Milan 2019 Review

SALONE DEL MOBILE 2019 ~The Report Part 2: … The form of future ‘trends’ ~


Major Material Moments in Milan really turned trends on their head this year.

The main tune sung was definitely one of material interplay; An unexpected interchange of the tactility and tradition of a material. Things that were usually hard like metal, were made to look bubblegum-soft, and vice-versa. An abstract yet challenging notion that was well delivered.


This was firstly exemplified with a powerful application of mesh in its simplest form at Ivano Redaelli. Towering screens of fine mesh framing the bedroom sets, hung grandly like a Game of Thrones chamber-curtain; A delicate yet dramatic anomaly.

Radaelli’s experience overall showed that flexibility in functional furniture didn’t mean craftsmanship and good design had to be compromised. Soft ‘pod-like’ bedroom settings appealed to a nomadic yet well-cultured lifestyle; Innovation-meets-autonomy.


Another metal material that stood out was chrome. Chrome and brushed steel trumped the brass trends of late. And they cane in surprising marshmallow, rotund forms. Sometimes comic, but always engaging. This was exemplified at the stand of Portuguese furniture designers Riluc, where it framed oversized upholstery in a slick contrast, that gave not just a retro take on ‘Futurism’, but a peek into our future of expressionism in design.

From left: Radelli, Riluc and a touch of terrazzo at Baxter (more below). 


Terrazzo still made an appearance. This year though, it was subtle in its application; whether in fine details or mannerist scales and often with a nod to sustainability: Repurposing and recycling in an haute-designer manner is no longer a foreign concept. – This was certainly a very soft approach from the uber-saturated terrazzo trend of last year.


There was such diversity across all brands in their communication, which was such a refreshing change from seeing a repetitive ‘trend’ as one would expect at many design shows. In terms of true experiential stands that we visited, there were a few standouts:


To begin, stepping into o the world of Marie Martin, was like stepping into a Klimt painting with Tim Burton! Colour, pleasure, history and fantasy were layered and blurred. It was a veritable mash of House of Hackney-meets Palace Versailles.

From left: Radelli, Riluc and a touch of terrazzo at Baxter (more below). 


CC-Tapis rugs lived up to their expressive and intuitive talents of creating a showcase that contradicted any notion of what rugs have been. Mythical and dreamlike expression was evident in aspirations of travel to far destinations like a hint of traditional Persia and galaxies afar, blended in surprising colour-ways, we could only describe as ‘subtle surrealism’. They definitely transported us to another world! Speaking of floor coverings taking an unexpected turn, a must-mention is definitely the famed Cristina Celestino. Delight at every angle including of course her stunning and dynamic textile designs applied in every dimension – an absolute nod to Dali surrealism.


Gervasoni was a dreamy place of marshmallow colours and forms bolted by a dancing geometry of monochrome. Weaving touches of metal and stone into their tactile interplay. Like the sculptural art gallery of a well-travelled mathematician.

From left: Radelli, Riluc and a touch of terrazzo at Baxter (more below). 


Outstanding mention must go to Baxter furniture and Varaschin. Expressive and sculptural forms reminiscent of a six-star Balinese holiday sat proudly against large plush leather upholstery playfully mimicking animal forms and textures in hides and dynamic shapes that twisted and turned at every glance.  Like this ‘elephant’ sofa (below).

Above: Baxter. and Varaschin


Their display showed that direct designer inspiration without commercial filtering was definitely a new take on lifestyle dressing which was of course, well received. Furniture constructed from cane and rattan but made with a contemporary function, traditional items punctuated with technical fabrics and muted colours gave an indoor-outdoor versatility. We could describe it as the ‘Bali-hideout meets a glamorous Palm Springs bungalow for a truly modern cowboy’!


The familiar standouts that one cannot miss of course came from Paola Lenti. Her signature weave threaded its magic from not only a new indivisible collection of technologies in plastic and fabric but also an interiors range that celebrated her synonymous affair with colour. Oversized forms that met refined shimmering planes.

Above: Paola Lenti


And then Moooi, of course, was a pivotal point of delight and surprise for everyone – Something old reinvented, something new welcomed with familiarity and of course all the fun and frivolity that is always present from its bevvy of talented designers. Asian fantasies, 3d wall coverings by Arte, ‘singing’ wall-lights –  all sat together like an eccentric family. Human response and reaction were heightened and really became the forefront of what design is turning to – today and for the future. So, of course, Moooi is one step ahead.  Congratulations to all designers and brands.

Above: Moooi (Left: panels by Arte)


We cannot wait until next year!

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