At Milan Design Week, post-pandemic home design trends reflect a need for more fluidity and nature
After a year off due to the pandemic and a scaled-down iteration in September 2021, Milan’s Salone del Mobile – the international design fair held annually since 1961 – was back in full force last week. Beyond the show itself, which was packed with household names in the interior world, the Fuorisalone saw young creatives and small brands take over galleries, derelict spaces and art centers in across the city with performances and installations, offering new ideas for what our homes of tomorrow might look like.
From sustainability to boundary-pushing designs to an emphasis on craftsmanship, here are some of the highlights and takeaways from the event.
Bringing the outdoors inside
Perhaps in response to the time spent indoors over the past two years, nature and organic materials have underpinned many of the most interesting works at Milan Design Week. In the Brera neighborhood, Brooklyn-based Calico Wallpaper collaborated with international interior design studio AB Concept to present a wallpaper inspired by the Japanese Alps in collaboration with interior design studio AB Concept that aimed to recreate an immersive forest experience, while in Berlin’s 5 Life district the all-female collective Matter of Course has launched a series of wood, clay and water furnishings.
Decorating inspired by nature could become a future interior trend. “Forest of Reflection” uses a grass-like rug and Alpine-inspired wallpaper to create a serene space. Credit: Jonathan Hoklo
At Alcova, a traveling exhibition that took over the abandoned Centro Ospedaliero Militare di Baggio, natural stone brand SolidNature collaborated with Dutch designer Sabine Marcelis and architecture studio OMA to reimagine home furnishings in monolithic slabs of onyx and marble, creating a monumental bathroom, a multi-functional revolving wardrobe, and an imposing (but perhaps not very comfortable) bed.
Milan’s DWA Design Studio brought the raw material indoors with a table made of earth and wildflowers; while industrial design students from Muthesius University used air as the design material for ten inflatable products, including a transparent suitcase and an inflatable seat.
The design fair also included futuristic-looking furniture made from unprocessed raw materials. Credit: Matteo Parodi
The lighting was also inspired by nature with designer Maximilian Marchesani, whose exhibit showed hanging tree branches with LED flowers and furry glow sticks wrapped in silk, a natural electrical conductor.
Recycled, reused, reinvented
Sustainability was a hot topic during design week.
At Alcova, Italian acoustics company Slalom used recycled plastic bottles to build a brightly colored hushed room that could serve as a quiet space; and California-based Prowl Studio unveiled a collection of living room furniture incorporating eco-friendly materials and computer-generated upholstery. Meanwhile, at Salone Satellite, a hub for emerging designers under the age of 35, some 600 exhibitors showcased work around the theme of “Designing for Our Future” with an emphasis on sustainable practices.
Designer Maximilian Marchesani was inspired by nature in his branch-shaped lights. Credit: Maximilien Marchesani
Non-traditional design materials have also made an appearance. Lighting design brand ServoMuto experimented with lycra to create a collection of lamps. Meanwhile, at art space Nilufar Depot, Dutch duo Odd Matter have decontextualized the application of medical materials to showcase sculptures in fiberglass and crystalline plaster.
There was also a lot of upcycling. London-based Italian designer Martino Gamper presented a series of vintage furniture reinterpreted in a contemporary style at Nilufar Depot; and Ginori 1735 invited international artists and designers to give a second life to porcelains that did not meet the company’s quality standards by painting them by hand and transforming them into unique design pieces.
From fashion to furniture
Fashion brands have never been shy about playing with interiors. This year, however, has proven that the trend is only growing.
Besides the usual suspects Loewe, Hermès, Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton – all of which had fine facilities to showcase their furniture collections (Hermès had house-wide paper lanterns, Ralph Lauren invited guests into his palace, Loewe was displaying an ambitious exhibition at Palazzo Isimbardi called “Weaving, Restoring, Renewing”, featuring sculptural straw raincoats) – a group of notable brands have ventured into the world of furniture design and practices.
Stella McCartney has collaborated with wallpaper authorities Cole & Son to create a fabulous funghi print for the home. Credit: Stella McCartney
Prada – which has made furniture before – went a step further by organizing a two-day multidisciplinary symposium organized by research studio Formafantasma which studied the relationship between the natural environment and design.
Trendy furniture was the word of the week, and could also be the concept for your next home decor.
Fluid objects and adaptable shapes
Design week was packed with modular products and stackable home accessories, perhaps as a nod to the growing demand for flexible home workspaces.
The vases have taken on a new form in the presentation of the Salone Satellite. Credit: Isabelle Del Grandi
Los Angeles-based brand Loose Parts has launched a brilliant showcase of modular furniture that can be assembled, taken apart and reassembled – designed, in part, to reduce furniture landfill waste and encourage reuse while playing with the idea new possibilities in the same interiors.
At Salone Satellite, Belgrade-based Marija Kojić presented modular children’s structures that can serve as both a play structure and a circular workspace, while Japanese designer Ryosuke Fukusada designed a range of lighting with countless style options at the main fair.
Elsewhere, at the Rossana Orlandi gallery – another treasure trove of great design – British designer Marc Wood also presented two collections of luminaires, Zig and Deco, which could be used as singular pendants or stacked to form an array of decorative and creative patterns. . forms.
Rules of know-how
The future of home design may well be age-old craftsmanship. The Fuorisalone emphasized traditional techniques, highlighting the handcrafted creations of international manufacturers.
Two showcases, in particular, shone with their know-how. « RoCollectible 2022 | Designers & Crafters” at the Rossana Orlandi Gallery, which showcased the work of international designers such as Bethan Gray and Alvaro Catalán de Ocón; and Doppia Firma, organized by the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship in the historic Palazzo Litta, which presented a collection of pieces created through exchanges between designers or artists and artisans.
The Rossana Orlandi gallery exhibited works by a variety of different artisans. Credit: Andrea Ceriani
From lamps made with a Ghanaian weaving technique and recycled PET plastic bottles to a lounge chair meticulously embroidered with vegetable-tanned leather appliqués, the pieces in both exhibitions embraced heritage skills from all cultures, highlighting a more slow of design.
Top image: Flexible and modular furniture from Loose Parts.