Hi again and a very happy Friday to you! I simply must report in with more trends and highlights from Salone del Mobile and Milan Design Week. It was such a fantastic citywide explosion of design, I’ll definitely return in 2018 for more of Milan. I was honored to collaborate with Kvadrat on this assignment as their eyes and ears to bring back trend reports for their global clients and customers – and now briefly, here in this post.
Milan gave me the inspiration and interior design boost that I needed. I felt so fatigued by everything I’ve been seeing online, over and over again, that I found myself using Pinterest and Instagram less. Milan cured all of that for me with a fresh new outlook and I loved seeing all of the innovative, creative and clever ways that designers worked with not only materials in fresh, new ways but also in how they’re working to conceal things like a/v equipment and that they’re incorporating technology into kitchens, bathrooms and lighting that I found amazing to behold.
A list of TRENDS that stood out:
- 60s and 70s era throw backs
- art deco influences
- Bauhaus geometry
- Memphis-era influence
- 80s influences as well – like all of the salmon, teal and gold
- Color color color. White walls were hard to find. Wallpaper was also not that common, bold solid walls and rooms painted in several different colors were the big highlight
- Circular shapes were all the rage – curvy is in – from sofas and chairs to lighting and coffee tables
- Seating that looked “hairy”
- Woven rattan furniture and lighting
- Cast resin
- 80s tubular metal chairs
- Fringe on tables and seating
- Quirky ceramics with faces and in odd shapes
- Colored mirrors and glass
- Luxurious fabrics – mostly solids, not a lot of pattern on soft furnishings – mostly on the floors
- Bold, colorful area rugs
- Marble, marble and more marble – in different colors and with dramatic swathes and veining
- Lighting that stole the show – especially when it came to pendant lighting – the bolder the better
- Lighting designers playing a lot now with shadows – what shapes could they cast
- Bathrooms and kitchens have gone dark – light and bright no longer on trend
- Plants faded into the past, fresh flowers are back
- Designers worked a lot with creating a sensory experience in their many pop-up installations throughout the city – cinematic and theatrical, too. Lots of candles, music, layering, designers were really looking to give visitors a feeling of coming home and nesting but also that it was perfectly okay to be over the top – more is more!
- My first visit to Bar Basso. I’ll be going back. It made no sense but everyone who was anyone was there, so why not?
- Visiting the Rossana Orlandi Gallery and basking in the beauty of it all. I also liked seeing Ms. Orlandi herself sitting in the cafe surrounded by red tape so no one could cross over to meet her – made me giggle – reminded me of a crime scene. She’s such a great woman, I’d like to have had a chance to tell her so.
- Eating lunch at Marta, next to Rossana Orlandi, because the vibe was right and food was delish.
- Eating with 13 amazing people, organized by Agata Dimmich, at Carlo e Camilla. That place was fantastic. the chefs are all trained under Carlo Cracco, an Italian chef and television personality. Just go and thank me later. The interior alone was worth it, the cocktails, the food… But make a reservation well in advance or you can forget getting in.
- My interview with Pavlo Schtakleff from Sé and later, running into him and his wife in downtown Milan (total coincidence) and his colleague and having dinner with them. What a gem this guy and his wife are and they have a three-year-old son like I do, so we had lots of funny stories to tell. I’ll share Pavlo and his brand with you next week.
- My lunch with Amélie Du Passage from Petite Friture. I’ll share her interview on decor8 next week.
- The DDN magazine blog tour, I wrote about it here.
- Hanging out with Sania Pell and Mark Wilson. Big, big highlight.
- Attending the Habitare and Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture party, Nakuna. I got to see some great examples of design coming out of Finland and it was very interesting.
- Visited the IKEA festival — I enjoyed seeing the styled rooms by Pella Hedeby and Anna Lenskog Belfrage and the many new products IKEA will have soon in-store – like a natural-color rattan cabinet that really stole the show for me.
- Walking 55 miles in a week and not really feeling it/noticing it until I got home and had to sleep for AN ENTIRE DAY.
- Experiencing burrata cheese for the first time.
- How cheap and easy it was to get around using the underground.
- Eating a healthy lunch and recharging my phone at Re:Charge cafe from HumanScale in Brera — And the excellent service.
- Escaping the city and ending up on the coast in Genoa and Portofino. The most beautiful coastline I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of them in my life. Wow. I will return next year and spend an extra week just lounging at the beach.
- Seeing “The Visit” from Studio Pepe (I could have moved in right away), Apparatus Studio, Dimore Studio (magical unicorn experience, no lie) and Salvatori Home in Brera. All were huge highlights but Dimore was out of this world, I can’t stop telling people about it.
- Listening to Italian pop music for 7 days straight. I always try to do this when I travel – I bring my BoPlay and put it on in my room and synch it to my iPhone and go to the iTunes store, find the radio, and search for the pop music playlist for the country I’m in. Did this last month in Paris and found new music this way. Did the same in Milan, was great and definitely made me really feel “there”, you know? Do you do this too?
- Noticing the great ceramics of MANI dotted around town. I first spotted her work at Ambiente in Frankfurt and felt they could be a real trend-piece, so seeing them around Milan was a real treat, especially when they were at some of the “it” spots.
- Spending time with Desiree, Agata and Anastasia.
- Seeing the interior design of Elisa Ossino at Salvatori Home.
- The fashion downtown – strolling by the windows of the big Italian brands – very over-the-top in the best way.
- The friendly and lovely locals in the neighborhood where my hotel was – how nice everyone was, opening doors, just being natural and authentic. Was really great. I can’t believe I’d never been to Italy before this.
- Learning about the wallpaper designs of Calico Wallpaper, a Brooklyn-based brand. Stunning and drool inducing.
- Experiencing the massive lighting stand, FLOS, at Salone del Mobile. Amazing.
- How Milan uses every balcony, patio and roof to garden. It was just unreal to see this.
- Checking out the gorgeous masks up close and personal, designed by GamFratesi, at the Kvadrat Milan showroom.
- Meeting the Editor of Casa Facile and seeing my good friend Anabella give a demonstration for them using MT Tape. I loved also meeting so many Italian bloggers at her event, they were so warm and sweet to me. A real joy!
- The colors of Milan – the buildings overall… Lots of mansions next to buildings in almost total ruins, but the gritty combined with the elegant was appealing to me thought I secretly wanted to take an old building, buy it, renovate and move right in. The overall palette of buildings in the city were very muted shades of orange, yellow, red and blue.
- Seeing Florim’s pastel tiles in their showroom.
- Learning about File Under Pop paints from Denmark.
- Finding the work of Germans Ermics. Love.
- ALL OF THE SUNSHINE.
Side Notes: The one thing I wondered when I was in Milan though was why aren’t more of the big brands involved in the massive and amazing show of design and art? You had IKEA and COS, Marni and Kvadrat, and of course AirB&B… But what about the big tech players like Apple? What about Nike, Pinterest or Instagram? And from the United States, where were some of the leaders in the American design sector? While they may not have a stand at Salone del Mobile, why not partake in a creative installation in the city, sponsor something amazing in Milan, or collaborate with some European brands to build a large area for people to co-work in the city during the week – which would have been amazing if the city had some satellite spots to plug in and work without having to search for a wifi spot or worse, cram into a cafe or pray you could find a plug in a restaurant during lunch.
I would like to see the big players get more involved next year in Milan Design Week to not only help fund the smaller design studios who may not have the cash to do their own installation, but also to provide journalists with refuge spots for plugging in and working, etc.
So… that’s my week in Milan. Did you go too? What were your impressions? Did you write about it on your blog – if so, link it below in the comments section so my readers can follow along (and me too!).
Many thanks to Kvadrat and Kinnasand for this collaboration and for sending me to Milan. All opinions and photographs are my own. Please follow these brands who support me and my work on Instagram @kvadrattextiles and @kinnasand. Thank you.