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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Gallotti & 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.