Milan Design Week 2018: Salone del Mobile
The most eagerly anticipated event on the interior design industry’s calendar once again drew in a myriad of designers, architects, editors, specifiers and enthusiasts alike as they descended upon Milan Design Week last month for the annual international furniture and design fair, Salone del Mobile. The shroud of primed interior designers and industry professionals culminated to a remarkable attendance record, hitting new heights of 1,841 exhibitors and 434,509 visitors from 188 different countries across the 6-day stint. Whether attendees were there to showcase or to survey, there was plenty to discover from the global plethora of products at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition, EuroCucina and the International Bathroom Exhibition. If you weren’t among the Milan-bound masses to attend this year to indulge in the latest design inspirations, discover the furniture of the future, and stay in the know for all the up and coming trends across the realms from furniture and lighting, to decor and accessories and much more – don’t panic. We’re sharing a few of our favourite furnishing finds, top trends, and new innovations right here…
Wallcoverings with Wow-factor
Founded by Marcel Wanders, Moooi is an innovative design brand brimming with personality, designed to curate iconic and timeless collections across lighting, furniture and accessories which possess the unique charm and character of antique furnishings, combined with the modernity of current times. Creating unique interior environments with a bold amalgamation of design elements to explore and embrace unusual patterns, textures and colours. This fusion of inspiration from juxtaposing eras of design is upheld in their latest collaboration with Arte, to an exotic and existential degree.
Moooi x Arte unveiled their new wallcoverings collection which brings the exoticism of the extinct triumphantly back into the 21st century with a menagerie of bygone creatures of the past. The Museum of Extinct Animals pushes the boundaries of design with an exquisite and daring series of wallpaper, inspired by 10 recently discovered drawings of extinct animals which Moooi found in the depths of historical museums. The sketches were imbued with the unprecedented beauty of these forgotten, untamed creatures and their distinctive characteristics brought a wealth of inspiration which the collection bravely reinvented to curate this wildly provocative, yet strikingly poetic design of luxury wallpaper. We think this is an alluring and captivating homage to the dark fragility and humbling history of creatures lost to the harsh realities of existence and evolution.
Read more about some of the designs in the series, here.
What’s new in Tapware?
In the realm of tapware, there is an increasing preponderance of metal finishes that have moved on from classic chrome, shifting towards the preciousness of old gold, the warm tones of copper, and the silky effects of burnishing.
Boffi and Fantini combined forces to forge their Aboutwater collection. The partnership is based on the concept of creating faucets and shower systems with a conceptually timeless, modern and elegant design, whilst also ensuring products are manufactured with materials that respect the environment; assuring the best duration over time. The AF/21 series designed by Naoto Fukasawa is made from an eco-compatible material, which guarantees maximum hygiene and resistance to corrosion. The collection ensures longevity and is therefore mindful of preserving the planet and the reduction of unnecessary waste.
Encapsulating the Concepts of Nature
The Living Nature installation is a small, intelligent and sustainable universe containing four different ecosystems, which encourages us to look inwardly at the ecosystem we inhabit, and more specifically, an issue which has increasingly plagued the industrial design industry and the built environment. Sustainability will only continue to grow in significance as the struggle to maintain an ecological balance becomes a prominent global concern. Salone del Mobile thoughtfully and interactively ponders the possible reconciliation of man and nature with an emotive installation that sparks the debate on the value of sustainable living. Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) produced an evocative and experiential pavilion in which to allow visitors to explore fundamental concepts relating to the eroding relationship between nature and the city; and ultimately, the effects of climate change and continuing industrial development.
‘in the 20th century, cities expanded outwards to conquer nature and the countryside … we believe that today’s challenge is the opposite: how can we bring nature back to the city and into the home?’ – Carlo Ratti
A single 500 m2 space located opposite Palazzo Reale in Piazza del Duomo and receiving over 2,000 visitors a day, the Living Nature installation acted as a continuation of the Salone in the city as a glass encased laboratory combining design, engineering and botany. Conceived with energy saving criteria in mind, the installation housed plants under a 5-meter-high selective crystal membrane that dynamically filters the sun based on input from light-reactive sensors and uses organic photovoltaic panels to create four natural, climactic microcosms that enable the four seasons of the year to unfold at the same time. Visitors were immersed in nature and experienced its changes as they made their way through each of the zones – Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn.
Read more about the project, here.
The Unlikely Affinity Between Tech and Design
Once again, the attention of guests at Milan Design Week is directed to the future of sustainable design as architect Kengo Kuma, together with 3D experience company Dassault Systèmes, uses a stunning, dynamic and architectural display of Japanese ancestral origami techniques, incorporated with innovative advancements in technology to combine the fields of tech, design and sustainability. An intelligent air-purifying installation called Breath/ng which due to its sheer scale, immersive structure and intricate construction wowed audiences across a spectrum of design specialisms but also carried an important message at its root. To encourage designers to combine technology and design as a means of contributing to the resolution of core environmental issues.
Made from 175 square meters of a cutting-edge new mesh fabric called the ‘breath technology’ developed by anemotech, this material possess pollution-neutralising qualities as it contains a nanomolecule-activated core that separates and absorbs toxic molecules. This allows the fabric to filter the air as it captures and disaggregates polluted molecules, allowing the clean, unsoiled air to continue it’s natural flow which systematically lowers the bacterial load of the air that gets in contact with the material’s fibres.
This installation not only provides a smart, ecological means of purifying the air we breathe in a deviceful and meaningful way, but also offers a realistic solution for reducing air pollutants and harmful emissions which is an insightful and pivotal step in directing a discourse towards a feasible method of tackling global environmental issues.
In light of this, with one of the most preeminent design events of the year exhibiting overriding themes which relate to notions of existence, balancing design with environmental responsibility, and demonstrating how the ever-merging relationship between design and technology can be utilised to implement sustainability initiatives, it is clear that designers and manufacturers are continuing to adopt a deeper consciousness for the wider sociological impact of their role within the industry. The challenge for the design industry and professionals as a whole therefore, is to come up with innovative, sustainable, practical and applicable design solutions by harnessing existing technological advancements in an intelligent manner.
To see more from Salone del Mobile 2018 or find out about next years event, click here.