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Salone del mobile di Milano

The 57th edition of Salone del mobile di Milano showcased the new trends in furniture design, at Fiera Milano, Rho, from 17th to 22nd April.

The Italian most famous furniture exhibition recorded 434,509 attendees, in 6 days, from 188 different countries. That is a 17% increase compared to the 2016 edition, which last featured the biennial kitchen and bathroom exhibitions, and an increase of 26% compared with the 2017 edition. 1,841 exhibitors, 27% of them from 33 other countries, showcased their products at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile.

This year there wasn’t a well-defined trend, as there wasn’t one single approach, but many different design approaches. However, there were various characteristics common to all the trends evidenced, first and foremost the retrieval of the narrative value of objects, of their ability to create an ambience and live alongside each other. There were few references to the so-called white cube, now usurped by rooms (the loft concept is now extremely passé), steeped in shades of pink/red and grey/petroleum. Furniture, lamps and objects adapted to this mood, “warming up” their images with fine woods, precious finishes, enveloping fabrics and, especially, a very particular kind of tactility. Furnishing in 2018 demands to be caressed by the eye as well as by the hand. There are no neutral presences, rather talking simulacra, capable of expressing ideas, and passions, by narrating them. This is particularly evident when it comes to organicism, a sensual trend enjoying a sharp revival.


Many products featured the use of leather, marble, brass and burnished metals, with sartorial-type details (see, for instance, Jean-Marie Massaud’s Byron chaise longue for Poltrona Frau). The trend towards re-editions is becoming increasingly widespread and common. Great pieces from the past are being sought out, studied, admired and reworked, usually with great philological care. 

This year women designers were onto a winning streak, both statistically and qualitatively. Mattiazzi, a company known for its robust processing of solid wood, has taken on board the delicate irony of Inga Sempé (with the MC17 chair). There was also a generalised transformation of the work of stylists, now promoted to the role of designers: Elisa Ossino and Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto, otherwise known as Studio Pepe. Even among the ranks of emerging young Italian designers, women were absolutely predominant (Cristina Celestino, Francesca Lanzavecchia, Elena Salmistraro, Alessandra Baldereschi, Maddalena Casadei, Giorgia Zanellato and Chiara Andreatti).

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