My annual trip to Milan for the Salone del Mobile and Fuorisalone exhibitions is undoubtedly the most inspiring week of the year, and this year exceeded expectations! This year's Salone featured Euroluce (lighting), which alternates with Eurocucine (Kitchens), and the centre of Milan (in particular the Brera design district) transforms into a vibrant hub of exhibitions and showroom parties.
After spending three days fully immersed in so much creativity and innovation, I'm glad to be tucked away in my countryside haven on the farm as I now need to rest my brain and absorb all that inspiration. However, before I do, I want to share my trend predictions and some of my highlights from this year's exhibitions.
I'm not a big follower of trends as such, but I do like to see what design characteristics come in and out of fashion, as knowing what doesn't last is a great way of learning about what does last.
This year I would say that in terms of finishes and styles, Terrazzo is still going strong. Arches, circles and domes are very popular trends, as well as colour-blocking of bold colours. Cane and wicker are still trending, and this year there were even signs of bamboo furniture making a come-back.
However, the underlying theme of many designs, I'm happy to report, was a strong focus on sustainable and recycled materials. Recycled glass tiles, lighting made from plastic collected from the ocean, and linoleum flooring made in a circular economy were some of my favourites eco-conscious products.
Via Solferino, 11 - The Salvatori Showroom in the Brera design district was a stunning spectacle of stone - from fluted to herringbone and from Carrara to Nero Marquina, beautiful interpretations of stone featured as a reminder of how versatile and beautiful natural stone really is.
Euroluce, Salone del Mobile - The Sans Souci stand is always a highlight for me - I'd love to work on a hotel (or mansion) so that I could work one of these incredible chandeliers into one of my projects. Lighting as art. What's not to love?
Euroluce, Salone del Mobile - Spanish family-run company United Alabaster was amazing to see - natural Alabaster stone fashioned into the most incredible translucent lighting, like little floating moons. More proof that you can't beat the beauty of nature.
Euroluce, Salone del Mobile - Another great find at Euroluce, these lamps are made from real wood veneer. I loved the simplicity of the table and pendant lights and the soft glow that the veneer emits. LZF are also known for making some amazing super-sized lamps, such as a Koi carp shaped suspension light (and a big bird, as featured on this year's stand - unfortunately I didn't get a good photo of it).
Hall 24, Salone del Mobile - One of my absolute favourite finds this year was Atelier Virkant's clay products. From an incredible black bath, to planters in various shapes and sizes, from plain to textured and matt to gloss, the options are endless with what can be done using yet another natural material.
Hall 24, Salone del Mobile - Walking the fine line between art and furniture, the creations from Imperfetto Lab are all beautiful to look at. Natural and organic shapes and textures like lava and bark skilfully crafted into chairs and works of art - this one was really special for me.
Corso Garibaldi, 2 - I'm not a fan of queuing to see anything but this was SO worth the 1hr+ wait! This whole house was artfully coated in a kaleidoscope of butterflies, as well as a beautiful table formation of silhouetted trees and human forms. This was a real show stopping, immersive experience that has really stayed with me.
Via Alessandro Manzoni, 5 - Tom Dixon opened his new restaurant, the Manzoni, during design week in Milan. While we explored and admired the interiors of this innovative fine-dining, the man himself sat at one of the tables, and diners enjoyed a feast of black bread and various delicious-looking dishes served in organically shaped bowls. More natural materials featured as well in the way of a huge cork table and natural, uncut stone countertops.
Tarkett by Note Design Studio
Via Clerici, 10 - These geometric pillars were designed by Stockholm-based design studio Note Design Studio in collaboration with flooring company Tarkett, using their innovative eco-conscious IQ Surface range of linoleum flooring. Currently made out of 25% recycled materials, the future plan is to deliver a closed-loop system, or circular-economy. This terrazzo-effect material can be used as flooring or cut and wrapped to cover furniture.
That's it for my Milan Design Week 2019 highlights!