Milan Design Week is an annual design event not to be missed! There is no other place in the world, where you get to see and learn so much about the latest trends, materials, products and innovations related to interior design. In my opinion it is a must for anyone working in the design industry and it’s certainly a fix date in my agenda!

The Salone del Mobile (furniture fair) celebrating its 55th edition is part of the annual design event iSaloni, which not only exhibits the latest in furniture design, but also hosts EuroCucina (kitchens), Salone del Bagno (bathrooms), Euroluce (lighting), Workplace (office design) and the Salone Satellite (young designers and students under 35). Bathrooms and kitchens alternate with lighting and office design.

The exhibitions are held at Fiera Rho Milano, which is on the outskirts of the Italian metropolitan city of Milan. The fairgrounds are of very generous dimensions and comfortable shoe work is an absolute must to walk the 207’000 m2 exhibition space! With 2407 international exhibitors and 372’151 visitors from all over the world, iSaloni 2016 set new records once again.

So what are the latest interior design trends 2016?

Milan Design Week 2016_colour trends

Earthy colours and natural materials

While last year’s Milan Design Week was all about bold colours and retro inspired patterns, this year presented a much calmer colour palette featuring many neutrals and rather earthy and subdued colours.

Industrial chic bathrooms, kitchen and lighting

Industrial chic bathrooms, kitchen and lighting

Vintage and retro has been replaced by the industrial look, which has become particularly popular in kitchen and bathroom design. Industrial style faucets, surfaces imitating rustic wood and concrete along with lots of beige, grey and black were omnipresent.

Milan Design Week 2016_marble

Marble is being reinterpreted into modern shapes and forms

In furniture design I noticed mostly soft colours and natural materials, such as wood, metal, leather and marble, often featuring creative texture and patterns. Marble, one of the oldest and most traditional building materials has founds its way (back) into modern contemporary design. The versatility of the material seems endless and no matter how modern the shape it always oozes a calm elegance.

Milan Design Week 2016_texture

Texture adds interest to neutral colours

Texture has become an important design element and can be found in a wide range. Textures as well as patterns are popular in wallpaper, tiles and even on furniture surfaces and there were many patterned area rugs with very creative designs. Many patterns are inspired by folklore and ethnic cultures from around the world.

Milan Design Week 2016_patterns

Patterns can be found on walls, floors, fabrics and even on furniture

Salone del Bagno and Eurocucina

As already mentioned the industrial style is very much en vogue, in particular in kitchen and bathroom design. Shades of grey and black, sometimes in combination with rustic wood, stainless steel, concrete and marble dominated the world of kitchens and bathrooms this year.

Milan Design Week_bathrooms

Industrial style bathrooms in combination with the elegance of marble

The use of natural materials or imitations thereof are particularly trendy in kitchen and bathroom surfaces, but can also be found in furniture, such as shelving, sideboards and cabinetry.

Surfaces using natural materials or imitations thereof

Surfaces using natural materials or imitations thereof

Gone are the days where you’d only see chrome taps (faucets). Last year coloured taps were introduced, which however, I believe are already being replaced by black, white, copper and brass taps (faucets) adding an elegant and often industrial look to bathrooms and kitchens.

Milan Design Week_taps

Industrial style taps are en vogue

Fuorisalone

As much as I love iSaloni, I must admit, that my favourite part of the Milan Design Week is the Fuorisalone. The Fuorisalone fills the entire city with all things design and makes it the mecca of design for a week. There are design installations, parties and events. The Fuorisalone is sure to make any design addict’s heart beat a little faster… There are pop up design installations and exhibitions in old warehouses, historic buildings as well as traditional residential buildings. Sometimes you may stumble across the most amazing exhibitions in the most unexpected places. Over the years I have developed an eye for the barely noticeable signs and arrows drawn on a piece of paper on random doors. They would take me up an old staircase all the way to the 5th floor (did I mention comfortable shoes are a must?) leading me to extraordinary exhibitions and buzzing cocktail parties, where you can enjoy the display, whilst sipping on a glass of Prosecco and mingling with fellow design enthusiasts. For a glimpse into the design madness during Milan Design Week, take a look at my video of Milan Design Week 2015.

Milan Design Week 2016_Fuorisalone 1

Impressions from the Fuorisalone in Brera and Zona Tortona

Every year the Fuorisalone keeps getting bigger and bigger as more and more people, designers and neighbourhoods are becoming part of it.

The Brera Design District was the first neighbourhood to get involved and is located in a very posh area of central Milan, which is dotted with many fancy shops and restaurants. You will find the more established designers and companies here, as well as lots of lavish events, such as the Bulthaup dinner party, which was held in an old church this year.

Milan Design Week 2016_Fuorisalone 2

Impressions of Brera including live jazz at the Bulthaup event

Then there is the quirky Zona Tortona, which is mandatory for any design enthusiast. The massive halls of the old industrial warehouses, as well as large outdoor spaces and roof top gardens set an ideal background for large scale installations as well as product displays for furniture, lighting, tiles, bathrooms, kitchens and more. There are some established, but also many new designers and small companies represented here.

Impressions of Triennale featuring my 'crazy' Greek friend Anna ;)

Impressions of Triennale featuring my ‘crazy’ Greek friend Anna 😉

During Milan Design Week 2015 I covered a vast part of the Fuorisalone including Brera, Tortona, Duomo, the State University and Lambrate, but had completely missed the exhibition at the Triennale near the Castillo di Milano (castle). This year a friend and fellow design addict dragged me along (thank you Anna ;)) and we headed to yet another place of wonders… Needless to say, I have added Triennale to my list of places to visit for next year…

I hope you enjoyed reading my post and I look forward to receiving your comments. Please feel free to share it with family and friends!

Inspired regards,

Simone xx

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.

You will also receive monthly updates on design trends, events and more.

*required fields

Posted by Simone Aïda Baur, a multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-passionate award winning international interior designer and ex-hotelier, who’s discovered her love for blogging. Learn more about her here and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.