READING: Design Trends from the 56th Salone del Mobile
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Roberto Paoli’s Cop dining table manufactured by Bonaldo has a base designed to look like champagne and wine bottles holding up its sturdy top.

THERE’S ALWAYS THAT UNSETTLED FEELING whenever I make the yearly pilgrimage to Milan for the world’s largest furniture fair. It’s a ‘good’ kind of unsettled feeling – mostly excitement, of course. Held in conjunction with Euroluce – the biennial lighting fair – the 56th Salone del Mobile raised the bar once again in terms of creativity. We suss out key trends that emerged from this gargantuan event.

Articulating wit through design

Salone 2017 showcased some of the wackiest and most whimsical furniture forms. These products bear the hallmarks of kookiness boasting unique aesthetics that are an interplay of theatrics and fun – some of which kept visitors at the edge of their seats, literally.

You can always rely on the sheer genius of Fabio Novembre who embedded Antonio Canova’s famous Venus sculpture into an oak veneer bookcase for Driade – it has a good balance of artistic expression, kookiness and functionality.

Rogue Rouge

Pink is the trend du jour when it comes to all things furnishing. This beloved, girly rouge came as a dark horse, making a rogue entry at the end of last year and continues to pepper showrooms, wallcoverings, walls, surfaces, and accessories. With its many myriad tints – salmon, blush, rose, flamingo or rouge – it has infiltrated the interiors world through accent furniture pieces. Its feminine hue can dress up trite interiors dramatically and it emanates a sense of fun. With the right shade, it could even feel at home in a man cave.

“Pink, particularly in friendlier light and dusty shades, seems to have outlasted its predicted trend shelf life. First appearing two years ago at Milan, it then cemented its status as the new neutral when Pantone knighted Rose Quartz as the Colour of the Year 2016. We like modern applications of pink in these ways”, explains Eileen Tan, Marketing Manager, Space Furniture Asia.

Dalila cabinet by Miniforms boast enormous copper handles and elegant cut-in lines on the doors.

The Add sofa by Francesco Rota for La Palma appears to be levitating in mid-air.

The ethereal-looking Kartell L’air du Temps clock by Eugeni Quitllet will be a delight to wake up to.

Eat, Dine, Love!

Italians love communal meals, as the numerous big table designs sighted at the fair attest. But don’t just stare at the large tops that these tables are bestowed with; rather, look at their ingenious and striking leg structures.

“The Italians are formulaic in certain ways – sticking to artisanal traditions and closely following furniture typologies – but they are able to produce unique, creative furniture and lighting pieces where they remain innovative and relevant,” says Debbie Soh, freelance interior designer who sources for products annually in Milan.

Monreale’s Flexform is full and solid with rounded corners, and features an overturned V shape.
Bonaldo’s Origami table by Gino Carollo has a base that consists of thin metal sheets, allowing it to achieve a visual lightness.

Pala lounge chair by Luca Nichetto for Artifort has a lovely handstitched, cushy look made more arresting in leaf green fabric.

Wow to Woven

The tactile gorgeousness of woven furniture is getting ramped up by Italian furniture brands as demand heats up. Many weaving artisans from the Philippines have been deployed to create some of the most intricate designs in the furniture trade.

B&B Italia’s Erica sofa by Antonio Citterio is woven so well that it looks good from any angle.

Moroso’s Arco family of woven products feature a playful and striking outdoor seat that can be suspended from a tree branch or beam.

Tradition Revisited

The Italians have taken the classic Bergère chair and given it a modern twist so that it appears sophisticated while retaining its classic form. A huge cache of high-back armchairs in a plethora of shapes, materials, and hues is testament that this evergreen furniture typology shows no sign of waning.

Molteni & C revived its 1950s Gio Ponti archives and the “D.156.3” easy high-back armchair harks back to that beloved era.


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