5 FURNITURE TRENDS FROM THE MILAN FURNITURE FAIR
Now in its 56th edition, the Salone Internazionale del Mobile continues to set the tone for the year ahead with inspiring designs for the home. Trends that emerged this year include fluid pieces that adapt and adjust to different lifestyles, contemporary uses of traditional craftsmanship, murky colours as alternative neutrals, sculpturally curvy forms, and innovative use of design and manufacturing technology.
We see storied brands collaborating with a healthy mix of celebrated and promising designers, as well as practised craftsmen, to get to the heart of what a home should feel like. While the new designs come in unexpected forms, colours and materials, they all set out to forge new relationships with their users. There is an overarching call for home furnishings to fulfil functional needs, catering to the individual, and to enhance a homeowner’s emotional well-being.
Want to get ahead of the game? Here are the designs to bookmark before they make their way into stores here.
A user-centric approach is ubiquitous among both established and emerging labels this year, with designers pushing the envelope with inspiring ways that people can interact with home decor products. This concept is epitomised by the reimagination of modular seating and adjustable lighting designs. They challenge the notion that mass-manufactured products are one-size-fits-all, and strive to offer features that can be personalised.
The desire for a tailored experience at home continues to motivate manufacturers to offer choices that revolve around multi-functional pieces with flexible components.
01 Italian powerhouse Cappellini exhibited a forte for staying current with the Mill Home upholstered seats, a nod to the millennial-led trend of couch-surfing. Built with arms, backrests and beanbags of varying sizes and heights, this living room staple can morph into a sofa, bed or chaise lounge, depending on the room’s usage. Available at DreamInteriors.
02 Yuh (derived from the phonetic of “you”) is created by Italian-Danish duo Gamfratesi just for you. We foresee this lamp manufactured by Louis Poulsen becoming a staple in smaller homes too, as it provides maximum flexibility. It can be raised, lowered and rotated, easily adjusting to your specific illumination needs. Available at Louis Poulsen.
03 Poltrona Frau reinvents its century-old tradition with the Chester Line range, a customisable take on founder Renzo Frau’s iconic Chester armchair. This contemporary update retains the historic design’s opulent flair, but offers an open-ended architecture suited for casual settings as well. Available at Proof Living.
04 Recognised for his striking minimalist designs, Michael Anastassiades doesn’t disappoint with Arrangements, a series of modular geometric light elements for Flos. Drawing parallels with the way jewellery adorns the body, the work of the London-based designer seeks to enhance different rooms with pendants made up of assorted glowing units. Available at Space.
As rich in texture as the stories woven into their construction, artisanal elements tap into people’s desire to own pieces that are not only exclusive, but also comes with a narration. Just like precious art pieces, a product’s story heightens its value by painting another layer to people’s enjoyment of the design.
Whether it’s the high standards of skill needed to create the perfect streamlined silhouette, or a traditional weaving technique that can fuse with contemporary designs, the magic of craftsmanship remains an indispensable aspect of luxury.
01 The Confident armchair designed by Piero Lissoni for family-owned Italian brand Living Divani gets a subtle makeover. Its new handmade rattan cover embraces the outer backrest and base, lending this formerly classical piece a tactile playfulness, while creating a look that’s a notch less formal. Available at Dream Interiors.
02 Poltrona Frau flaunts an ancient rug-making technique used by nomadic tribes with the Chado rugs, which involves the knotting of bamboo silk and linen threads on wood frames. The tiny knots are also cut in this contemporary version to give it a fuller, more velvety texture. Available at Proof Living.
03 Glas Italia’s exquisite Glass Fountain designed by Tokujin Yoshioka showcases Murano Island’s (Italy) heritage glass craftsmanship. Sculpted by its master craftsmen, the bell-shaped base of this table crystallises the organic silhouette and reflections of a fountain in one breath-taking moment in time. Find out more at Space.
04 The Others, a lantern collection by American designer Stephen Burks for Dedon, celebrates diversity with a body hand-made by master weavers in the Philippines, a marble base milled in Italy, and acrylic eyes from Germany. Each item in this whimsical lighting collection can stand on its own, or be stacked into a totem-like configuration. Available at Xtra.
As design-savvy homeowners are beginning to shun predictable interior design themes, such as industrial or retro looks, in favour of more personalised and eclectic styles, brands are catering to the market’s increasingly diverse tastes with wonderfully ambiguous hues.
Many new collections include selections that hover around tertiary colours, which set a new standard for neutrals. Designs in this dusky palette can easily blend into homes of any decor style, making it a wonderful choice for those who enjoy reinvigorating spaces by mixing it up with meaningful pieces accumulated over time.
01 Walter Knoll’s new Legends of Carpets collection interprets Africa’s natural landscapes, such as its salt lakes, skies, deserts and water lilies. Hand-knotted in Nepal with traditional Tibetan techniques, the abstract pieces of woven art showcase a calming symphony of earthy tones. Available at Proof Living.
02 Cassina’s remake of designer-architect Mario Bellini’s 932 padded armchair, named MB1 Quartet, is well-represented by its reddish-brown fabricupholstered variation – more dynamic alternative to safe brown leather. Available at Space.
03 Modelled after a falling leaf, the Leafo lounger’s organic silhouette not only looks good, but is also ergonomically shaped to support the back. Designed by Spanish designer Jaime Hayon for Arflex, its Dijon mustard covering also brings to mind the romantic hues of autumn leaves. Available at Space.
04 Renowned French designer Philippe Starck got to the crux of a chair’s function with the Generic C (C stands for cafe) for Kartell. All decorative elements are stripped away, leaving just bones to bare the soul of this soon-to-be iconic seat. Its low-key colour range such as sage green and creamy yellow can also be incorporated into any home. Available at Space.
05 The updated Extens cabinets by Amsterdambased industrial designer Khodi Feiz for Artifort is now available in an extended selection of powder-coating, lacquer, and veneer options. Its trendy palette ranges from smoky blue-grey to vibrant coral. Available at Xtra.
The design industry is often a reflection of society’s zeitgeist, and, after the West’s widespread financial crises, people’s desire to be comforted gave rise to designs that embrace users readily with soft, undulating forms.
And as political instability persists in today’s climate, the home is defined not just as a shelter, but as a safe haven where homeowners can be soothed in restful ambience. This is made possible with seatings that envelope the user rather than embellish the home, and by designs with sensual lines that are visually and physically calming.
01 Jaime Hayon lends his trademark sculptural and curvy forms to the alluring LuneTM for Fritz Hansen, in a new spin on traditional modular sofas. With curvilinear outlines that look as good as those of standalone sofas, it retains its beauty regardless of configuration. Available at Fritz Hansen.
02 Riva 1920 x Lamborghini is a collaborative furniture collection that pays homage to the Italian brand of sports cars. It features sensual yet masculine pieces designed by Karim Rashid, such as a desk that interprets the cars’ sinuous silhouettes with its tapered form and striking leather accent. Available at Proof Living.
03 Formiche is a cluster of delicate tables with 8mm-thick tops by prolific designer Piero Lissoni for B&B Italia. The kidney bean-shaped surface of one table seems to bend around the adjacent table’s legs like an iridescent bubble, adding a delightful quirk to this simple design. Available at Space.
04 As playful as ever, Dutch brand Moooi continues to amuse with unusual statement designs such as the O Rocker by cofounder Marcel Wanders. This futuristic rocking chair ignites imaginations of the young and old, and invites you to relax within its cushioned “O” seat to get lulled into a reverie. Available at Space.
05 Up-and-coming Italian designer Luca Nichetto’s first collaboration with Artifort, the masters of upholstered furniture, seeks to provide utmost comfort with a seat made to fit the human body like a glove. The Pala armchair feels as good as it looks, gently cocooning its user in a soft embrace. Available at Xtra.
TECH - RICH
There’s no denying that smart homes are on-trend, with new design concepts unveiled every day that promise to radicalise the way we live. On the home front, this often entails fancy automated lighting and sound systems, and appliances, or kitchens that are made to impress.
Luxury furniture manufacturers, however, have chosen to steer away from overtly advanced designs to focus on technology enhancing everyday lives in subtle ways. As a result, lighting designs that look and feel familiar now have value-added functionalities such as increased portability, thanks to cable-free innovations, and advancement in manufacturing processes has opened the door to more sustainable and creative furniture designs.
01 Foscarini teamed up with the industrial designers at Studio Natural for the first time to create Cri Cri, a wireless lamp that’s made for every occasion, whether indoors or out. Use it to light up an al fresco dinner party, or create a soft ambience for a Netflix night in. And- when it’s time to pack up, simply collapse its silicon body for easy storage. Available at Xtra.
02 Overlay is an interactive desk lamp that fuses the innovative and artisanal genes within Slamp and Montblanc’s DNA. Light comes on when a Montblanc pen (comes with the design) is lifted from the leather rest – intuitively providing illumination for writing – and goes off when it’s returned. Find out more at Million Lighting.
03 Inventive designers such as Nendo continue to use technology to inject playfulness, such as with the Gaku for Flos. Its wireless lighting elements give users the freedom to charge the lamps that come with it, and use them as decorative items simultaneously within the frame. Available at Space.
04 The Matrix chair is born out of Kartell’s production capabilities and Tokujin Yoshioka’s creative ingenuity. Its shapely seat is created with injection moulding, a method that enables smooth, undulating forms to be created with plastic. Available at Space.