Milan’s annual interior design event, Salone del Mobile, is the biggest of its kind in the world. We here at Tangram see it as a brilliant opportunity to get inspiration for the latest trends, as well as meet the manufacturers whose products we sell to see what else they’re launching.
This year, Milan seemed to be bursting at the seams largely due to the best weather we’ve had in a long time. The temperature gauge hovered around the 20 degrees Celsius mark, so visitors and locals alike were out and about enjoying the heat. Being able to wander the streets between furniture showrooms in a leisurely fashion made the whole experience far more enjoyable, compared to those years when we’ve had to jump over puddles, soaked to the skin from the rain!
But it wasn’t just the weather that was hot this year - the furniture on show was some of the most inspiring we’ve seen in years.
Our favourite pieces
The Husk sofa (1), designed by Patricia Urquiola for B&B Italia, is stunningly comfortable, unusual and a good addition to an existing family. We were reluctant to leave this one behind!
North Lights (2), designed by Eva Marguerre and Marcel Besau for e15, were a bit of a surprise, as the manufacturer usually uses timber. These lights were stunning in white, saffron yellow and copper and would look great over a dining table or down a stairwell. The collection includes suspension, wall and floor lights.
The Drop Chair (3), from Fritz Hansen designed by Arne Jacobsen for the SAS Hotel in Copenhagen in 1958, has been rescued from the archives and put into full production. The Fritz Hansen team had to x-ray the only surviving chair in existence, as there were no drawings to help them redesign it! Available in plastic or upholstered in fabric or leather, it is an iconic and unique chair.
The Pillow Chair (4) family, designed by Lievore Altherr Molina for Andreu World, is a great addition to the collection. Available in various widths and heights, it would be equally at home around a dining table or placed in a conference room. The shaped detailing to the leg sets it apart from its less expensive rivals.
The Carla and Carlo dressing table (5), designed by Florian Schmid for Zeitraum, is amazingly simple but effective. Made in solid oak or American walnut with an oversized mirror behind it, this would be a great addition to any bedroom
The Analog table (6), designed by Jaime Hayon for Fritz Hansen, is a key piece which demonstrates several key trends. The shape of the table is soft and friendly, which allows for maximum interaction between those sitting at it. The designer wanted to emphasise the importance of people being together and talking face to face, rather than via Facebook, and other social media. The legs are solid timber and the tops are available in oak or walnut veneer or in white laminate.
Key trends spotted during our trip included a continued fascination with all things metallic; copper, bronze and pewter were very much in evidence. Timber remains very important, although now the fashion is for staining, allowing the wood to show through whilst adding colour. We also saw a lot of detailing going into the shape of many chair and sofa legs – standard round and square will no longer do!
The concept of heritage played a very important role at the fair, with many manufacturers going back to the archives and reworking products to make them suitable for today’s market. This was very apparent from Fritz Hansen, Cassina and Lammhults.
Finally, with regards to colour, furniture has very much followed fashion’s example, with Yves Klein Blue seen everywhere. This warm, strong shade was worked into schemes where pastels still very much formed the backbone. Soft pink and watery yellows still play a very important part in the colour palette.
Milan was super this year: there was a real sense of excitement and enthusiasm. There was a clear indication that the economy has recovered enough for manufacturers to start investing in new ideas and products, and also have the confidence to rework and launch heritage products.
As we walked down Via Monte Napoleone (the best shopping street in Milan) on our last day, the sun was beating down, our sunglasses were on and there was a real sense of joy and happiness in the air.
We returned to Edinburgh with fascinating products and smiles on our faces.