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Hillgate touched down in Milan earlier this month for the annual Milan Design Week and its flagship show Salone del Mobile.
Now in its 56th year, Salone del Mobile originally started out in 1951 as a small furniture and furnishings fair for the local Italian market. However, over time it’s become one of the largest and most revered interiors fair in the world. And this year was no exception, attracting over 2,000 brands from 150+ countries, as well as the estimated 340,000 people who descended on the city for six days of events, talks, installations and experiences.
Across the fair and the satellite events around the city, there were notable interiors trends to report back. The most exciting one being that minimalism is out and maximalism is in! After years of paying homage to our uber-cool Scandinavian counterparts with white-washed floors, muted tones and ‘less is more’ approach – it is refreshing to see that bold, clashing colours and exaggerated material palettes are back in vogue. One brand doing this particularly well is Carl Hansen & Son, whose ‘Milan Home’ was a kaleidoscope of colour.
Speaking of colour, it was interesting to see how tastes have shifted since 2016. Last year was awash with warm reds and terracottas and this year we saw designers embrace a punchier palette of emerald greens and cobalt blues. Also, we witnessed a notable resurgence of pinks, particularly ‘millennial’ pink, which isn’t surprising as this is already reflected on the fashion round-ups.
Another trend we can expect to over the next few years is what we are calling ‘nomadic’ furniture and lighting. The idea that furniture needs to be customisable and versatile to adapt to our everyday needs and requirements is one that brands are nurturing in order to appeal to a stretch market of young homeowners and private renters. Santa Cole launched the delightful Cestita Batería, a portable wireless lamp that can be transported easily from room to room, and from indoors to outdoors.
And not so much a trend but something to take note of is the increasing fusion of the design scene and the technology scene. Tech brands are waking up to the fact that our home electronics should work more in harmony with our interiors schemes. Samsung’s new Frame TV, designed by Yves Béhar, and Bang & Olufsen’s BeoShape Sound speaker offer up ‘hidden technology’ as a solution to this – where TV’s and speakers look like wall art, and form isn’t comprised by function.
Trends and forecasts aside, the beauty of Salone is also defined by those who break with convention. Compared with more traditional product showcases, we saw brands adopting large scale exhibitions and more conceptual installations, offering more of an immersive ‘experience’. There were stand-out exhibitions that ruled the social airwaves, including Le Refuge by Marc Ange at the Wallpaper* Handmade showcase. The Miami-inspired pink sun lounger was featured a lot on Instagram and henceforth made it onto a number of ‘highlights’ lists – cementing the power of social media in the race for high regard.
We can’t sign off without mentioning Lee Broom and COS x Studio Swine. The latter didn’t disappoint with a conceptual tree that emulated falling blossom using smoke-filled bubbles and the former, Lee Broom, celebrated ten years of interiors design with a haunting white carousel that revolved slowly under the arches of an abandoned railway.
Martha McNaughton & Jessica Lovell