The capital of design, Milan is the home of furniture fair Salone Del Mobile, which started on Tuesday and runs until Sunday – an annual celebration of creativity and innovation. You don’t even have to attend the city’s Design week to stay up-to-date on the products, people and places that will be dominating the world of interiors over the next twelve months, all you need is this essential hotlist of the highlights.
NOTE DESIGN STUDIO
The vinyl towers of Note Design Studio’s ‘Formations’ installation, created in collaboration with Swedish flooring brand Tarkett (professionals.atrkett.com), has taken over the hall of the Circolo Filologico Milanese during Design Week. The Stockholm multidisciplinary collective has applied its many talents to several brands at this year’s Milan Design Week. They try to avoid being categorised to one a particular style – they prefer to suggest dreams, function and respect for the environment. Ultimately, they aspire to realise creative ideas that have a purpose and make a positive impact on the world.
Lema is coming to Salone del Mobile with a brand new classic in the making. Channeling 1940’s sophistication, the ‘Alma’ armchair by Tuscany-based designers Dainellistudio has a bold, confident look. Its generous proportions and supportive armrests make it a versatile addition to living spaces. (lemamobili.com)
At Cedit’s Salone stand, the traditional rules of tiling are being overturned. ‘Rivilevi’ by Italian creative studio Zaven is a series of three-dimensional tiles that play with the idea of repetition in an innovative way. The design invites creativity as you can configure it in different combinations to add depth and pattern to surfaces- choose from a palette of bold and muted shades, including rust orange, beige, ultramarine and scarlet. (florim.com/en/cedit)
Last year saw Google participate in the Salone del Mobile for the first time, and the tech giant is back this year with ‘A Space for Being’, a multi-room installation that will explore the field of neuroaesthetics- the study of how the visual aspect of our homes has the potential to impact our biology and wellbeing. A collaboration between Google, furniture brand Muuto, New York-based architecture studio Reddymade and the International Arts + Mind Lab at Johns Hopkins University’s Brain Science Institute, each room will be unique in design, build and furnishings.
Having previously collaborated with Nendo, Phillip K Smith III, and Studio Swine, fashion brand Cos has developed something of a reputation for seeking out the hottest talent for its installations at Salone del Mobile. This year, Karin Gustafsson, creative director of Cos, teamed up with London-based French architect Arthur Mamou-Mani to transform Palazzo Isimbardi’s picturesque 16th-century courtyard and garden with an impressive pavilion constructed entirely from 3D-printed sustainable materials. Open to the public 9-14 April, the thought-provoking structure will showcase the many positive impacts that digital innovations can have on the future of design. (cosstores.com)
Sustainability is a theme you’ll see pop up again and again at installations and product launches across the Salone del Mobile. B&B Italia’s new ‘Mirto’ outdoor tables, for example, feature black lava stone tops decorated with an intricate Sicilian-lace-like pattern made from crushed recycled from gadgets. (bebitalia.com)
Rodolfo Dordoni’s ‘Delaunay’ chair for Minotti has been gracing stylish living spaces since 1998, and it’s sure to find its way into a few more thanks to an updated look launching in Milan this year. On-trend colours, ‘Ash’, ‘Dove Grey’, ‘Sage’ and ‘Bordeaux’ have been added to the palette of its upholstery, while the cushions now sport stitching. (minotti/it)
THE TASTEMAKER: CRISTINA CELESTINO
With projects all across Milan, Celestino is a designer in demand. Celestino is the name on everyone’s lips this year thanks to a handful of Instagram-worthy installations and brand collaborations. She’s revamped classic Milanese coffee spot Caffee Concerto Cuuchi in her unmistakable style, conceived a retro-futuristic installation Besana Carpet Lab and created an interior using ceramic surfaces for Cedit, as well as launching her new designs for carpet brand Illulian. (cristinacelestino.com)
TALKING POINT: DINE WITH TOM DIXON
The British designer’s unique presentations are always a highlight of Milan Design Week, and this year’s installation will be perhaps his best yet. Why? Because, after years of fantastic pop-up spaces and temporary events, the brand is putting down permanent roots in the Italian city with the opening of the Manzoni, a 100-cover restaurant, located on the street of the same name, that will double up as Tom Dixon’s first dedicated showroom in the mainland Europe. “We wanted to look at different ways of being present in Milan”, says Dixon.
“There’s nothing dustier than a conventional lighting and furniture showroom, but at The Manzoni you’ll be able to experience all of our new collections in an active context.”
Opening for the very first time during Milan Design Week, the space will initially showcase three new collections alongside the restaurant’s inaugural menu. There’s ‘Fat’, a range of upholstered chairs designed to comfortably hug the body – offering ideal support during a long, decadent meal- and ‘Spring’, a series of pendant lights made from ribbons of stainless steel arranged in a whisk-like swirl around the bulb, which will be suspended above diners. ‘Opal’, a family of semi-translucent globe lights that emit a soft, flattering glow will also help to set the tone. We’re sure it will be the most sought-after dining experience in town, so remember to book your table well in advance. (tomdixon.com)
EXHIBITION IN DETAIL: EUROLUCE
The talent shines a little brighter in Milan during this biannual show dedicated to the very best lighting designs from around the world. We take a look at the collection to track down. What is it? Euroluce if part of the main Salone del Mobile show at the Milan Fairgrounds in Rho. Spread over four pavilions, it’s an expansive show dedicated to lighting of every type, style, and provenance. Here you’ll find pieces blown from Czech glass or crafted from British porcelain, LEDS, Halogen lamps, outdoor pieces, art-like designs, the latest technology and everything in between.
If you think of lighting as the jewellery of the home,
this is the world’s biggest trinket box.
Which brands should I look out for? There are a staggering 421 exhibitors this year, but on our list of must-sees is Italian brand Fabbian, whose new collection, ‘Armilla, ‘features’ sculptural glass globes tied with brand ribbons- the metal is fixed in place before the glass is fully cooled to achieve a tactile, bundled finish. Also high on the agenda is British brand Bert Frank, which will be in attendance with several new collections, including the ‘Spate’ wall light. This design has already caught our eye because of its Art Deco-inspired shape and combination of materials- opal glass, brass and marble. Of course, the Italian heavyweights of lighting, Artemide and Flos, are always worth seeking out, as they’re usually light years ahead in the technology stakes. Also hunt out Italian firm Catellan & Smith, which is showcasing the ‘Petit Bijoux’ pendant- with concentric circles reminiscent of ripples of the water. Plus, for one-of-a-kind lighting that strays into the realm of art, Czech brand Lasvit is the one to watch. It’s known for its dazzling glass creations- pay attention to the work of Maria Culenova-Hostinova. Finally, Canadian brand Bocci will be launching several novelties, including ‘57V’, an opaline version of the otherworldy ‘57’ pendant lights. (euroluce.com)
Continuing Vincent Van Duysen’s fruitful reign as creative director as Molteni & C, his modular seating system ‘Gregor’ will be unveiled at this year’s Salone. Straight pieces or corner units can be mixed and matched to create a bespoke combination, while slim metal feet lend the new design a light, floating quality. (molteni.it)
FOLLOW ROSSANA ORLANDI’S LEAD
With her finger always firmly on the style pulse, Milan’s grande dame is campaigning for change. Every year, design-savvy visitors to Milan make a pilgramage to Orlandi’s eponymous gallery and store. It has long provided a platform for emerging designers, championing Jamie Hayon and Piet Hien Eek. If you want the inside track on the Next Big Thing, it’s the place to go. This April there will be plenty of newness on display at Spazio Rosanna Orlandi, (rossanaorlandi.com).
8 MUST-SEE EXHIBITS AT MILAN DESIGN WEEK
You don’t want to miss these. Every April, hoards of designers, industry folks, and curious jet-setters descend upon Milan, looking for inspiration at Salone del Mobile and Milan Design Week. The sky is the limit, as interior and fashion brands alike seek to outdo each other in the creation of awe-inspiring displays and installations for their new and reissued products. Here are the happenings you don’t want to miss!
Versace tapped American designer Sasha Bikoff to design Versace’s Milanese boutiques and the Home Collection boutique. She reimagined their iconic furniture pieces, updating them with fashion fabrics and unusual materials for the courtyard, and she transformed their second floor into an apartment-style space to show off their brand new furniture collection. To top it all off, artist Andy Dixon will be exhibiting his Versace-inspired work at the space as well. Via Gesu 12. (versace.com)
2. HEM GALLERY & GARDEN
Hem will be showcasing pieces from a new collaboration with Modern Design Review, a collection of ceramics by John Booth and Ian McIntyre (shown), and the latest new introductions by designers Max Lamb and Lucidi Pevere. Corso Garibaldi 117. (hem.com)
3. MATTEO CIBIC
Matteo Cibic is the man around town. The Italian native is showing with eight different companies, two of which are shown here. The chair is part of his new collection with JCP, and the brass cabinet is with Scarlet Splendour. (matteocibicstudio.com)
4. NILUFAR DEPOT
Nina Yashar opened a warehouse a few years ago as an extension to her Nilufar Gallery on Via della Spiga, and it was a huge hit. Now, all design fans look forward to seeing what she has curated at the depot every year. Viale Vincenzo Lanzetti, 34. (nilufar.com)
Cristina Celestino is launching a second furniture collection with Fendi, showing at their Via Solari 35 location. It is sure to be as beautiful as the last! (fendicasa.com)
6. LOUIS VUITTON
Louis Vuitton is going to be launching new products for their Objets Nomades collection at the Palazzo Bocconi. It is always spectacular. This year, they will be showing collaborations with new designers like Atelier Biagetti and Zanellato/Bortotto adding to their already stellar cast. This image from last year’s exhibit gives you a preview of what it is like. (louisvuitton.com)
7. LA DOUBLE J
Prints queen, J.J. Martin, is going to be launching bedding and vases for the first time, adding to her fashion and tabletop lines for La Double J. Piazza Arcole 4. (ladoublej.com)
8. NADA DEBS
Beirut-based designer, Nada Debs, will be launching her Marquetry Mania collection at Dilmos Gallery at the Piazza S. Marco. She will also be doing the window display for Fratelli Rossetti at their Via Montenapoleone location. (nadadebs.com)