lighting not only plays a crucial role in any design, but is often a design object in itself.
Even though it can be exhausting to walk mile after mile on cobble stones, the Fuorisalone does feel a bit like a holiday… more so if the sun is shining, which has been the case on most days luckily! Getting lost in the streets of the old town, the smell of coffee and fresh pastry lingering in the air, world-class ice cream on every corner and the sounds of the Vespa, always bring back childhood memories and with them, that holiday feeling.
The oldest area of the Fuorisalone is in the Brera district, which is home to many exclusive fashion and high end furniture stores. Another famous district is Zona Tortona, which is an industrial area, where warehouse turn into design exhibitions and events during Milan Design Week. Also the Università dello Stato (State University) showcases some fabulous installation and this year I discovered yet another district of run-down warehouses and car body shops in an area called Lambrate.
Whereas I am not a huge fan of the 70’s and 80’s in terms of design, I do love the fact that colours are back. Personally, I’ve always liked using colours in my projects, because I believe colours have a huge impact on our wellbeing. Even though I admit that it may not be everyone’s cup of tea to have an orange sofa (not mine either), it would surely liven up your living room 😉
I would love to hear from you what you think about this year’s trends? Would you buy an orange sofa?
I hope you enjoyed reading my post and look forward to receiving your comments. Please feel free to share it with family and friends and stay tuned for my upcoming video on the show!
P.S. If you enjoyed reading this post and would like to receive tips on hotels and restaurants with great design, inspiration for your own home and useful tips to help you with your design dilemmas, then please sign up for my newsletter below.
Posted by Simone Aïda Baur, a multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-passionate award winning international interior designer and award winning blogger with a background in the luxury hospitality industry. Meet the designer, learn about her story and connect with Simone on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram or YouTube.