What an amazing show put out by Salone del Mobile 2023 and Milan Design Week! With droves of visitors and hundreds of thousands of objects to see, our roving eye spotted these hard-to-ignore trends in the furniture trade.
Colour, colour everywhere
One way to attract crows to your stands or make your installation stand out is the use of colour. Attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors to your exhibit is no easy feat. However, for some brands, the use of colour is critical to their success.
Many brands displayed a huge array of colours from upholstered furniture, chairs, tables, outdoor collections, fabrics and accessories. These colours conveyed energy and personality to the displays. Whether they are bold hues or soft, pretty pastels, the vast palette plays an essential role in psychophysical well-being.
Notable colour-arresting furniture pieces include: Cini Boeri’s 1973 “Botolo” chair reimagined with green legs and yellow ochre fur padding; Jonathan De Pas, Donato D’Urbino and Paolo Lomazzi’s iconic 1968 transformable “Galeotta”; there is also Herzog & de Meuron’s “Porta Volta” chair designed for Molteni & C where an arresting four colour option — sunflower yello, daisy pink, royal blue or silver grey — awaits the new owner; Pedrali’s new collection of tables and chairs helped energize the space and drew in the eyeballs; the Arper stand was also rife with colour especially the multi-colour “Ralik” modular sofa system designed by Ichiro Iwasaki; Baxter’s leather-focused sofa showcased a bright blue hue on sofas, armchairs and dining chairs.
At the crux of Salone del Mobile 2023 was the theme of sustainability. It was an agenda not just for the organiser, but rather for the furniture industry to participate in the global effort to reduce, reuse or recycle. Many brands showed off their exhibits by using glue-free stands such as the gigantic set-up executed by lighting giant Flos. In fact, many brands made it a point to reuse their materials for the next show. Some brands made their stand design more easily disassembled, rather than be thrown into the dump after the show. However, a growing number of brands have flaunted their research capabilities into materials and processes that do less harm to the environment.
Here are some highlights of brands that honoured the sustainable agenda via their products and exhibits: The “VentiTre walk-in closet” made by Lema is 100 per cent recycled wood and makes for easy dismantling; Porro also demonstrated that it cared for the environment by minimising waste and consumption and using only selected raw materials for its stands, not forgetting, it offered a “Soffio” seating system that uses recycled fibre padding, too; Cassina’s voluminous “Moncloud” sofa designed by Patricia Urquiola stands out with its 100 per cent, glue-free product that supports circularity: the inserts are made from “Circularrefoam” — a polyurethane foam made with a percentage of recycled polyols, plus it is easy to dismantle the product’s end of life.
While fashion-based furniture might not be the appetite of real furniture lovers, there were brands in full force to demonstrate their creativity. The mainstay of fashion furniture brands is probably the logo mania whether done discretely or emblazoned explicitly, helped to draw eyeballs and footfall to their stands. In addition, the use of luxe materials such as suede, leather, croc-leather, marble, brass, and other precious stones for their products helped to turn heads and beckoned attendees to sit and experience the tangible surfaces.
Here are some of the brands that still made an impact in the furniture industry: Armani/Casa’s 2023 collection was not exhibited at Salone, but rather at Palazzo Orsini, where a range of sophisticated products inspired by nature took centre stage; For Dolce&Gabbana Casa’s 2023 collection, it pulled out all the stops to create a showstopping exhibit where it flaunted its “Oro 24K” line of opulent Baroque embellishments and the “DG Logo” line pervasive in all their products; Over at Roberto Cavalli Home Interiors, the “Animalier” prints were dramatically emblazoned on most of its furnishing items; At the house of Versace Home, Donnatella’s vision of furniture embracing classicism and mythology was aided by renowned architects Roberto Palomba and Ludovica Serafini from ps+a studio who created stunning sofas clothed in black croc-leather, or a side table featuring a leather-clad top, among others.
Wood, Wood Everywhere
When designing for a sustainable future, the trend to use natural, sustainable wood became the hero material in the interior industry. Many brands at Salone del Mobile 2023 created wood-focused products for homes. The trend was to keep it as natural as possible, highlighting the grain of the wood via see-through finishes while the aesthetics of the object was kept simple and minimal.
Here is our pick of wood-loving furniture brands that elevated this trend:
The historic Austrian brand Gebrüder Thonet Vienna, showcased the new “Mickey” armchair designed by French-Iranian architect India Mahdavi using bentwood techniques to create the “ears” at the back; there was also the “EN” chair designed by Danish designer Cecilie Manz that complemented the round maple wood table in the same collection; Very Wood’s gorgeous exhibit at Salone 2023 was the “Weekend” series of ash-wood chairs designed by Neri&Hu — concave backrest using curved wood (“Saturday”) and another featuring a snug backrest which embraces the seat (“Sunday”); lastly, the “Raggiosole” 100 per cent eco-friendly wood veneer designed by Konstantin Grcic for ALPI stood out because of the chromatic effect showcasing a smooth transition of hues
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