What: Astier de Villatte, Ceramics-Manufactory Where: Paris I have a…
What: Salone del Mobile, interior fair
Where: Milan, Italy
From the 17th to the 22nd of April, it was time again: The Salone del Mobile opened its doors and hosts of international buyers, designers, architects, journalists, design fans and the stars of social media stormed the Milan Exhibition Center. The fashion metropolis of Milan has long since become a design mecca, and the Salone del Mobile is regarded by industry insiders as the most important design fair worldwide. Thus it’s no wonder that alliances are being forged between the furniture and fashion industry. An absolute eye-catcher is the now expanded cooperation between the fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana and the kitchen appliance manufacturer Smeg. The colorful world of the Italian design duo pours over the entire Smeg range and colorful and wildly patterned refrigerators, electric kettles, cooker hoods come out.
But not only the exhibition center Rho Fiera Milano attracts attention during the Salone del Mobile. The whole city wooed by the fad of this ‘design happening’, which even calls for industries that have only little to do with design. Including the car brand Audi with a grand entrance in the middle of Milan’s city center. Luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Hermès rent elegant palazzi where they present their home collections. Even classic furniture brands such as the Scandinavian label Gubi have long recognized that it enhances media attention when – instead of in one of the exhibition halls – you present your own collection in the dignified ambience of a palazzo. Bottega Veneta has been showing its home collection in the 18th-century Palazzo Gallarati Scotti on Via Borgospesso for three years now. I can only recommend a trip to this extravagant location to any Milan visitor.
The special feature of these palazzi is not only the sumptuous furnishings: ceilings decorated with stucco, Baroque paintings, lavish décor, impressive Murano chandeliers are the witnesses of a bygone era, at the doors of which ordinary visitors usually knock in vain. These venues – some still privately owned or under the supervision of foundations – are often open to the public only during special events. State apartments, like the one shown here, always put me under a very special spell. With the result that they unfortunately distract one (me ;-)) from the essentials. Because something new, groundbreaking or even award worthy was not to be discovered at the exhibitors.
Parallel to the Salone del Mobile, the parallel event Fuori Salone takes place in the area around Via Tortona, where international designers present their designs. Here former factory and warehouses, hidden backyards and lofts become temporary exhibition and party locations. The event has now cult status and resembles a promising contact exchange: Here, quite a few young talents have been hired by established designers right from the spot.
Every two years – including 2018 – EuroCucina will be showing the latest kitchen trends. And the Salone del Bagno presented the novelties in the bathroom area. Both in the kitchen and in the bathroom – as in previous years – wood was clearly the trend material. So the solid wood kitchen is no exception. Very chic I find the relaxed look, in which wood is combined with marble or natural stone. Let’s start with EuroCucina: While German manufacturers such as Nolte and Leicht are following this trend rather hesitantly, there is no one among the predominantly Italian suppliers who work without wood. The fingerprint-absorbing glossy front does not even play a minor role. Wood is clearly the star, from which companies like Team7 or Riva1920, which have always bet on the natural material, profit. And gladly rough and haptic in the natural tone of the respective wood species. The classic marble colors black and white, but also green or brown conquer the kitchen world. And that looks mega (!!!) chic.
Conclusion Salone del Mobile:
Although the 57th Salone del Mobile – with 1,841 exhibitors in 22 halls and 434,509 visitors – reported a plus of 17%, the innovative was lacking. Wood is an indispensable part of the bathroom and kitchen. Star designer Matteo Thun, who designed the ‘Icon’ table for Riva1920, told me: “Wood is the answer to the loveless minimalist design of the 90s.” I think he’s right. BvH
The new sofas
Not much new in the Milanese design firmament
Kitchens are gray now
The latest bathroom trends
A view into the old palazzi
Contact Salone del Mobile
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