Salon de Mobile 2016 will henceforth be called Milano Design Week. Now everyone who could not pronounce it before, will breathe a welcome sigh of relief.
This year 2016 Milano Design Week welcomed 322,152 visitors from around the world. In its 55th edition, the design fair explored the newest young designers, some of the Google-fication of office interiors and Euro Cucina, the bi-annual display of everything cutting-edge in kitchen design.
Beijing-based Frank Chou Design Studio pictured top and above recently launched a collection of furniture that made its debut at Design Shanghai in March 2016 and Milano Design Week 2016.
Major trends were mid-century modern American furniture; coloured glass; sustainability in reuse of materials and flat pack furniture. The other major theme was brands scrambling to incorporate functional integration, or multi functional furniture into their range.
In kitchens and bathrooms we saw many over-sized items such as baths and sinks, placed as ornaments in the room rather than looking fixed. This year it was common to see key room pieces isolated from the walls, taking on a 'suspended in space' dimension.
In general the vibe was more decorative than previous years, with an emphasis on crafted, curved items offering great purity of form.
There was also a predominating love of Yves Klein Blue in fabrics like velvet. The other major trend was a true return to visible craftsmanship. This was seen in the grain and conjunctions of many pieces that brought the making and the artisanal methods to the fore.
Drawn from Japanese aesthetics and culture, Claesson Koivisto rune has realised the ‘bonsai’ seating collection for Arflex whose minimal, curvaceous shapes are reminiscent of bushes and shrubs. Presented at salone del mobile during Milan Design week 2016, the series of upholstered lounge chairs, ottomans and couches are characterised by soft forms that echo natural geometries found in gardens across japan, where botanicals are cultivated and trimmed in order to create organic, cloud-like shapes.
Rich mahogany, burgundy, walnut and deep tans made a strong appearance in the colour palette, offset by a lovely lichen, mint type sage green which formed the backdrop to many stands. This green appeared to riff off the sustainability theme, playing deftly on our subconscious.
Francesco Meda's split marble table reveals the material's intricate layers
Colour blocking and the use of hung mobiles was also strong, with many stands pared back to bare essentials. Some of the most successful stands showed only a few items, making their simplicity and elemental nature more pronounced. A playful return of colour was a welcome event, not only in bedrooms and bathrooms but kitchens and lounge rooms too. A deep sense of “play” was central to interiors with many items designed to please the "inner-child" in all of us. This was particularly relevant in office and bedroom furniture.
Tactile Corpuscules by Sanne Muiser are made by needle-punching natural materials such as wool and sisal into a man-made latex base
Some Totem Road's favourite items were those taking direct inspiration from nature. At Milan 2016 and in response to the "overwhelming presence of technology" in society today, many students from Design Academy Eindhoven created an objects and installations to be touched. Nature & Tactility is explored in the gallery below, with some of the stand out exhibition items from Design Academy Eindhoven.
Last of the Free by Scottish designer Nick Ross researched Roman accounts of his country's indigenous Caledonian people and used the findings to create a collection of furniture and homewares.
Urtica by Nina Gautier explored nettle's potential for making textiles
Care for Milk by Ekaterina Semenova is a series of ceramic objects made using leftover dairy products
S-Pot by Maddalena Selvini were multifunctional cooking stones that can be used to warm food and drinks just as a cup of tea warms the hands.