DDN Magazine Italian design brands tour at Salone del Mobile 2017 Milan, Arflex, palm tree

When DDN Magazine (that’s Design Diffusion) asked if I’d like to join them on an Italian design tour at the Salone del Mobile, it’s pretty safe to say it was a no-brainer. I mean, Milan in the spring, at the biggest design festival in the world – you would, wouldn’t you?

As a first timer at the Salone, to say it’s overwhelming is an understatement – the main hub of the fair is based at Rho Fiera – a colossal exhibition centre with other events spread out across the city. Where to start? Thankfully, the Blog Safari was the perfect introduction and with 14 other interior bloggers, I had the chance to explore a selection of Italian brands and scope out some of the on-going trends for 2017-18.

 Arflex

DDN Magazine Italian design brands tour at Salone del Mobile 2017 Milan, Arflex, copper chairs

Warm tones in the Corolle chair, designed by Mario Ruiz.

A real stand-out for me was Arflex, drawing me in with giant palm trees (see first image) and beautifully shaped furniture. There was a real 1960s vibe to their collection, drawing inspiration from the era in the softly rounded silhouettes and coloured perspex lighting. Copper was still a feature trend here, as well as mustard yellow, deep blue, grey and soft pink.

DDN Magazine Italian design brands tour at Salone del Mobile 2017 Milan, Arflex

The Brianza – a compact little lounge chair.

For a textile sucker like me, it didn’t take long to make a beeline for the Brianza chair and its bold, graphic upholstery. Expect to see more from Arflex here soon.

Roberto Cavalli

DDN Magazine Italian design brands tour at Salone del Mobile 2017 Milan, Roberto Cavalli furniture

Cheese plant Kokedama and woven loungers at Roberto Cavalli.

Where there are plants (and there were so many green installations at the Salone) you will find me. Roberto Cavalli planted the seed in my head to try a cheese plant Kokedama – a stroke of genius, no? My eye was also drawn to the two woven loungers below them and a show-stopping branch of statement lighting.

DDN Magazine Italian design brands tour at Salone del Mobile 2017 Milan, Roberto Cavalli lighting

Sculptural lighting from Roberto Cavalli.

JCP

DDN Magazine Italian design brands tour at Salone del Mobile 2017 Milan, JCP 1960s space age furniture design

Little robot creatures – the Betoo table lamp.

JCP took us into the future whilst looking back to 1960s space travel with their futuristic collection. The idea behind their Ligomancer sofa (above) is that everything normally hidden inside the internal structure of a sofa has been exposed. The frame is wrapped in over 100 metres of elastic band – I sat in it, and actually it was surprisingly comfortable!

DDN Magazine Italian design brands tour at Salone del Mobile 2017 Milan, JCP 1960s space age furniture design

The Ligomancer chair with copper frame.

Gallotti & Radice

DDN Magazine Italian design brands tour at Salone del Mobile 2017 Milan, Gallotti and Radice

If you’re looking for sheer Italian decadence, Gallotti & Radice needs to be your destination. There were so many pieces from this collection that would work in a more minimal setting and I loved the mix of luxurious, tactile materials. These included velvet, brass, handblown glass lighting and dark wood. Plants made the space feel more welcoming, adorning floor to ceiling shelving and large velvet sofas beckoned to be curled up on.

DDN Magazine Italian design brands tour at Salone del Mobile 2017 Milan, Gallotti and Radice

The colour palette here included a winning combination of blush and a slightly more dirty pink, dark greens, black and bronze. All of the luxury but none of the fuss. This wall hanging seemed to be a very popular piece too, inspired by Egyptian symbolism.

DDN Magazine Italian design brands tour at Salone del Mobile 2017 Milan, Gallotti and Radice

DDN Magazine Italian design brands tour at Salone del Mobile 2017 Milan, Gallotti and Radice

Diantha lamps in hand blown painted glass with black-bronzed structure.

DDN Magazine Italian design brands tour at Salone del Mobile 2017 Milan, Gallotti and Radice

Warm metallics – the Eris lamp (centre) designed by Massimo Castagna.

Poliform

DDN Magazine Italian design brands tour at Salone del Mobile 2017 Milan, Poliform lounge chair

The Mad Joker armchair with black elm legs – Marcel Wanders.

In keeping with the luxe look, Poliform took a more Mid-Century modern direction with emphasis on understated luxury, soft corners and high quality woven upholstery. I was all over this stunning armchair, new for 2017 and designed by Marcel Wanders.

Black elm featured a lot here, with beautiful attention to the detail in the grain. It has been used across the collection, from dressing table to dining table as well as seating.

DDN Magazine Italian design brands tour at Salone del Mobile 2017 Milan, Poliform

This woven soft leather bench seat caught my eye (impossible not to touch) and I loved the contrast between the black elm frame and tactile pad.

DDN Magazine Italian design brands tour at Salone del Mobile 2017 Milan, Poliform lounge chair

The Mad Joker again in a white upholstered design.

And thus concludes my whirlwind tour of the Salone – phew! I have the taste for it now, hoping to return next year with a few more days to soak it all up and a packed schedule to explore more of the city. What do you make of my selections – have any of the designs caught your eye?

Thanks also to Gianfranco Ferré Home, Kartell, MDF Italia, Annibale Colombo, Natuzzi and Artemide.

For more from our tour, follow #ddnbloggers on Instagram, organised with thanks by Design Diffusion Magazine.

Photography © Tiffany Grant-Riley

7 comments on “DDN Magazine Design Tour at Milan Design Week”

  1. It was such a pleasure touring the show with you Tiff and lovely to relive it through your photos. I agree the Arflex presentation really was a thing of beauty – the sixties colour palette is going to be huge I think xx

  2. So so difficult to pick a favourite when there’s so much good design! Think it’d have to be the Brianza though – it’s fearless. Sounds like you had a great time!

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