Every year designers from all over the globe travel to Milan to experience the design week madness that is Salone del Mobile, and this year I was one of the lucky ones!
From the moment I touched down I quickly learned that no amount of planning or organisation can prepare oneself for the Salone del Mobile experience – it is pure chaos, in the most exhilarating way. The whole city comes to life with countless creative ideas captivating the eyes and minds of designers, year in year out.
Thought-provoking installations could be spied in every nook and cranny throughout the city, the crowds literally busting out of the old Palazzo’s and spilling into the surrounding streets, and local delis were dressed up in Hermes wallpaper just for the occasion!
It’s universally known that Italians are a passionate bunch. They truly have a genuine foundation of belief in everything they do. Regarding design, they live for the detail, the craftsmanship, the history and the future. It was incredibly exciting being at the centre of it all this year and my heart is skipping beats even now as I relive the highlights:
FIRST STOP – BOFFI
The very first stop on my tour was the Boffi showroom, where I was gratefully offered my much-loved (and needed!) morning coffee, until I made a rookie error of insulting the nation when ordering my usual soy cappuccino. I’m sorry to say that I ended up drinking espresso for the rest of my trip!
As I bounced off the showroom walls I admired kitchens designed by Piero Lissoni, focusing on a modular concept, where the kitchen is treated more as a piece of furniture. Minimal joinery was ever fixed to the wall, and was always balanced by open shelving, raised legs, split finishes and unexpected texture combinations.
NEXT STOP – SALVATORI
Salvatori marble is a favourite in the AKD studio, and this year they released brand new textures to their collection to resemble timber called ‘Stone Parquet’. Their showroom also featured furniture collaborations with architect John Pawson and lighting designer Michael Anastassiades.
NEXT STOP – DIMORE STUDIO
Designer duo Dimore Studio created an installation ‘Transfer’ in which they blurred the boundaries between art and design. In each room of a pitch-black Palazzo they installed tents illuminated only by candle light. The tents had little peep holes to peer through revealing the curated and collected object and furniture within. To add to the drama, each room had its own specific eerily nostalgic music playing.
NEXT STOP – POLIFORM
This year Poliform exhibited old favourites dressed in new materials and textures. On trend are rich decadent colours like plum, chocolate and burnt orange sitting gorgeously with more neutral blushes and nudes. Poliform exhibited new brushed metallic and glass finishes for their wardrobes and kitchens which I can’t wait to get my hands on!
NEXT STOP – POLTRONA FRAU
Another favourite from the fair was Poltrona Frau with their forever classic leather pieces. This year they introduced two new glass pendant lights – one by Neri and Hu and the other by GamFratesi. The palette was so inviting, with layered rich textures, they featured polished plaster as an understated feature. The colour combinations on display were very successful, bold yet elegant.
NEXT STOP – LOCAL DESIGN ABROAD
Then I was off to admire some fresh new pieces by our beloved Australian lighting designers Christopher Boots and Volker Haug. Set in an amazing old Palazzo with vibrant layered colours, the space in itself was an inspiring mix-and-match of fabulous Italian architecture
NEXT STOP – HERMES
Hermes’ display of new homewares and objet took colour blocking to a whole new level where they created a monolithic Moroccan glazed tile maze! The most delicious rich and vibrant colours were layered gorgeously and lit so they glittered as you moved through the installation.
LAST STOP – GUBI
Last but certainly not least was the fabulous Gubi display which was set in the most impressively Italian building I had even stepped foot inside! There is something so beautiful about the juxtaposition of super modern furniture in a very elaborate old building. There was a sense of luxury within the history of the building that can’t be replicated pseudo nor converted into words.
So I came, I saw, I conquered. And I have the blisters to prove it!
Until next time Milan. And there will be a next time . . .
All images ©Alexandra Kidd Design