Our friends at Inside Out Contracts went out to Milan last week to soak in the atmosphere of the Salone Del Mobile Milano and they have kindly shared their thoughts on some of the big trends.

Architecture and Interior Photography by Jim Stephenson

Regarded as the most anticipated international event in the furniture industry, the 55th annual Salone Del Mobile Milano has once again unofficially marked the start of a new season in industrial design.

Joined by design powerhouses and master artisans alike, the event takes place in Milan, aptly coined the ‘furniture equivalent’ to Milan Fashion Week.
With big names in the business like Kartell, Moroso and Knoll exhibiting alongside new up and coming designers both at the fair and throughout the city, the sheer magnitude of the event is hard to express in words let alone here, but we will do our best…

Among the crowds in attendance, Inside Out Contracts returned to the fair, taking the opportunity to speak with designers, gauge new trends and discover fresh innovative concepts we can bring home to London.

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As always the show stoppers included Kartell, and their kaleidoscope of fluro coloured, larger-than-life displays, with Magis in full celebration mode for their 40th birthday showcasing lifelong works on a grander-than-grand stage.

UK designers were well represented with Tom Dixon’s move to the kitchen, collaborating with Ceasarstone, and Lee Broom’s travelling stand in a van igniting great curiosity.

Trends in metallic embellishment have carried through from last year as stools and chairs take on brass feet, copper handles and tables play the frame game in standout rose golds. Curiously the 1970’s gets a reboot with marble table tops and retro stand interiors by Carl Hansen & Sons, Cassina and Driade, taking their brands back to where they began.

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Innovation took many guises this year from new concepts of office seating, to new materials in sustainable manufacturing. Kartell led the charge for its sartorial spin on the organic culture, developing a chair made entirely from plant based materials, designed by Antonio Citterio and aptly titled ORGANIC.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, young designers from the student showcase proved their altruistic motives in projects focused on material development from waste and a resurgence of tactility.

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New concepts in design are becoming increasingly secular as we reach an age where old ideas begin to be recycled. From within the melting pot of design, we spoke to several designers about their inspiration and how they tackle this issue of innovation.

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Speaking with Philip Bro regarding his latest design, the Moai lounge chair, Bro describes his concept as offering something new to a user, a place to rest, having privacy and being easily adaptable.

The main focus for the Moai Lounge chair is in public areas, creating a private sphere within, similar to the iconic Egg chair by Arne Jacobson. The slight naive design is aimed to cement its place as a classic, with distinctive notches giving it personality and adding a comfortable supportive feature.

Bro told Inside Out in Milan, ‘seeing the chair in its complete form for the first time in Milan is a great feeling and makes it very special. The shape and name is inspired by the figures on Easter Island, a place I would love to travel to, where in eastern Polynesia they are called the Moai faces.’

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We also caught up with designers Chaput and Guijarro about their Cádiz armchair which debuted at the fair.

‘With the Cádiz armchair we wanted to create something that takes inspiration from the bar and restaurants of the European lifestyle. Looking at the classic Mediterranean bistro chairs, we wanted to create a modern interpretation’ the duo told Inside Out.

Simple yet elegant with minimalistic lines and curves, the Cadiz is a stackable armchair which supports the overall principal of functionality whilst still looking to achieve a contemporary style.

‘With this chair we wanted to create something that was timeless that fits into many places and cultures easily; away from particular trends. We like to work in a minimalistic style defined lines, simple and functional. We would like to venture into more textured finishes in the future.

Chaput and Guijarro added, ‘we have attended the Salone del Mobile fair for many years and think it is very important as well as being our favourite of many. The event is great for seeing new trends and creative directions.’

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About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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