24 hours after the closing day of the Milano Design Week 2018 here is our off-the-cuff answer to the question I get asked most: ‘Have you seen anything interesting at the Salone del Mobile?’
Our followers could already read the latest news on Facebook and here are our impressions on the exhibits, intentionally focused on office design themes, yet with a few digressions to broader subjects.
No claim to make exhaustive judgments, considering that we visited just 5 out of the 24 pavilions and we were chiefly interested in workplace solutions.
More details will follow in the next few days.
The 2018 Milano Design Week will be remembered for its liveliness, a widespread optimism and the huge attendance. Favoured by a summer climate, the design addicts from all over the world have actually invaded the city, that offered lots of events and installations (nearly 2000! Too many…) and the Salone gets a new record: 434.500 visitors! (+ 26% over last year). Some positive signs for the Office industry, too, yet non directly involved, that benefits from the opening of new showrooms in Milan, and the launching of new “cross-products” meant for all sectors.
(Glas, Cryptee by Jean Nouvel; Lago Bold Table; Riva 1920 Prime Ext; Rexite, Voyager by Raul Barbieri)
Salone del Mobile: general trends and best products.
The first impression concerns the subdivision by products, which would require a more seamless approach, since life, work and leisure time are increasingly connected. And to give new impetus to the next Salone Ufficio, I really believe that a broader vision of “multi-living” could be of help.
(MDF, Super Position by Jean Nouvel; Luxy, Ponte by Mario Ruiz; B-Line, Merano by Mangiarotti-Suppanen; Offect, Dune by Sonia Lagerkvist & Anna Lindgren)
For instance we have seen at the Salone bookcases perfect for all kinds of settings, dining tables that can be also used as meeting tables or desks, coffee tables suitable for the so-called third spaces; chairs to be used at home, in restaurants or canteens without distinction; soft furniture perfect for the airport, the hall of a hotel or lounges and informal areas, which are often throbbing with life.
(Segis, Hammer by Favaretto & Partners; Pedrali, Elliot by Patrick Jouin; Sitland, l’O by Dorigo Design; Alma Design, Gesto by Mario Mazzer)
Salone del Mobile: materials and trimming.
The new products probably are less than in the bulimic past few years, often marked by ‘fair’ prototypes never marketed.
Now it’s time to move more cautiously and creare corporate strategies.
The chairs for contract supplies prove to be an inexhaustible source of creativity for designers and more; a few first-rate solutions yet no actual innovations and some are a reimagining of classic pieces, or just renovated in their finishes.
Of course, you can’t bring out new things every year, and that’s also a “sustainable” approach.
(Zanotta , Elipse by Patrick Jouin; Zanotta, Louise by Philippe Nigro; Plank, Cup by Konstantin-Grcic; Patch by Defne Koz + Marco Susani)
Technologies and materials are increasingly important and advanced for hybrid and IoT products.
(Lago, Fusion kitchen; Kartell, I-Table by Pietro Lissoni)
Textiles play the leading role, with textures and high-tech working giving new identities even to already existing products, softness to the interior design and even optimizing sound performance, as the new product based on the sound-absorbing Snowsound technology by Caimi Brevetti.
Craftwork and industrial design are more and more linked and that’s a matchless skill the Italian firms are rightly relying on.
(Caimi Brevetti, Cuneo by Gio Ponti; Caimi Brevetti divani Snowsound Fiber; Moroso, Lilo by Patricia Urquiola; Established & Sons, Barbican by Konstantin Grcic)
There is still a trace of “fashion” approach, pastel colors (especially pink), too much decoration and ostrich feathers, and some irritating episodes of palm trees and other jungle-patterns, definitely out.
But the trend is rather to choose subdued colours, unsaturated and “dusty”, colors that refer to the solidity and warmth of the earth.
Biophilia theories are confirmed as well as the inborn wish of naturalness.
The wood trend, once a quality of the Scandinavian brands, is ever-growing in terms of quantity and quality.
It’s no accident the special prize of Giuria del Salone del Mobile.Milano Award (for the 3d time) was awarded to Maurizio Riva, Riva 1920 “A man whose heart is half-made in wood’, who can appreciate the endless qualities of this material.
A respectfully treated wood coming in several grains, finishes and working, sometimes matched with plastic and other materials, however always the player.
(Kartell,Quinwood by Philippe-Stark; Pedrali, Soul by Eugeni Quitllet; Fritz Hansen, N01 by Nendo; Maruni, Collection by Jasper Morrison)
A unique way of working is Passoni’s, making use of dyes based on sangiovese and malvasia wines, to obtain attractive, natural colours and upholstering for seats in imitation leather, carried out with the waste of apple peel.
(Passoni, Arianna by Dinn!; Passoni, Genea by Atelier Oi)
The eco-sustainable approach inspires innovation in the soft furniture industry as proved by Tape by Moroso, made of scraps of fabric.
The transfer of technologies can also produce innovation, although requiring considrable investments. As in the case of Luxy, that made use of production technologies peculiar to the automotive industry for the new modular Ponte seating system, “wrinkle-proof” and incomparabile.
(Moroso, Tape by Layer/Benjamin Hubert; Luxy, Ponte by Mario Ruiz)
It was instead imitated (badly) by many, but remains an evergreen and an icon of compatibility and design the USM Haller system that maintains its innovative concept.
For the Salone UNStudio Futures Team, designed a stand (awarded by Frame Awards) that explores contemporary spaces, creating domestic and working hybrid environments. Visitors were invited to leave their feedback, which will be collected and discussed by USM during a WorkHouse in Berlin next summer; the dialogue usm.com/homework.
More details about new products, trends and showrooms opened during Milano Design Week. Follow WOW!
Text by Renata Sias