AKD ON TOUR IN MILAN: THE MAGICAL MADNESS

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.

Piero Lissoni kitchen, featuring Salvatori marble clad doors

Piero Lissoni kitchen, featuring Salvatori marble clad doors

Balanced kitchen storage and display at Boffi

Balanced kitchen storage and display at Boffi

A furniture-like kitchen design at Boffi

A furniture-like kitchen design at Boffi

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.

Infinity room installation of Salvatori’s gorgeous book matched stone

Infinity room installation of Salvatori’s gorgeous book matched stone

The new ‘Stone Parquet’ finishes on display at the Salvatori showroom

The new ‘Stone Parquet’ finishes on display at the Salvatori showroom

Love me, Love me not table by Michael Anastassiades in Salvatori stone

Love me, Love me not table by Michael Anastassiades in Salvatori stone

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.

The entrance to the ‘Transfer’ installation clad in mirror

The entrance to the ‘Transfer’ installation clad in mirror

A striped tent illuminated by only candles

A striped tent illuminated by only candles

One of the tents decorated decadently in a Moroccan style feast for the eyes

One of the tents decorated decadently in a Moroccan style feast for the eyes

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!

New ‘Emperador’ marble to Poliform’s existing ‘Wall’ storage system

New ‘Emperador’ marble to Poliform’s existing ‘Wall’ storage system

Leather drawers to an open robe display section

Leather drawers to an open robe display section

New ‘Home Hotel’ table on display with inset stone lazy susan

New ‘Home Hotel’ table on display with inset stone lazy susan

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.

The ‘Soffi’ pendants by GamFratesi on display at Poltrona Frau

The ‘Soffi’ pendants by GamFratesi on display at Poltrona Frau

The new ‘Byron’ chaise in a divine chocolate toned leather

The new ‘Byron’ chaise in a divine chocolate toned leather

Velvet cushions on a leather base is a winning combination

Velvet cushions on a leather base is a winning combination

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

Christopher Boots’ new Verdigris finish on display at the Local Design exhibition

Christopher Boots’ new Verdigris finish on display at the Local Design exhibition

The lovely layered spaces that housed the Local Design exhibition, curated by Emma Elizabeth

The lovely layered spaces that housed the Local Design exhibition, curated by Emma Elizabeth

‘ Sculptural Oddments’ pendant by Volker Haug

Sculptural Oddments’ pendant by Volker Haug

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.

The glazed tiles at the Hermes display were gorgeously reflective

The glazed tiles at the Hermes display were gorgeously reflective

The new Hermes fabrics were innovatively displayed folded

The new Hermes fabrics were innovatively displayed folded

Some of the maze forms were wrapped in stairs

Some of the maze forms were wrapped in stairs

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.

A stunning lounge setting by Gubi

A stunning lounge setting by Gubi

The new ‘Satellite’ pendant by Gubi

The new ‘Satellite’ pendant by Gubi

The comforting nostalgic feeling at the Gubi   display

The comforting nostalgic feeling at the Gubi display

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

EVERYONE LOVES SALONE DEL MOBILE

Each year Milan lights up with one of the biggest and most exciting design fairs in the world. And each year we eagerly watch (with green eyes!) from afar and drool over all of the wonderfully revealed creations and displays.

In 2015 we shared our 'Dream Day in Milan', last year we curated the design images and products that blew us away, but this year, we simply share all of our Salone del Mobile LOVES. No strings attached.    

ALEX LOVES

Alex adores this interactive tree structure that drops blossoms of white mist. A collaboration between Swine and COS in Milan, it is magical and childlike evoking all the senses. 

Alex is eagerly awaiting the release of the new 'Halo Table' by designer Kensaku Oshiro for Kristalia Design, soon to be available in Australia via Fanuli Furniture. 

Alex finds perfection in the 'Cognac' carpet at the Apparatus Studio installation in Milan!

DEMI LOVES 

lee-broom-time-machine-milan-design-week-1.jpg

Demi is obsessed with the 'Time Machine' installation by British lighting designer Lee Broom likening it to a fantastical carousel for designers! 

Another favourite of Demi's is Australian designer Tom Fereday, who exhibited with the Local Design Collective. The diffused soft glow of his 'Mito' light in collaboration with @rakumba_lighting is so sculptural and elegant.

STUART LOVES

Stuart loves the simplicity of the 'Ombre Glass Chair' by designer Rosana Orlandi. It may not be the most comfortable, but we would be happy to try it out to be sure! Constantly changing in different light, it would add a beautiful, sculptural element to any home. 

JESS LOVES

Jess adores the 'Ora 23K Desk Lamp' made in Melbourne by designer Ross Gardam. The limited pair were shining brightly in Milan plated in precision machined 23K gold! 

Jess has a crush on 'Le Refuge' by Designer Marc Ange as part of The Invisible Collection. It's fifty shades of pink for this perfect leafy sanctuary.

Jess loves a statement piece! Matter Made left a great impression at Salone del Mobile with their minimally striking and colourful new collection.

Image 1 via Dezeen / Image 2 via Instagram / Image 3 via Instagram / Image 4 via Instagram / Image 5 & 6 via Instagram / Image 7 via Instagram / Image 8 via Yellowtrace / Image 9 via Instagram / Image 10 via Instagram

MILAN MUSINGS

In it's "55th year of wow in design" the annual Salone del Mobile in Milan is a pre-eminent design fair that showcases thousands of designs from around the world in one place, from furniture to lighting, bathrooms to wallpaper . . . the event is a champion of innovation and internationality. 

Last year Jess recounted her ideal day at the fair with a "wish list" of what she would see and do if she were there. This year, once again, we have been poring over the design blogs and ogling the Instagram feeds of our industry colleagues who were pounding the pavement at Salone del Mobile. 

We have put together some of our favourite trends emerging from the fair this year and we can't wait until they reach our shores so we can begin imagining them in Australian homes and spaces. Enjoy.

The website  Yatzer  is an incredible resource by which to experience Salone del Mobile 2016. Pictured here, Wild Minimalism by Rooms, a collection of 7 handcrafted sculptural pieces. 

The website Yatzer is an incredible resource by which to experience Salone del Mobile 2016. Pictured here, Wild Minimalism by Rooms, a collection of 7 handcrafted sculptural pieces. 

British designer Lee Broom took his new collection of lighting to the streets, creating an Italian palazzo (complete with Ionic columns and elaborate mouldings) in the back of a van you could spot zipping around the city for most of the week.

British designer Lee Broom took his new collection of lighting to the streets, creating an Italian palazzo (complete with Ionic columns and elaborate mouldings) in the back of a van you could spot zipping around the city for most of the week.

French design house  Hermés  has long been at the forefront of producing iconic handbags, accessories and leather goods with their signature elegant style. At Milan's Salone del Mobile 2016, the label launched their 2016/2017 Homeware Collection, continuing their exciting foray into interior design.

French design house Hermés has long been at the forefront of producing iconic handbags, accessories and leather goods with their signature elegant style. At Milan's Salone del Mobile 2016, the label launched their 2016/2017 Homeware Collection, continuing their exciting foray into interior design.

During  Milan design week 2016 , New York-based design studio  Apparatus  debuts two lighting series — ‘circuit’ and ‘tassel‘ — alongside an extension to the ‘portal’ line in marble.

During Milan design week 2016, New York-based design studio Apparatus debuts two lighting series — ‘circuit’ and ‘tassel‘ — alongside an extension to the ‘portal’ line in marble.

British lighting and furniture designer with a fondness for copper, Tom Dixon will be returning to Milan this year to present an exciting collaboration with Caesarstone. 

British lighting and furniture designer with a fondness for copper, Tom Dixon will be returning to Milan this year to present an exciting collaboration with Caesarstone. 

Perfectly retro Verner Panton’s 1969 Flowerpot pendant in new blush colour.

Perfectly retro Verner Panton’s 1969 Flowerpot pendant in new blush colour.

Image 1 via Yatzer / Image 2 via Architectural Digest / Image 3 via Habitus Living / Image 4 via Klinamen / Image 5 via Habitus Living / Image 6 via Sight Unseen